This downtown St. Paul brewery quietly opened in July with a whopping 12 beers on tap. They’re making really small batches, so don’t get too attached to any one beer because they go fast. That said, if something is popular, they’ll probably bring it back around.
The space, in the historic Pioneer Endicott building, is on the garden level, but still manages to get plenty of light. There’s ample seating around the bar and at tables to bring a group or spread out and play games — there was a group playing poker on one of our visits. They have a space in their alley for food trucks that they’ll use eventually, but for now you’ll have to bring your own.
What to drink: They haven’t been open long enough to have a flagship beer, but we’ve enjoyed their IPAs.141 E. Fourth St., Suite LL2, St. Paul; 651-493-8106
Bad Weather has quickly evolved into a must-visit spot for most of my beer-nerd friends, and I’m no exception. There is always a huge variety of beer on tap — I can’t remember ever visiting and not finding something new. For all the variety, each one is made with so much care that I never hesitate to order something I’ve never tried. The staff is friendly and efficient, and the space is big enough that you can usually find a table, even when it is busiest. It can be tough to score a spot on the patio, but at least the garage doors that open to the outside offer some fresh air. There’s usually a food truck at Bad Weather, and because they’re usually so busy, they get some of the best street food in the cities.
What to drink: Whatever they’re pouring, but our favorite seasonals are Tippin’ It Down (an ESB brewed with Earl Grey Tea) and Firefly Rye (a pale ale made with rye malt).414 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-207-6627
Welcome to Bauhaus Brew Labs! We assume you’re here because you not only enjoy delicious, world-class local beer, but you also enjoy the combination of delicious beer with your favorite tunes and über-awesome friends. Well, you’ve come to the right place — welcome to the family! We are a growing family of forward drinkers who celebrate the joy of art and craft in everyday life — the Bauhaus way. We’ve designed our beers to do nothing less than ignite your senses and make your wilder dreams come true.1315 Tyler St. N.E., Minneapolis; 612-276-6911
You have to admire the moxie of Jay and Sandy Boss Febbo, the owners of Bang. They are making 100 percent organic beer, and that’s not easy to source. In addition, the brewery, which is housed in a slick, stainless steel grain bin, is 100 percent wind-powered. All their good intentions would be for nothing if the beer wasn’t good, but it is. Some of my favorite in the state, as a matter of fact. Add to that the charm of one of the two of them always being behind the bar and the fact that they brew every batch without help, and you’ve got a great story and reasons to come back again and again. Oh, and there’s a sweet patio, too. There is often a food truck or sausage cart, but check their website if you’re counting on it.
What to drink: Neat (a sparkling bitter) or Nice (a dark ale that’s great with a shot of coffee in it, which the brewery also offers).2320 Capp Road, St. Paul; 651-243-2264
Squarely at the center of exciting things happening in St. Paul brewing, Barrel Theory is the result of two former Surly employees spinning off on their own. The brewery is churning out expensive, labor-intensive beers that are available only in their sleek Lowertown taproom. Beer enthusiasts have been packing the place, so much so that they tend to run out of popular brews quickly. If you’re a fan of sours, or even if you’re not, try any of their Berliner Weisse variations — they’re best in class. They’re also brewing some really nice, hazy IPAs and currently have my favorite pale ale. No food trucks, but you can order from Dark Horse Bar and Eatery, which is next door and has great bar food, including some of the most underrated pizza in town.
What to drink: Everything, but especially Falkor (an American pale) and Key Sublime (a Berliner Weisse).248 E. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-600-3422
This spacious warehouse brewery shares a building with Can Can Wonderland, the crazy artist-created mini-golf course/eatery/entertainment space in the industrial area off University Avenue near the Minneapolis border. Their lineup of beer might be smaller than some other breweries, but the beers they do have are solid, creative and easy to drink. The taproom is sizable, so feel free to bring a group, and even though Can Can gets crowded, there’s ample parking available. There are food trucks some days but not others — check the calendar on their website.
What to drink: Ends Meet (an amber-colored Belgian ale) or whatever northeast-style IPA they’re pouring.755 N. Prior Ave., St. Paul; 612-369-2934
This brewery’s tagline, “Don’t fear the beer,” says it all — co-founder Dane Breimhorst has celiac disease but loves beer. So he decided to make something he could drink. The brewery boasts a variety of styles, including a lime shandy in the summer, that are popular among the gluten-free crowd and even those who can have regular beer. The brewery is in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood, nestled in a residential area, and though it’s a cozy spot, we haven’t had trouble getting a seat. They even host gluten-free food trucks pretty regularly — there’s a calendar on the website.
What to drink: Parched (a lime shandy), or Roasted (a coffee strong ale)1750 W. Thomas Ave., St. Paul; 651-444-8882
Housed in the former Hamm’s brewery facility on the East Side, Flat Earth has a giant bar, a separate sampling room, plenty of seating and a patio for outside imbibing. The brewery also has lots of events, including trivia, live music and quirky Hot Wheels races for kids and adults alike. Flat Earth makes a lot of Belgian ales, but also plenty of American standards and fun seasonals. Food trucks are hit or miss here, so it’s best to eat before you come.
