Minneapolis-St. Paul Tap Room Directory

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

In May 2011, the Minnesota Legislature passed H.F. 1326, popularly dubbed the Surly Bill as it contained an amendment to allow breweries to operate on-sale taprooms. Since then, multiple brewing ventures have opened and the taproom scene has become entrenched in the culture of the Twin Cities.

In an effort to organize the brewery news of note, and to let you know where you can drink a pint on site, we present The Heavy Table Minneapolis-St. Paul Tap Room Directory. We’ll keep this page updated with news about the established tap rooms and those upcoming. Also, save this list to your phone via Foursquare to keep track of how many you’ve been to.

Notice anything missing or incorrect? Email john [at] heavytable.com.

Last Update: December 15th, 2014. Eastlake Craft Brewery is now open in Midtown Global Market, and Surly will finally open their destination brewery this Friday, December 19th.

NORTH AND NORTHEAST MINNEAPOLIS:

612-brew-beer-mural

612Brew

945 Broadway St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Twitter: @612Brew

Open Since: February 2013

Taproom Hours: Wed-Thu 4-10pm, Fri 2:30pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun 11:30am-9pm.

Beer: The brews at 612 are generally lighter-bodied, hop-forward and sessionable. The two mainstays are Six, an unobtrusive pale ale, and Rated R, a well-balanced Rye-PA. You’ll also probably encounter Zero Hour, a squeaky-clean American Black Ale, and maybe Gateway Park, their grainy, old-school lager. They’ll have another seasonal or two on hand, and growlers in the cooler by the mural.

Food: They’ll have a food truck in the parking lot – check their calendar for this month’s lineup.

Details: 612Brew’s beautiful taproom is recessed into the crossing of Broadway and Central in Northeast. It’s an inviting hangout, featuring the building’s original brick and exposed beams in contrast to their mirror-polished fermenting tanks. There’s only a long high-top and a switch to fluorescent lighting to delineate where taproom ends and brewery begins in the single, expansive room.

The seating area, with room for about 70, is presided over by an Adam Turman mural and a sound system the owners snagged from downtown’s erstwhile Envy nightclub. The bar and tabletops are reclaimed lanes from a bowling alley in Iowa and the bar’s foot rail is stainless steel piping left over from their tank setup. In the summer, you can lounge outside on their amphitheater patio, which hosts live music during neighborhood events like Art-A-Whirl.

Bauhaus-2

Bauhaus Brew Labs

1315 Tyler St. NE
Minneapolis, MN

Twitter: @BauhausBrewLabs

Open Since: July 18th, 2014

Hours: Wed-Fri 3pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm

Beer: Bauhaus specializes in modern, more aggressive lagers, from their citrusy Wonderstuff pilsner to the Wagon Party west-coast style lager.

Details: Our own Paige Latham chatted with Bauhaus shortly before their opening. Visit for one of the most destination-worthy drinking spaces in town, equipped with an indoor and outdoor stage.

Lars Swanson / Heavy Table

Lars Swanson / Heavy Table

Boom Island Brewing

2014 Washington Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN

Twitter: @BoomIslandBeer

Grand Opening: Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Hours: Wed-Fri 4-9pm, Sat 1-9pm

Beer: Boom Island specializes in bottle-conditioned Belgian-style beers. Their dubbel and tripel are seriously delicious sips, but we tend to prefer the lighter offerings. We love the rich and tangy LoMoMoPalooza, their benefit beer for the musicians of the locked-out Minnesota Orchestra, but they always have some great experimental stuff. Expect six to eight beers .

Details: Kevin (above) and Quixia Welch have moved on up in the north side. Brewing operations have migrated from their tiny original space, to the new brewhouse (christened THE BOOM ROOM) that faces Washington Avenue just north of Broadway. Enter the taproom through the back of the building where you’ll find additional parking.

John Garland / Heavy Table

John Garland / Heavy Table

Dangerous Man Brewing

1300 2nd St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Twitter: @DangerousMan7

Open Since: January 2013.

Hours: Tue-Thu 4-10pm, Fri 3pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight

Details: In the shadow of the old Grain Belt brewery, Dangerous Man has become one of the Cities’ most lauded and popular taprooms over the course of its first two years. Owner/brewer Rob Miller, who sports a beard that his company logo barely does justice to, has no plans to release his product to tap or retail accounts. You’ll have to visit the Northeast brewhouse for a taste.

Food: At each table, you’ll find small clipboards with takeout menus from the area, and patrons are encouraged to bring with them any food they like. Check out a roundup of the best food/beer pairings from the neighborhood over at Growler Magazine.

