A Bright Spot on the Range

Lee Witte

The 218 Taphouse is a craft beer and cultural oasis, a rare find on the Minnesota Iron Range. The Taphouse is attached to the Woodfire Cafe and The Shop Coffeehouse, located in the historic down-town area of Virginia Minnesota. The taphouse is new and doesn’t have much of a presence on the internet yet, so it took a little effort to track them down, but we don't mind, that's part of the fun, getting out there, talking to the locals and asking what they recommend.  Visit the 218 has a facebook page.


They offer 10 - 12 craft taps with a focus on locally brewed options like Bent Paddle, Castle Danger, Voyageur and regional brews like Fargo and Fulton Brewing. They’re presently open on Thursday and Friday evenings and offer live original music, they’re considering expanding their hours to Saturday nights. 218 also offers a nice menu that includes wood-fired pizza and artisan pastries, soups and sandwiches.

Long Time Business Soars

into the Craft Era.

A tropical island: Gramma Polo's Bottle Shoppe first opened in March of 1947, over 65 years ago! The store, originally called Polo's Liquor Store, was started by George and Charlotte Polo. The store went through several changes over the decades. Charlotte Polo continued running the liquor store up until March of 2012, when she retired and sold the business to her granddaughter Jodi and her grandson-in-law, Tom.


Gramma Polo's Bottle Shoppe has been completely rebuilt. It has a warm decor and exceptional craft beer selection, It's still a local family owned business, but better than ever. The new store is very earth friendly, utilizing LED lighting inside and out. This lighting is environmentally friendly, but it's also beer friendly. It emits little to no UV light, which can cause the skunky off flavors. The beer coolers utilized free cooling technology during winter months and are energy star rated for efficient cooling during the warmer months.


Speaking from personal experience, they were the closest liquor store to me for the 9 years when I lived in Esko. It’s great to see this long time local establishment evolving and thriving along with the craft beer movement.


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