What to drink: Belgian-style pale ale or Black Helicopter coffee stout688 E. Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul; 651.698.1945
The only brewpub in St. Paul, Great Waters has occupied the corner of St. Peter Street and Seventh Place in downtown St. Paul for 20 years — long before the current craft-beer boom. They’ve been brewing some award-winning ales during that time and always offer an array of regular and cask-conditioned beers. The restaurant menu is huge, and includes a wide array of bar snacks, sandwiches, entrees and salads. It’s a great place to meet friends before a downtown event or unwind after work.
What to drink: Saint Peter Pale Ale or Brown Trout Brown Ale426 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 651-224-2739
Housed in the gorgeous old King Koil Mattress Factory just off the Cretin-Vandalia exit of Interstate 94, Lake Monster’s spacious taproom means you can bring all your friends to hang out. The brewery’s beers are generally pretty standard, but solid, but there’s usually one on the list that is at least somewhat experimental. There’s also a pretty sprawling patio out front, and most nights, there’s a food truck.
What to drink: Empty Rowboat IPA or India Pale Gose550 Vandalia St., St. Paul; 612-964-6288
The oldest brewery on this list, Summit Brewing has been making craft beer since before it was cool — founder Mark Stutrud first brewed the brewery’s flagship Extra Pale Ale in 1986. The brewery’s stable of year-round beers are always a solid choice, but in recent years, they’ve really let their brewers get creative, to great effect, with their Unchained series. The beers are limited-release, and they are distributed, but also served in the brewery’s Beer Hall, a community gathering room that basically turned into a taproom on the weekends after the Surly Bill was passed in 2011.
What to drink: The beer that started it all, Extra Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout (which isn’t sold in retail outlets) or any of the Unchained varieties.910 Montreal Circle, St. Paul; 651-265-7800
Started by three electrical engineers, Tin Whiskers was the first brewery to locate downtown. Their signature Wheatstone Bridge, a wheat beer brewed with chamomile tea and honey, might be the most ubiquitous tap beer in St. Paul restaurants. The taproom is a modern space in the Rossmor Building. Given that there are three restaurants in the building (Black Sheep Pizza, Keys Cafe and Sawatdee), the brewery does not partner with food trucks but encourages patrons to bring in food from its neighbors.
What to drink: Wheatstone Bridge or Flip Switch IPA.125 E. Ninth St., St. Paul; 651-330-4734
The only full-fledged brewery in St. Paul that has a kitchen (for now), Urban Growler has recently hired a new chef that has kicked the food up a notch to really good bar food. The brewery is owned by two women, which makes it unusual in the heavily bearded hipster-heavy craft beer scene. The beer here is great, too. Though their flagship beers are firmly in the classic category, their Plow to Pint series, in which they partner with local farmers to add farm-fresh ingredients, and their seasonals offer some seriously fun variety.
What to drink: Big Boot Rye IPA or any of the Plow to Pint beers.2325 Endicott St., St. Paul; 651-340-5793
This brewery on St. Paul’s West Side has a pretty, historic taproom, with the brewery operation up above. It’s usually full of neighborhood regulars, which gives it a charming dive-bar feel, but with artwork for sale on the walls. There’s also a small patio adjacent to the taproom. The brewery is probably best known for its West Side Popper, a jalapeno cream ale that is heavy on the fresh, green pepper flavor and pretty light on the spice.
What to drink: West Side Popper or Lawnmower Porter.429 S. Wabasha St., St. Paul; 651-224-2102
Who knew downtown Lakeville was so charming? This storefront brewery is on Holyoke Avenue, the main drag of the historic district. It has a family vibe — there were moms, dads, kids and even grandparents there when we visited. They have a wide variety of beer, with a lot of styles on the sweet, dark and high-alcohol side of things.
What to drink: Daddy’s Honeypot (a French saison) or Samoan Kisses (a milk stout with chocolate and coconut notes)20841 Holyoke Ave., Lakeville
Housed in an industrial strip mall just across from the Eagan Outlet Mall, this brewery is the perfect place to hide while your friends and family who love to shop are across the street. The taproom here is sizable, and there are seven solid beers on tap at any given time. Bald Man has a food truck almost every night, too.
What to drink: Tupelo Honey Brown Ale or Young American Pale Ale.2020 Silver Bell Road, Suite 28, Eagan; 651-600-3164
This combo brewery/distillery is the only one of its kind in the Twin Cities. Owner Bartley Blume is one part mad scientist, one part activist, as the state’s liquor laws don’t allow him to serve both beer and cocktails. The beer here, which they are allowed to serve, is creative and the atmosphere cool. Be sure to check out the bathrooms, which are some of our favorites in the Twin Cities.