Beer: Expect six ever-changing choices of small batch suds on tap. Not only will there be lots of experimentation with ingredients and styles, but variations between batches of the same style.We’re partial to the Matchstick Coffee porter, but don’t miss the chocolate milk stout – Miller’s justifiable pride and joy. It’s lighter on the palate than the aroma lets on, but it’s definitely verging on milkshake territory, as he’s fond of saying. His array of brews will likely balance style and strength, ranging from a lighter cream ale or Kolsch to a 10% Belgian strong.

Fair State Brewing Cooperative

2506 Central Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Twitter: @FairStateCoop

Open Since: September 2014

Hours: Mon, Wed-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-9pm, closed Tue.

Food: Fair State customers receive 10% off at El Taco Riendo. Also, Sen Yai Sen Lek, Karta Thai and Holy Land Deli are in the area.

Details: Minnesota’s first member-owned brewery and taproom cooperative. Head brewer Niko Tonks has hit the ground running after his multi-month stint at Sociable Cider Werks. During our most recent visit, they had nine wide-ranging beers on tap, mostly in the sessionable 4.2 to 5.5% ABV range. Count us as huge fans of their Festbeir – with just a touch of caramel sweetness up front before waves of comforting malt cascade to a clean finish. Props as well to their schwarzbier. It’s intensely flavored, (think gamey, almost savory) but also light on its feet and wonderfully accommodating for a pint or two.

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Indeed Brewing Company

711 15th Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Twitter: @indeedbrewing

Hours: Thu-Fri 3-11, Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-close

Open Since: August 2012

Beer: We get a kick out of their Daytripper Pale Ale and that rush of citrusy hops on the nose. Also, their Midnight Ryder American Black Ale is one of the more successful Black IPAs (or whatever you want to call it) in the area. It’s silky with a deep roast character and a crisp, bitter finish. Expect to see those two and a few seasonals – boy, we love that Sweet Yamma Jamma on nitro in the fall. They offer glasses in three sizes, with one draft nitro-charged and another couple on cask.

Food: Food trucks are always scheduled to be on hand – check the schedule on Indeed’s website.

Details: Indeed Brewing was the first in a rush of Northeast Minneapolis breweries that opened in 2012-13. Josh Bischoff is the brewer, coming off an award-filled tenure at Town Hall. The Solar Arts building delivers a great neighborhood atmosphere for the brewery. The space is like an artist’s studio meets old-school club room. Check out the tables, emblazoned with signatures from the guest registry of the old Miller Publishing Group. The room has a shuffleboard table, and a small patio flanks the building facing the railroad tracks.

Daniel Murphy / Heavy Table

Daniel Murphy / Heavy Table

Insight Brewing

2821 E. Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Twitter: @InsightBrewing

Grand OpeningNovember 21st, 2014

Hours: Wed-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun

Food: It looks like Insight will host a regular food truck lineup – check their events calendar for the latest.

Details: We visited Insight shortly before their sneak peek event back in September. Head brewer Ilan Klages-Mundt spent time brewing at Fuller’s in London, thus Insight’s flagship will be a soft, English-style bitter called Lamb & Flag. Expect four to five beers at the taproom, including Saison de Blanc (brewed with wine grapes) and a yuzu-infused pale ale.

Northgate Brewing 

783 Harding St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Twitter: @northgatebrew

Hours: Thu 4pm-10pm, Fri 4pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-6pm.

Open Since: October 2014

Food: Check their event calendar for a list of food trucks slated to be on hand.

Details: The Northeast brewers, makers of the Wall’s End brown ale and Parapet ESB, have opened a 20-barrel brewhouse and 1,500 square foot taproom off Harding Street in Northeast. Get yourself some Pumpion spiced ale while its still available this fall. And we can’t wait for the day that Wander North Distillery opens their cocktail room next door.

John Garland

John Garland

Sociable Cider Werks

1500 Fillmore St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Twitter: @SociableCider

Hours: Thu-Fri 4pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-6pm

Open Since: November 2013

Food: Check their event calendar for a list of food trucks.

Details: This Northeast taproom has one of the most interesting lineup of brews in the Metro. They specialize in graffs – hard ciders with a small amount of brewers malt or other adjuncts for body and tannin. They’ll likely have some one-off infusions happening, as well as a few beers for the apple-averse.

 

DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS:

Day Block Brewing Company (brewpub)

1105 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN

Twitter: @DayBlockBrewing

Grand Opening: Monday, January 27th, 2014.

Hours: 11am-1am, daily

Beer: Head brewer Paul Johnston comes to Day Block by way of Harriet Brewing and Lucid Brewing. They’ll have six on tap – Frank’s Red Ale is the year-round mainstay.

