American Craft Beer Week is May 11 through 17 and it is time to recognize great Minnesota brewers. Readers are encouraged to take part in the celebration at their local microbrewery. Lori Higgins, MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce President says, “We have so many breweries, the entire northeast side of Minneapolis has one on just about every street corner.” Newcomer to northeast Minneapolis, Indeed Brewery, was recognized by the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado just two years after its start. Perennial GABF winners, Summit Brewery and Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery made the list again last year. Long-time favorite, Surly Brewing Company and newcomer Tin Whiskers are also highlighted here. In addition to these fabulous five, out-state residents can be proud of Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth and August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm. Brew connoisseurs may also want to visit newcomers Badger Hill, Bent Paddle and Steel Toe Brewing, each having won a medal up against 5,500 entries by 1,300 breweries last fall.
910 Montreal Circle
St. Paul, MN 55102
“Summit is the big dog of microbreweries,” Higgins said, “They are the ones who started it all.” Summit’s mainstay, Great Northern Porter, was first recognized with a GABF Gold in 1987. More recently, Summit’s Extra Pale Ale took the Gold Medal in Classic English-Style Pale Ale category in 2014. In addition, this Ale took gold and silver respectively at the 2010 and 2012 World Beer Cup. Those who prefer extra special bitter ale should try the award-winning True Brit IPA.
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
1430 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55454
More than any other Minnesota Brewery, Town Hall has captured GABF recognition more than a dozen times since founders Pete and Scot started brewing in October 1997. Town Hall provides a relaxing beer-hall ambiance dedicated to the enjoyment of simple pleasures like the award-winning Scottish-Style Ale, Hope, and King Scotch Ale. Another great brew to sample is last year’s winner, a wood-and barrel-aged strong beer, Twisted Trace.
Indeed Brewing Company
711 NE 15th Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55413
While Indeed mainstays, Day Tripper American Pale Ale and Midnight Ryder Black IPA are good, the Specialty Honey Beer, Mexican Honey Imperial Lager, got notice in Denver in 2014. This is quite an accomplishment for a two-year-old brewery.
Surly Brewing Company
520 Malcolm Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
This Brooklyn Center brewery recently opened a new $30 million destination brewery near the Prospect Park neighborhood in Minneapolis. Try the wood-and barrel-aged sour beer, Pentagram, for a real taste treat. The Coffee Bender is an interesting Coffee Flavored Beer recognized by the GABF in 2007 and 2009.
125 E. 9th St.
St Paul, MN 55101
“Tin Whiskers in downtown Saint Paul is the most technically excellent beers around,” Scott Beauchamp, Manager of Public Affairs at the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and novice brewer said. “I can’t help but marvel at these electrical engineer’s use of precise recipes to make one of the most technically excellent beers around.” Whiskers sports catchy names like Short Circuit Stout and Flip-Switch IPA at this centrally-located tap room. A nod to their engineering roots, NASA gifted Tin Whiskers brewers with a printed circuit board card guide, once aboard the space shuttle Endeavor, and now displayed in its taproom.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.