What to drink: Nordic Blonde or any of the beers in their Funked Up series of sour beers.1744 Terrace Drive, Roseville; 844-879-2368
This roadside brewpub in New Brighton has a great patio with a soaring fire pit and hops growing up trellises surrounding it. If you’re lucky, there might be live music, too. They have a full bar, wine and a fairly large menu that includes sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizzas and entrees.
What to drink: Stockyard IPA or Old 8 Porter781 Old Highway 8, New Brighton; 651-636-4670
This downtown White Bear Lake brewery embraces its suggestive moniker in more ways than one, first by outfitting its taproom with lots of wood, including heavy wood-carved chairs (short shorts are a no-no here, you could end up with a splinter) and beers with cheeky names like Morning Wood, Bad Axe and Bark Bite. Ignore the names if they are off-putting to you, though, because the beer here is good.
What to drink: Morning Wood (a coffee stout) or Amigo Grande (a Mexican lager)2222 Fourth St., White Bear Lake
It’s the farthest flung of the suburban breweries on this list, but HammerHeart makes some road-trip worthy beers. The brewery has a dark, Nordic theme that is very masculine, but very cool, and the brewery has a tasty niche: smoked beer. There are often some delicious non-smoked varieties on tap if that doesn’t float your boat. Smoke is applied to the grains here with an expert hand and it’s really worth a try.
What to drink: Thor’s Hot Pepper Porter or Bog Burial (Scotch barrel-aged peat-smoked old ale)7785 Lake Drive, Lino Lakes; 651-348-2654
A true community gathering spot, Lift Bridge hosts something called Townie Tuesdays, in which the brewery donates to a local charity. They also host a holiday cookie bake-off, an annual hop-picking event and live, local music. It doesn’t hurt that the beers here are some of the best in the entire metro area — good enough to travel for, even if you don’t live in the Stillwater area.
What to drink: Anything, really, but Hop Dish, Mango Blonde and The Warden (a rich milk stout) are our favorites.1900 Tower Drive W., Stillwater; 888-430-2337
This charming brewery is in historic downtown Stillwater, and the best place to be is the little patio in the back of the shop, with views of the St. Croix River. The beers here trend toward the gimmicky, including one brewed with ice cream from the legendary Stillwater shop Nelson’s, and one named White Butt IPA. Just go with it.
What to drink: Maple Island Bock or Burlesque Kolsch225 Main St. N., Stillwater; 651-430-0044
We haven’t yet been to the original Burnsville location of this suburban brewpub, but the beer is the same in Arden Hills, and it’s good. The food menus are different at the different locations, too, and the Arden Hills spot, which is located squarely in a nondescript strip mall, changes its menu fairly frequently. As with all brewpubs, you can get outside booze here — beer, wine and cider in Arden Hills, and a full bar in Burnsville.
What to drink: Any of the rye IPAs1905 County Road 42W, Burnsville; 952-892-1438 3673 N. Lexington Ave., Arden Hills; 651-340-8812
This brewery will be located in the mezzanine level of the Keg and Case development in the old Schmidt Brewery on West Seventh Street. Owners Jordan Standish and Max Boeke are longtime homebrewers ready to live the craft brewery dream. Expected opening is April 2018.928 W. Seventh St., St. Paul
Owner Tom Schroeder took on a daunting project in renovating the oldest surviving commercial building in the Twin Cities. The saloon was originally built in 1857, and the restaurant and taproom portion of the brewery will reside in the original building. There’s an addition off the back that will house the kitchen and the brewing equipment. The beers here will be classic German styles, and more than 80 percent of what they serve will be lagers. Waldmann will also serve a menu that mostly consists of sausage and sides, including a currywurst, weisswurst and a hot dog from Red Table Meats. Expected opening is Oct. 1.445 Smith Ave., St. Paul; 651-222-1857
When Sidhe Brewing on Payne Avenue closed, owner Kathleen Culhane immediately launched a new project, Culhane Brewing. To be located in the former Station 4 building in Lowertown, the brewery will be another super-small batch operation, but this time with a kitchen. Opening date has yet to be determined.201 E. Fourth St., St. Paul
Formerly known as Looney Bin Brewing, this brewery, which will be in the Treasure Island Center in the former Macy’s downtown (which will also house a training facility for the Minnesota Wild), will serve a wide variety of beers, according to co-owner Andy Erickson. He and his partners, Brad Randall and Scott Wege, are former homebrewers taking the next step. Expected to open in February or March 2018.421 Cedar St., St. Paul
Another historical revival, but of a different sort, Yoerg has already brought back beer originally brewed in Minnesota in 1848, but they’ve been brewing it in Wisconsin. The new taproom they’re working on, in the former Wabasha Bar on St. Paul’s West Side, will also serve food, mostly bar food, including a currywurst, pizzas from Giovanni’s in Brainerd, Minn., pickled eggs and pate. They’ll have wine, too. Expected opening is Oct. 1.427 S. Wabasha St., St. Paul