Food: Helming the kitchen is Joe Williams, a Punch veteran, who’s composed a menu of seven signature pizzas with a few salads and snacks. They’re fired in a rack oven, which gives the crust some heft to handle the interesting mix of toppings. We dig the Hungry Hungarian (sausage, dill, pickled onion, ricotta), but people should beat a path to their door to get the Bahn Mizza, which deftly emulates the classic Vietnamese sandwich with marinated pork, pickled slaw, cilantro and a spicy gochujang mayo. And (because why not?) you can pair your flight of beers with a flight of three different types of bacon.

Details: Next door to Grumpy’s Downtown on 11th and Washington. Day Block features a wine list curated by the Wine Company (we love us some Juan Gil Monastrell) as well as a good selection of spirits and N/A drinks.

Fulton growlers

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Fulton Brewing

414 6th Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Twitter: @fultonbeer

Open Since: March 2012

Hours: Wed-Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 3pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-5pm, also open 2 hrs. before Twins home games.

Beer: Their two mainstays, Lonely Blonde and Sweet Child of Vine IPA, are always on tap, along with a handful of others – we especially like rich, malty Libertine red ale and the unique brews coming out of their Garage Series. They tap a specialty firkin every Thursday – the way their Worthy Adversary Imperial Stout mellows in the cask is magical.

Food: A most agreeable assortment of food trucks set up shop in Fulton’s front lot – check their website’s schedule. Or, if you want to sit down somewhere, it’s just a few blocks to Black Sheep Pizza and, soon, the brick-and-mortar Smack Shack.

Details:  A warehouse brewery for the Warehouse District. A three-minute walk from Target Field, it’s a terrific pre-game location at which to commiserate with fellow Twins fans. Heck, skip the first inning or two – they’ll have the game on their TVs. Growlers and other swag items are also available for purchase.

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Sisyphus Brewing

712 Ontario Ave. W.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Twitter: @sisyphusbrewing

Open Since: July 11th, 2014

Hours: Wed-Thu 3-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-1am

Food: Check their event calendar for food trucks. Otherwise, hop under the highway to Loring Park and The Third Bird, or head further up Hennepin to Eli’s for burgers or Butcher & The Boar for all things meat.

Details: Sisyphus Brewing occupies a warehouse space next door to Dunwoody College (students, rejoice), just up a side street from the Walker sculpture gardens. The owners are husband and wife team Sam Harriman and Catherine Cuddy, who have commissioned an Adam Turman/Josh Lemke mural for their exterior. They’re following the Dangerous Man model by keeping the brews in-house with no plans for expansion into retail.  We like their lovely IPA with a touch of sour Brett, and mellow Kentucky common. Harriman doesn’t plan to have house styles always available, but something Brett-fermented should be around. Their taproom space is also set up for live music, stand-up comedy, and live podcast recordings.

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Town Hall Brewery (brewpub)

1430 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN

Twitter: @THBrewery

Open Since: 1997

Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am, Sun 11-midnight

Food: Check their Facebook page for the latest menu.

Details: Town Hall is Minneapolis’ most consistently lauded brewpub, churning out award-winning beers for nearly two decades. The brewer is Mike Hoops, one of the most respected in the Cities. We dig their Dortmunder Export Lager and Masala Mama IPA, but they’ll always have something new and interesting on tap. Also, they’ll have a few guest beers along with a dozen tap lines dedicated to craft cider.

And if you’re in South Minneapolis, check out their satellite locations: Town Hall Tap (4810 Chicago Ave. S.) and Town Hall Lanes (5019 S. 34th Ave).

SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS:

Eastlake Brewery and Tavern

920 E. Lake St. (Midtown Global Market)
Minneapolis, MN

Twitter: @EastLakeMGM

Grand Opening: December 11th, 2014

Hours: Thu-Fri 11am-midnight, Sat 9am-midnight, Sun 9am-6pm

Food: You’ll have the glorious bounty of Midtown Global Market to bring to the brewery – might we suggest Sonora Grill, Manny’s Tortas, Hot Indian Foods, or El Burrito Mercado? After the market closes at 8pm, on Thurs-Sat, at least one restaurant (right now, Manny’s and El Burrito) will stay open for late night service to the taproom.

Details: After the market closes (8pm), enter the brewery from the market’s Lake St. entrance, between 10th and Eliot. We’ve only had a few pints at Eastlake so far – their Black IPA is our early favorite.

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Harriet Brewing

3036 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Twitter: @harrietbrewing

Hours: Tue-Wed 4pm-11pm, Thu-Fri 4pm-midnight, Sat 1pm-midnight, Sun 2pm-8pm (no growler sales on Sunday).

