Sip Your Way Through Minneapolis-Saint Paul: A Weekend of Breweries and Distilleries
The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region is quickly becoming known for its craft beer scene, but we also have wonderful distilleries. Here’s your guide to a whole weekend’s worth of delicious drinks.
Begin your trip to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region by exploring some of the Saint Paul suburbs. Start with brunch — or as Inver Grove Brewing Co. likes to call it, drunch. Offering a large outdoor patio complete with games, space heaters and a massive firepit, it’s the perfect place to kick off your weekend. The brewery offers 24 unique taps including a coffee ale, a caracara sour and a bubble peach brew — honestly, there’s a brew for everyone. The brunch menu is just as fun — the crispy chicken donut sandwich and pesto benedict are must-tries for the Instagram foodie in your crew.
Next up is Bald Man Brewing in Eagan, where you should definitely order the Ring of Fire jalapeño cream ale. If you’re looking for something a little more classic, try the Dark Side of the Moon nitro porter, which has notes of coffee, toffee and dark chocolate.
Spend the rest of your afternoon at Union 32 Craft House, which is known for its wall of 32 taps offering everything from a Nut Goodie porter (a collaboration with Pearson’s Candy) to an Apricot Big Island Blond. Hang out on the patio and grab some classic Minnesota bar food for lunch. Start with an order (or two) of deep-fried cheese curds with strawberry chipotle jam for the table and follow it up with a hearty burger.
Instead of dinner and a movie, do dinner and a distillery tour. For dinner, grab a table at Ineffable Brewing Co. in Burnsville. The microbrewery offers brick-oven pizza and a stellar take on Belgian-style beers. Among the lineup is a delectably refreshing hefeweizen with notes of banana and clove.
Next, head back into Saint Paul for the evening for a private tour of Studio Distilling. Sample a few of its award-winning modern craft whiskeys featuring hops and elderflower and coffee and chocolate. Pick up a bottle to take home, along with a craft cocktail kit, on your way out.
Finish the night at 11 Wells Spirits in Saint Paul and try its prohibition-style corn whiskey or a seasonal cocktail. If you want to learn a little more about the area through a drink, 11 Wells has a menu of local favorites. All of its spirits are distilled in house using only local ingredients from Minnesota-based farms.
One of the best parts about the Twin Cities is the difference between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Minneapolis is modern and sleek with a rousing nightlife, while Saint Paul is historic and laidback. You’ll want to experience both sides during your visit, so Saturday is all about exploring the robust Minneapolis brew scene.
First up, ease your way into Saturday with a trip to Minneapolis Cider Co. for breakfast crepes and galettes accompanied by a cider flight or two. Be sure to try the mango habanero. Feeling up for a little friendly competition? Grab a game of pickleball after breakfast.
The “northeast brewery tour” is the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis. Able Seedhouse + Brewery, 612Brew, Bauhaus Brew Labs and Sociable Cider Werks are all within walking distance of each other, and each one offers its own draw.
Able Seedhouse + Brewery is a local favorite for its craft beer and mouthwatering barbecue. The taproom is currently closed, but the brewery is offering takeout for both beer and barbecue — so take it to go and have a picnic. The menu includes smoked ribs and chicken, plus weekly specials.
612Brew boasts some of Minneapolis’ most notable brews, such as their Mill City Pilsner. The modern, warehouse-style interior is an ode to the Minneapolis Warehouse District in which 612Brew resides.
Bauhaus Brew Labs is best known for its expansive patio, providing the perfect hangout spot for a few brews and some patio games. Check out the brewery’s food truck schedule and enjoy some local Minneapolis food-truck fare.
Sociable Cider Werks offers delicious, gluten-free ciders as well as bingo with prizes like a free cider and gift cards to local restaurants.
Kick off your Saturday evening with happy hour at Dampfwerk Distillery in St. Louis Park. The cocktail lounge is modern and sexy with dim lighting, dark walls and gold accents. Dampfwerk specializes in European-style fruit brandies and liqueurs made from locally sourced fruits. Take a tour of the family-owned distillery as a pre-dinner activity.
Utepils Brewing in Minneapolis offers a uniquely Minnesota experience of live music in its winter beer garden. Grab dinner from a local food truck — check the truck schedule online as they rotate. Utepils offers a wide variety of beers, but its most notable is the Keller Pils, an unfiltered, Czech-style pilsner.
Next, head over to Twin Spirits Distillery in Minneapolis for a nightcap by the fire in the distillery’s greenhouse. Pick from a wide selection of house-distilled spirits — you can get everything from gin to moonshine.
Finish out your weekend by exploring a few of the metro area’s suburbs that offer great beer and unique experiences. Start the day with brunch at Invictus Brewing Co. in Blaine. Invictus is a modern, warehouse-style brewery with an indoor/outdoor bar and six fermenters as the focal point. It offers classic-style beers, including the Beautiful Buzz blonde ale and the Henley’s porter, as well intriguing options, like the Chocolate Raspberry Rollercoaster Russian imperial stout and the Hazy Crazy IPAzy.
Located within Invictus is another local favorite, the Tipsy Steer. It classifies itself as “local, sassy brew food,” and offers a menu that’s jam-packed with fun starters for the whole table, brick-oven pizza and “Psycho Milkshakes.”
After fueling up at Invictus and Tipsy Steer, your next stop is Forgotten Star Brewing Co. in Fridley. Work off some of that brunch in Forgotten Star’s parking lot ice-skating rink, then unwind on the brewery’s patio and enjoy one of its Belgian-style brews or try out the Instagram-worthy Marshmallow Chocolate stout.
Head over to 10k Brewing in historic downtown Anoka for lunch and a flight of beers unique to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Every beer on the menu is made in-house by the owner’s original recipe.
Enjoy a snack and a game of bingo before dinner in Coon Rapids at Alloy Brewing Company on its heated patio. Alloy boasts 19 taps, each one different from the next, making this the perfect spot for a flight.
Dinner at Barley John’s Brew Pub in New Brighton is a dinner well spent. Rotating seasonal brews and classic Minnesota dishes, such as Minnesota hot artichoke dip, make Barley John’s the perfect spot for your last night’s meal.
Finish your weekend with a nightcap in Minneapolis Northwest at Skaalvenn Distillery — one of Minnesota’s hidden gems. Skaalvenn is where Japanese style meets Nordic culture. House-distilled vodka, habanero rum, aquavit and whiskey make for a versatile offering.