Our craft beer exploits recently brought us to the big city to weigh in on a few noteworthy spots in Minneapolis.
We had heard rumors of a brand new brewery opening up on Washington Ave. It turns out we had jumped the gun on Day Block Brewing, who isn’t quite up and running yet. However, we are in contact with the DB team and will be doing a feature story on them once their operation is online.
From there we motored over to to Fulton Brewery for a little pre-game pint. Their friendly taproom opens early on Minnesota Twins game days to accommodate thirsty pre-game crowds. Sweet Child of Vine happens to be my favorite of their brews with a perfect BBB (Balance of body/bitterness.) Also, Fulton has its roots in the Northland as their President Ryan Petz is from the Grand Marais area. In fact, The Gun Flint Tavern in Grand Marais pays homage to Fulton by featuring their beer on tap. Also, I must say as a professional graphic designer, they probably have the coolest logo of any of the MN breweries.
After our warm-up beer we shuffled off to Target Field for the Twins-KC game. A gorgeous day, a beautiful ballpark, and a struggling team, and what do you think we most care about? What are the beer options at Target Field? Well, here’s what we found out. As expected, there are plenty of macros or “domestics” as they are called. (I’ve never quite gotten that moniker). However, we were heartened that on the main level toward the left field corner, there is a kiosk called “Minnesota Brews” which sells Grain Belt Premium, Grain Belt Nordeast, Summit, Third Street, Schells, and Finnegans which I didn’t know was brewed in Minnesota. Although it wasn’t at the MN Brews kiosk, we were also able to find Surly Furious. Though not completely void of craft and local options, I would certainly say that Target Field is nothing to write home about as far as craft beer is concerned. Earlier in the season we posted on our facebook page the top 10 major league ballparks for craft beer, and it’s clear as to why Target Field did not crack the top ten. It’s this girls opinion that they would be well-served to include Lucid, Fulton and Bent Paddle in their beer mix.
Disappointed in both the final score and the craft beer options, we shifted gears to take in a place we hadn’t been before. The RePUBlic is a taphouse in the 7 corners area with a diverse selection of 57 taps in many styles from just about everywhere. Our bartender was both friendly and knowledgable on craft beer. Keeping it local, Lee went with the Surly Seven which I found to be a bit too sweet.
From there we took the short walk across the street to The Town Hall, where I ordered what was to be my favorite brew of the day. Their White IPA was so good and grapefruity that we had to buy a growler to take north with us.
The Sports Bar—
At this point, I would say that we’re having a pretty good day, which just also happened to be my birthday. We noticed in an advert in the City Pages that The Pourhouse in downtown Minneapolis generously offered a free pint on your birthday. I couldn’t pass that up. Located in the old Lumber Exchange Building, we wrapped up our Minneapolis beer tour with a Darkhorse Crooked Tree IPA, and their Spicy Shrimp Flatbread. For a sports bar, The Pourhouse has an impressive selection of local craft beer including Fulton, Lucid, LiftBridge, Badger Hill, 612, Surly and Big Wood with great Happy Hour values.
I know that we barely scratched the surface of what the Minnie-Apple has to offer. There were many other options within the same area, including but not limited to Gluek's & Crooked Pint Ale House, but you need to draw the line somewhere. Amazingly, all of these places we visited that day were within the same 12 block area. Needless to say, we will be back to explore another layer of the Minneapolis craft beer scene.