Open Since: March 2012

Beer: Three to five of Harriet’s brews should always be available. Their West Side Belgian IPA is always on and as well it should be.

Food: They very often have food trucks on hand, so check their tap room calendar.  Otherwise, we’d suggest Gandhi Mahal for some great Indian around the block.

Details: There may not be a tap room in the city that looks as comfortable in its own skin as Harriet’s. The brewery’s rear annex, cordoned off by a bright yellow wall full of local art, has a small corner stage featuring live music every night. In the summer, you can sip your beer on the patio and enjoy the downtown skyline view. Be on the lookout for Harriet’s more involved brew festivals when their entire lineup will be poured . Growlers are available for purchase in the small tasting room at the front of the building. Park in the gravel lot to the left of the brewery.

LynLake Brewery

2934 Lyndale Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN

Twitter: @LynLakeBrewery

Hours: Still fluctuating, but usually a few nights later in the week. Check their website.

Open Since: October 2014.

Food: Nothing at the taproom, but hop across Lyndale for fish tacos at Muddy Waters, next door for ramen at Moto-i, or a few blocks north on Lyndale for yum yum bowls at World Street Kitchen.

Details: The theater space has been remodeled to give Lyndale and Lake the laid back urban brewery it always wanted. We dig their Sideburns milk stout (is it even possible to make a bad milk stout, though?) Before it’s too cold, head up to their rooftop patio for a view of the entire neighborhood.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Northbound Smokehouse (brewpub)

2617 E. 38th St.
Minneapolis, MN

Twitter: @NorthboundBrew

Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am

Open Since: September 2012

Food: Check out our initial review of Northbound for some thoughts on the menu.

Details: We love the Light Rail Pale Ale (here’s their full tap list) and could happily spend a winter evening there sipping rye whiskey before taking the Blue Line home.

SAINT PAUL:

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Bang Brewing Company

2320 Capp Road
St. Paul, MN

Twitter: @bangbrewing

Open Since: September 2013

Hours: Fri 4pm-10pm, Sat 2pm-8pm

Food: Nothing at the brewery – you’d best backtrack on Raymond Ave. to Foxy Falafel, or head north on Raymond to Energy Park and some excellent Vietnamese at Pho 79.

Details: Housed in a corrugated metal grain bin north of the University Corridor, Bang Brewing is committed to brewing only 100% organic beers with as-local-as-possible ingredients. With its off-the-beaten path location, unique space, thoughtful product and overall ethos, they have admirably transformed a sliver of forgotten industrial wasteland into a bright, warm, and promising organic brewery.

Beer: ‘Neat’ is a pale ale with a modest recipe: single malt, single hop, water, and yeast. It’s so named because, like any spirit served neat, there’s nothing extra to hide behind. And here it works. Neat is bright and bitter and hoppy (95 IBUs) with a medium body and clean, almost vanishing aftertaste that lends the beer an I-could-drink-this-all-day quality. We also dig their “Nice” dark ale.

Burning Brothers Brewing

1750 W. Thomas Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104

Twitter: @BurnBrosBrew

Open Since: April 2014

Hours: Thu-Fri 4-9pm, Sat 2pm-8pm

Food: Head to the corner of Snelling and University for Lad Na at On’s Thai Kitchen.

Details: The gluten-free brewery in Midway St. Paul has officially debuted their Pyro American Pale Ale both at retail and their taproom. They’ve managed to make a gluten-free beer that actually tastes like regular beer, which is no small achievement.

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Great Waters Brewing Co. (brewpub)

426 St. Peter St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Twitter: @greatwatersbc

Open Since: 1997

Hours: 11am-2am daily.

Food: A full menu – check their website.

Details: Great Waters lineup of cask-conditioned ales may be the most underrated gem of a brewing portfolio in the entire Twin Cities. There’s no reason to drink anywhere else before a Wild game.

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Summit Brewing Company

910 Montreal Cir
St. Paul, MN 55102

Twitter: @summitbeer

Tap Room Open Since: September 2012

Hours: Fri-Sat 4pm-9pm

Beer: Expect to choose from around 10 of Summit’s brews. All of their year-round beers are available – the Saga IPA is our favorite right now. They’ll also feature their current releases from the Unchained and Union Series (when stocks allow), as well as some special casks and limited runs from their pilot brewing system.

Food: They will feature a rotating mix of food trucks during drinking hours. Check out Summit’s website for the lineup of food trucks and special firkins.

