#mnbeer – PorchDrinking.com
Everyone has different reasoning for what separates a good beer from a great one. For me, it comes down to the human connection. Aside from physical characteristics like color, crispness, body, and finish, beer can be elevated from good to great when what you’re consuming distinguishes itself by a higher sense of meaning. Bent Paddle Brewing Company’s Cold Press Black Coffee Ale does just that.
When most people hear the word Minnesota, I can imagine that a few stereotypes are top of mind. Some people might imagine a frigid Antarctic-like landscape. Others may have a vision of, Scandinavian men and women, blonde and blue-eyed, dressed in floor-length jackets and Vikings gear screaming skol. Thanks to the Coen brothers and their brilliant Fargo, some might immediately hear Francis McDormand’s spot-on accent in their ears and get a vision of an unfortunate woodchipper in their minds. But when I think of Minnesota, I think of my home and my wholesome, Midwestern parents and my not-so-little bearded brother – three people who enjoy nothing more than enjoying a craft, Minnesotan brew around our fireplace.
Similar to the rest of the country, my home state of Minnesota has seen an explosion within the craft beer scene. According to one article, thirty breweries opened up in Minnesota in 2017 alone – which was nearly double the openings that the state saw in 2016. Needless to say, the scene is not showing any signs of slowing down. So what initiated this domino effect? One might argue that Surly Brewing – Minneapolis’ 12-year-old craft beer darling – is partially to thank for the recent surge. And if we’re going to give thanks Surly, we have to look back to the beer that first helped put Surly on the map: Surly Furious, the IPA that makes you question what an IPA should be.
A road trip resulted in us visiting more than 40 breweries, brewpubs, taprooms and bottle shops in almost all parts of the Midwest, so I had to share my top six picks for breweries along our journey. You simply should not miss any of these places if you are within 50 miles. Not only did each brewery make stellar beer, but there was something special about each one, whether it was the atmosphere, the food, or the history. Note that these breweries were in the order which we visited them – there’s no way a favorite can be picked! After all, breweries are like snowflakes: all are beautiful, and none are the same! Here’s a look at six breweries that stood out in our tour of the Midwest.
Surly Brewing has established itself as a craft beer powerhouse in Minneapolis by making iconic beers like Surly Furious and Todd the Axeman. And while many Minnesotans are used to seeing Surly’s distinctive branding and hop-heavy beers on shelves, they now should get used to seeing the Surly logo on one more thing: sports teams.