I was born and raised in Minnesota. So, I may be a little biased when it comes to my thoughts on our local beer. That being said, we have outstanding breweries that produce a wide-array of great tasting beer. From light lagers to dark stouts, we Minnesotans are gifted with great tasting brews. Believe me, when I travel far from Minnesota, one of the things I miss are the solid selections of beer that we get to choose from! That might be weird, but it is true.
The purpose of this feature is not to list the absolute best beers (because who knows?), but to provide a varied selection that experts, enthusiasts, my friends and I believe to be a great starting point for local brews. These beers are also more accessible and can be found in many Minnesota liquor stores.
It is certainly true that there are many other great local beers, but, sadly, they can’t all be on the list. Please, however, let others and I know what beer(s) you think should have made this article by commenting below — in a respectful and productive way, of course.
So, check out the list. Some beers might be familiar and some not — it’s all on here. Cheers!
No. 1: Summit Extra Pale Ale
– Summit Brewing Company
910 Montreal Circle
St. Paul, MN
This is the flagship beer of the Summit Brewing Company. But, to me, it epitomizes watching a football or baseball game in Minnesota. With the classic hoppy taste and relative lightness, this beer is very approachable to all kinds of beer drinkers.
Of course, just like the brewing companies mentioned below, there are many other beers from the Summit Brewing Company that one can enjoy.
No. 2: Surly Furious –
This American India Pale Ale (IPA) is brewed with a blend of American hops and Scottish Malt. One could lose him or herself trying to describe the complicated nature of the taste, but the general consensus is that it is a darker, citrusy but not overly-bitter IPA. It has been a big success recently and liquor stores have had to keep up with the high demand. Look for more interesting brews from Surly.
No. 3: The Ring Neck Braun Ale –
Brau Brothers Brewing Company
201 1st Street
As the name somewhat states, this is an English Brown Ale. Dry and fruity, it’s a great beer to sip on an autumn day. First brewed in 2006, this beer has had some excellent response from the public and was highly recommended by Ryan Anderson of MNbeer.com.
No. 4: Stagecoach Smoked Porter –
Mantorville Brewing Company
Molly Auron, the beer assistant at Surdyk’s Liquor, recommended this American Porter. The creamy dark taste has a touch of smoke and chocolate – definitely a drinkable porter.
No. 5: Premium Grain Belt –
August Schell Brewing Company
1860 Schell’s Road
New Ulm, MN
Quite simply, this is my favorite beer on this list. No, it’s not just because my last name is Premo, but it is a great aspect that I do enjoy to gloat about. I would argue that when one thinks of the perfect Minnesota beer, it would be Premium. This American Adjunct Lager is light-bodied with low bitter taste. Unlike a lot of other beers of its kind, this beer does not compromise taste for ease of production. Enjoy the taste of Minnesota!
Yes, Nordeast is very good, too. But I believe Premium will stay in its spot as the most solid among the two.
No. 6: Farm Girl Saison –
Lift Bridge Beer Company
This beer was highly recommended. This very recently brewed beer is inspired by Belgian ale and is great for any occasion.
No. 7: Lake Superior Oatmeal Stout –
Lake Superior Brewing Company
2711 West Superior Street
Lake Superior Brewing Company boasts that this is a true four-season stout. A Gold Metal winner of the 2002 World Beer Championships, this beer is known for it’s chocolate and coffee “complexity.”
No. 8: Angry Planet Pale Ale –
This American Pale Ale, made from all organic ingredients, has a nice caramel sweetness that does well to balance out the hoppy bitterness. This is a solid brew worthy of attention.
No. 9: John Henry 3 Lick Spiker Ale
– Cold Spring Brewing Company
219 Red River Avenue North
Cold Spring, MN
With a taste as bold as its title, this American Strong Ale is definitely for the avid beer enthusiast. It is an imperial stout brew style that has been bourbon oak aged. Hints of chocolate, bourbon and vanilla come through. This is a heavy, strong beer that isn’t as approachable to the novice beer drinker.
No. 10: Finnegans Irish Amber –
Contract Brewed by Summit Brewing Company
910 Montreal Circle
St. Paul, MN
This beer is unique in that 100 percent of the profits go to back to the community where it’s sold to help the working poor. However, this beer isn’t just made for a good cause; it’s also made for great taste as well! With a light caramel malt taste and slight hop finish, this is a milder craft brew that is very approachable to all beer drinkers.
Sky Pilot Kellerbier – Herkimer Pub & Brewery
Masala Mama India Pale Ale – Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
-Cole Premo is a Web Producer at WCCO.com.