Details: Outsiders, sip a Summit Extra Pale Ale and you’ll taste where the the microbrewery revolution in the Twin Cities began. The venerable St. Paul brewers are now opening their Rathskeller on Fridays and Saturdays for taproom hours (only two days, since it’s frequently used for events and opened up to nonprofits for fundraising). They haven’t changed the space much, just built out the bar a touch. They’ve also added a brewery tour on Fridays at 1pm, which lets out just as tap room hours begin.

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Tin Whiskers Brewing Company

125 E. 9th St.
St. Paul, MN, 55101.

Twitter: @TinWhiskersBrew

Open Since: June 2014

Hours: Wed-Thu 4-10pm, Fri 3-11pm, Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-5pm

Food: You’ve got both Black Sheep Pizza and Sawadtee both in the Rossmor Building with Tin Whiskers.

Details: Our beer writer Liz Scholz recently sat down with the Tin Whiskers crew for a pint and a chat. We dig the Schottky Pumpkin Ale – get it while it’s still autumn.

Urban Growler Brewing Company 

2325 Endicott Street
St. Paul, MN 55114

Twitter: @UrbanGrowlerMN

Grand Opening: July 2014

Hours: Tue-Thu 3-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-8pm.

Food: There’s carnitas in the house at Urban Growler. Check their online menu for what else is in their kitchen.

Details: It’s the first female-owned and -operated brewing in Minnesota, but you won’t find pink barstools, or anything overtly girly like that. Owner Jill Pavlak tells us it’s about the little touches: a powerful heating and cooling system, purse hooks at the bar, etc. And even the Rhubarb beer isn’t pink. It’s a hazy wheat beer with some astringency and bitterness from the rhubarb, part of their Plow To Pint series that seeks to partner with local farmers. CowBell Cream Ale is their flagship, light and smooth, a perfect transition for the macro drinker.

WESTERN SUBURBS:

Enki Brewing

7929 Victoria Dr.,
Victoria, MN 55386

Twitter: @enkibrewing

Hours: Wed-Fri 4pm-10pm, Sat noon-10pm, Sun noon-6pm

Open Since: Late 2012

Details: We haven’t imbibed too extensively at the Victoria brewhouse, but our few visits have confirmed its a pleasant place to stop for a pint on their quiet patio.

Excelsior Brewing Company

421 3rd. St.
Excelsior, MN 55331

Twitter: @excelsiorbrew

Open Since: July 2012, Grand re-opening May 24, 2014

Hours: Wed 4pm-10pm, Thu-Fri 4pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm

UPDATES: Bob DuVernois is OUT at Excelsior (10-31-14) and they’ve set up a CURLING RINK for the winter (12-10-14).

Beer: You can taste four of Excelsior’s brews at their tap room. We prefer the crisp XLCR Pale Ale, followed closely by the Bitteschlappe brown ale. Pints are $5-6 and growlers and other swag items are on sale as well.

Food: Nothing at the brewery, though there’s plenty of eating on Water Street. City Pages has some good things to say about Coalition.

Details: Located off the parking lot behind Water Street. Enter off Third (you’ll see Petunia’s Home & Garden shop at 421 from the street).

LTD Brewing

725 Main St.
Hopkins, MN 55343

Twitter: @ltdbrewing

Open Since: June 7th, 2014

Hours: Wed 4pm-10pm, Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 2pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-7pm

Beer: On our first pass, we found that LTD still has some work ahead to dial in their recipes: “None of the beers in the flight were flawless and some had noticeable shortcomings. The American wheat uses only 10 percent wheat in addition to malted barley, and is also filtered, resulting in a colossal lack of flavor…the Nightmare stout, a passable but one-dimensional beer with strong roasted notes and some chocolate to amuse the palate. The least successful beer was the Batch #1 Brown Ale, an anemic-looking and thin-bodied brown with off-putting phenols and no malt complexity to speak of.”

Details: The taproom is located within a simple yet functional 1,200-square-foot space with a similarly-sized patio. The 8-barrel system is helmed by owner/brewers Jeremy Hale and Blake Verdon.

Jason Schoneman of Steel Toe Brewing

Lars Swanson / Heavy Table

Steel Toe Brewing

4848 W. 35th St.
St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Twitter: @SteelToeBrewing

Open Since: February 15th, 2013, also the first brewery in the Metro to host regular Sunday hours after the statute change.

Hours: Wed-Thu 3-8pm, Fri 3-10pm, Sat Noon-10pm, Sun noon-6pm.

Beer: Steel Toe’s four main beers are likely to always be on tap. If Size 7 isn’t the finest IPA in the Twin Cities, it’s squarely in the top 3. We also can’t get enough of Rainmaker, their wonderfully balanced double red ale. Provider is their standard golden ale and Dissent, their oatmeal-ish stout. You might even sneak a sip of Douglas, their wonderful new hoppy black ale.

Food: They may have a food truck out front on Fridays. Check their website calendar.

Details: The same week that saw the opening of 612Brew’s megalithic taproom also featured the quiet conversion of Steel Toe’s front room for pint service. They’ve built out a bar and seating along the walls, with room for about 30 guests. What’s most striking about their taproom is the absence of flourish – no artwork on the monochrome walls, no fancy tap tower, just chairs and beer. But we find this aesthetic, or lack thereof, to suit them perfectly. They’re located in an office park, not in a trendy neighborhood. The Steel Toe brand has always been modest and workmanlike, never boastful or flashy. This taproom proves they’re justifiably content to continue letting their outstanding brews do the talking.

Waconia Brewing

255 Main St. W.
Waconia, MN

Twitter: @WaconiaBrewing

Grand Opening: October 22nd, 2014

Hours: Wed-Thu 2pm-9pm, Fri-Sat noon-10pm, Sun noon-6pm

Details: One of the newest taprooms on the scene (read this early report from the Sun Patriot for all the particulars) and we’ll get back to you with our take on the beers once we get out there.

EASTERN SUBURBS:

Barley John’s (brewpub)

781 Old Highway 8 SW.
New Brighton, MN 55112

Twitter: @barleyjohns

Open Since: 2000

Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-1am

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

Bent Brewstillery

1744 Terrace Rd.
Roseville, MN

Twitter: @BentBrewstiller

Grand (Re)Opening: August 21st, 2014

Hours: Thu 4pm–10pm, Fri 2:30pm-10pm, Sat noon–10pm, Sun 11:30am-8pm

Food: Check their website for a list of food trucks.

Details: On New Years Eve, Bartley Blume announced that his Bent Brewstillery would be subsuming the Pour Decisions name/beers/location, and the taproom would be shut down for an expansion and remodeling. Head brewer Kristen England is continuing to brew obscure, unique beers for taproom-only service, alongside Blume’s Dark Fatha, a vanilla-ish, light-bodied, roasty stout, and the crisp, amber Nordic Blonde. We really dig the smoky El Guerrero stout. And if you happen to be an Auburn football fan, you’ve got a new game day headquarters.

Big Wood Brewery

2222 4th St.
White Bear Lake, MN

Twitter: @BigWoodBrewery

Open Since: February 2014

Hours: Wed-Fri 3pm-11pm, Sat 1pm-11pm

Food: Nothing at the taproom, but do yourself a favor and bring a deep dish from Pizzeria Pezzo.

John Garland / Heavy Table

John Garland / Heavy Table

HammerHeart Brewing Company

7785 Lake Dr.
Lino Lakes, MN 55014

Twitter: @HammerHeartBeer

Hours: Tue-Sat, 2pm-10pm

Beer: They refer to their beers as “hoppy, smoked, and sometimes oaked. Unfiltered and balanced.” They generally stick to English styles – no Belgians or German Lagers – and have about a dozen on tap. We especially like the Flaming Longship, a mildly smoked Scotch ale and the well-attenuated British Invasion pale ale. They’re also running a pretty aggressive barreling program – you will notice a lot of oak stamped with logos from Elijah Craig, Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace.

Food: Nothing in the brewery, but the occasional food truck will pull up outside. Check their website.

Details: The North Metro is flocking to this Lino Lakes brewery for aggressive brews and Swedish death metal. Other than the erstwhile Pour Decisions, HammerHeart boasts the oddest, least-categorical lineup of brews anywhere in town.

John Garland / Heavy Table

John Garland / Heavy Table

Lift Bridge Brewing

1900 Tower Dr
Stillwater, MN 55082

Twitter: @LiftBridge

Open Since: September 2011

Hours: Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-10pm, Sun noon-6pm

Beer: You’ll find six of Lift Bridge’s brews on tap. You know and love the citrusy haze of Farm Girl Saison. Hop Dish IPA is spectacularly resinous and the crisp Getaway Pilsner is our go-to four pack lately. Expect a couple seasonals to be on hand. In the winter, check out their stout series – milk, oyster, and Irish coffee. Also on tap: house-made root beer (ask for a taste. Incredible).

Food: No food trucks out in Stillwater, but there’s plenty of solid eating within a couple minutes’ drive. We recommend the laid-back Patriots Tavern for soups / sandwiches and the same goes for Chilkoot Cafe & Cyclery (especially their more elegant dinner menu). We dig the small plates at The Green Room, favor Roma Restaurant for good old-fashioned Italian favorites, and Phil’s Tara Hideaway for great Mediterranean.

Details: There’s no better way to wait out the Highway 36 rush hour than having a pint at Lift Bridge. They’ve won the people’s choice Golden Firkin at Happy Gnome’s Firkin Fest multiple times, so they’ve wisely installed a beer engine in the bar and will begin to feature rotating casks. If you want their cask beer now, you may find some at Ngon Bistro, Republic, or Groveland Tap.

Paige Latham / Heavy Table

Paige Latham / Heavy Table

Maple Island Brewing

225 Main St. N.
Stillwater, MN 55082

Twitter: @mapleislandbrew

Open Since: September 2014

Hours: Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sun noon-1opm

Beer: Our first assessment of Maple Island yielded mixed results: “The highlight of the group was the Mosaic Wheat, which had an appealing lemon-bready scent and refreshing character tempered by mild bitterness…Also a relative success is the Cup of Joe Freak Show coffee-oatmeal stout. The roasted nature of the coffee adds nicely to the malt and bitterness, while residual sugars balance the astringency. More body would greatly enhance it, however. Other brews were less successful, including the Dragon’s Breath Kölsch, with its inappropriate caramel notes and telltale smoke phenols indicative of a temperature problem. The maple ale was poorly executed, lacking balance with nothing but maple syrup hitting the palate. Finally, steer clear of the IPA, which is also one-dimensional. Simcoe hops add some pine and earth, but the lack of anything else leads to an anemic ale, and the peculiar addition of Belgian candi sugar makes little impact when what is needed is a more vigorous malt bill.”

Details: Located along the riverside town’s Main Street, Maple Island boasts a river-facing patio, capitalizing on foot traffic from locals and tourists alike. Since owners Nic Brau and Frank Fabio opened doors in late September, the taproom has drawn consistent traffic from Minnesota and Wisconsin. They hope to pull from the biking community, too, as a new neighboring bike trail was recently installed on the old Zephyr rail site.

WESTERN WISCONSIN:

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

American Sky Beer

1510 Swasey St.
Hudson, WI

Twitter: @AmericanSkyBeer

Hours: Wed-Thu 4pm-9pm, Friday 2-10pm, Sat noon-10pm, Sun noon-4pm.

Details: Our own Liz Scholz visited during a tour of the best beer spots in Hudson. “Comfortable and homey,” she writes, “considering it is a big, warehouse brewery in an industrial park, American Sky has a several beers available. The best is the Tailgunner Gold, a hazy blond ale with slightly bitter clove notes. The Wombat Combat, a Belgian white IPA with a banana finish, is light and fresh.”

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Dave’s BrewFarm

2470 Wilson St.
Wilson, WI 54027

Twitter: @DavesBrewFarm

UPDATE: Dave’s BrewFarm is officially for sale. (10-19-14)

Hours: Typically open twice a month, usually on weekends with the occasional Friday or Monday thrown in around a holiday weekend. Check for the monthly schedule on the BrewFarm blog.

Beer: You’ll find eight beers on tap at the BrewFarm. What they’ll be is anyone’s guess, but you can expect them to be stylistically all over the map. Just look at the lineup above – everything from a light saison to a 9.2% brew called Mocha Diablo? You’ll be tasting something interesting, that’s for sure. You can get a flight of all eight taps (2 oz pours) for $10, or a 10.5 oz snifter of any for $5. You can also take away 1 liter swing-top bottles for $10, with a $5 deposit (and no, they won’t fill other folks’ growlers). Make sure to bring cash – no cards accepted and no ATM on site.

Food: BYO! The BrewFarm encourages people to bring in snacks, lay out big spreads and potluck, or bring a grill and tailgate.

Details: A laid-back farm where the living is easy and the beer is wind-brewed. We first visited late in 2010 (read our write-up) and it has since maintained is reputation as a convivial and welcoming respite for lovers of good food and good brew.

Oliphant Brewing

350 Main St. #2
Somerset, WI

Twitter: @OliphantBrewing

Hours: Thu-Fri 4pm-9pm, Sat noon-9pm, Sun noon-7

Details: Our own Paige Latham got the initial details on Oliphant back in October. We’ll get back to you with more in-depth tasting notes after our next visit to Somerset.

Pitchfork Brewing

709 Rodeo Cir.
Hudson, WI

Twitter: @PitchforkBeer

Hours: Wed-Thu 3pm-8pm, Fri 3pm-10pm, Sat noon-10pm, Sun 11:30am-7:30pm

Details: We don’t know much about Pitchfork yet – looks like we have more drinking in Wisconsin to do. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

UPCOMING TAP ROOMS

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Surly Brewing Company

520 Malcolm Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN

Twitter: @SurlyBeerHall

Expected Opening: December 19th, 2014 (ANNOUNCED 12-15-14)

Latest Details: Surly’s destination beer hall is nearing completion and Jorge Guzman (@SurlyChef) will be heading up the kitchen.

Badger Hill Brewing

4571 Valley Industrial Blvd. S.
Shakopee, MN

Twitter: @badgerhillbeer

Expected Opening: January-February 2015

Latest Details: Badger Hill has made good on their promise to move out of Lucid Brewing in Minnetonka with the acquisition of a gigantic brewing space in the Shakopee corridor near Valleyfair and Mystic Lake. (UPDATE 12-15) Check out a first look at the nearly-completed brewery over at Growler Magazine, and stay tuned for announcements about their grand opening, which looks to be happening very soon in 2015.

Wabasha Brewing Company

429 Wabasha St. S
St. Paul, MN

Expected Opening: January 2015

Latest Details: Their Facebook page reveals they’ve been given the OK by the Ag. Department to start brewing as of November 21st, so we could be seeing growler sales at Wabasha sometime soon. No word yet on taproom hours.

Barley John’s

New Richmond, WI

Expected Opening: Mid 2015

Latest Details: The beloved New Brighton brewpub has broken ground on a 13,000 sq ft facility in New Richmond, Wisconsin, near the 45th Parallel Distillery.

Courtesy of Lucas Gluesenkamp / lucasgluesenkamp.com

Courtesy of Lucas Gluesenkamp / lucasgluesenkamp.com

Bad Weather Brewing

414 W. 7th. St.
St. Paul, MN

Twitter: @BadWeatherBrew

Expected Opening: Summer 2015

Details: Bad Weather is taking their distinctive ales to Saint Paul, leasing a destination space just blocks from the Xcel Energy Center. Current plans call for a 1,500 square foot taproom where a cool $1,000 can get you two free pints per visit for life.

Angry Inch Brewing

20730 Holyoak Ave, Suite 160.
Lakeville, MN

Twitter: @AngryInchBrew

Expected Opening: Spring/Summer 2015

Details: Check out Nick’s Beer Blog for a fine recap of where the Angry Inch team is to this point.

Lake Monster Brewing

550 Vandalia St.
St. Paul, MN

Twitter: @LakeMonsterBrew

Expected Opening: Summer 2015

Details: Lake Monster Brewing, makers of Empty Rowboat IPA and Calhoun Claw Pilsner, will expand the nascent brew district of Midway St. Paul with a new brewery and taproom slated to open next summer.

Amity Brewing

1075 St. Clair Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105

Twitter: @AmityBrewing

Expected Opening: Mid-to-late 2015

56 Brewing

3134 California St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

Twitter: @56Brewing

Expected Opening: Mid 2015?

Details: A new brewing concern has moved into the former Northgate Brewing space. 56 Brewing will be a community-supported brewery, with drinkers invited to purchase membership stakes. They describe their beers, on their website, as “a core lineup of bold and session craft beers with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and using seasonal variations and infusions. Honey Kolsch, MC Stout and Keller and Midwest-Pilsner style beers. We will utilize a barrel aged program to rotate in for select core and also seasonal brews. High quality craft beer produced at a lower volume in a micro-brewery allows us to focus on quality, consistency and the ability to rotate beer styles efficiently.”

Lucid Brewing

6020 Culligan Way
Minnetonka, MN

Twitter: @lucidbrewing

Expected Opening: ??

Details: We met up with Lucid owner Jon Messier (above, right) at a North Coast Nosh a while back, and he let on that they aspire to host taproom hours at their Minnetonka brewery in the near future. An ordinance needs to be changed to allow for this, so as of right now, it’s a theoretical taproom at best.

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About the Author

John Garland

John Garland is a freelance writer living in the East Isles neighborhood of Minneapolis. His area of expertise is wine - thanks to schooling from the International Sommelier Guild and more than a few winery visits during his time at the American University of Rome. He also contributes to Beer Dabbler's Growler Magazine and is always available for writing opportunities and happy hours.

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3 Comments

  1. Mark Photography Tips01/31/2013

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired! Very useful info particularly the ultimate part :) I deal with such information a lot. I used to be seeking this certain info for a very lengthy time. Thanks and good luck.

  2. Wayne Kohnen02/12/2013

    Check out Jack Pine Brewery in Baxter, Mn.

  3. Ken BeBault03/06/2013

    Please add me to you mailing list; I am interested in know who is getting into the business as well as who may be closing shop for anyone in the Food, beer and liqour sales.

    Ken BeBault