Minnesota’s Brewpubs: Where Fresh Craft Beer Meets its Culinary Match

Fitger’s Brewhouse

600 E Superior St, Duluth, MN • 218-279-2739

For nearly twenty years, Fitger’s has provided locals and travelers a place to enjoy great craft beer. Their signature beers include the cask Witchtree ESB, several classic English ales, and a wide range of seasonal beers. They have produced numerous barrel-aged beers and have occasionally offered sour beers and other unique creations. The location inside the former Fitger Brewing Co. complex provides shopping and entertainment opportunities for those who don’t want to settle in with a few pints, and the brewhouse and complex are decorated with old brewery artifacts. Fitger’s Brewhouse beers are also available at Burrito Union, Red Star Nightclub, and Tycoons Alehouse & Eatery in Duluth, and in growlers at the Brewhouse retail store, one floor below the restaurant.


The Freehouse

701 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN • 612-339-7011

Opened in December 2013, the Freehouse is the brewpub member of the Blue Plate Restaurant Company Family. True to its English etymology, the Freehouse serves its own beers with about a dozen guest taps and six guest cans. The initial beer offerings are a Kölsch, an IPA, a brown ale and a stout, with other styles planned. Three sizes of pours are available, the “Middy” offering something between a pint and a taster. The menu features lots of creative sandwiches, entrees, and appetizers. Unlike most brewpubs, they are open for breakfast, with an equally creative menu. There is a kids’ menu that even includes kids’ breakfast items. (Fruity Pebbles in your Muesli?) Growlers available.

Granite City Food & Brewery

3945 2nd St S, St Cloud, MN • 320-203-9000

From their original location in St. Cloud, Granite City has expanded to five suburban Minnesota locations and thirty nationwide. Purists may not consider Granite City locations to be true brewpubs since the wort is made at a central location in Iowa and fermented at each location. The year-round beers include a stout, a pale ale, a bock and a lager, with frequent seasonal beers rounding out the lineup. The menu is designed to appeal to a wide audience and is kid-friendly. Growlers are available.

Great Waters Brewing Co.

426 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN • 651-224-2739

Great Waters made its reputation by having more cask ales than any other brewpub in the state. The house ale and oatmeal stout are almost always on cask, along with a couple of rotating casks. Pushed beers usually include the blonde, pale, and brown ales, with seasonals or experimental styles rounding out the list. Usually crowded when there are events at the Xcel Energy Center or The Ordway, the dining room has a good view of St. Paul and the patio is a great option in nice weather. The menu includes a mix of entrees, sandwiches and other items, and there is a separate kids’ menu. Growlers available.

The Herkimer Pub & Brewery

2922 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN • 612-821-0101

For many years, The Herkimer only offered German beer styles, exploring the full range of German styles and winning gold at the Great American Beer Festival. In the last couple of years they have added English and American ales to the list, but they’ve continued brewing less common German specialties such as Göse and Kotbüsser. They recently introduced the After Workin’ Firkin on Fridays to experiment with infused versions of their beers. The Pub has several tasty burgers and sandwiches as well as pub grub. No Growlers.

Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

1430 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN • 612-339-8696

The banners on the wall celebrating past Great American Beer Festival medals announce the excellence of the beers at Town Hall. Masala Mama has been among the highest ranked IPAs on several beer-rating sites, and the lines to purchase 750 ml bottles during Barrel-Aged Week go around the block. The regular beers include a Dortmunder lager, a pale ale, a scotch ale, and an oatmeal stout. There are usually several seasonal beers on at any given time, along with two cask ales. There is a short but select list of guest taps, often including hard-to-find imports. Beers made at the Seven Corners location are also available at Town Hall Tap and Town Hall Lanes, both in South Minneapolis.

Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub

2716 E 38th St, Minneapolis, MN • 612-208-1450

Located a block from the Hiawatha light rail line, Northbound lives up to both parts of its name by offering a limited but tasty menu of sandwiches, appetizers, and salads featuring meat and fish smoked in-house. Vegetarian items are available. The regular beers include a honey-wheat ale, a pale ale, an IPA, and a lightly-smoked porter. Seasonal beers run the gamut from weiss beers to barleywines. There is also a select list of Minnesota guest taps. A small patio provides additional space. Growlers available.

Reads Landing Brewing Co.

70555 202nd Ave, Reads Landing, MN • 651-560-4777

Watch the Mississippi River roll by while enjoying a locally-sourced meal and a pint of house ale. A 145-year old dry goods store decorated with old brewery artifacts provides the proper setting to enjoy a cream ale, a pale ale, or perhaps a seasonal like a dunkelweizen or pumpkin ale. There is also a select list of guest beers. The kitchen is small, so the menu is as well, but the range of items is as carefully selected as the ingredients. Kid friendly. Growlers available.

Red Wing Brewery

1411 Old W Main St, Red Wing, MN • 651-327-2200

Once host to five breweries, Red Wing is returning to its brewing heritage. In addition to the regular house beers named after local landmarks, the brewpub has a rotating series of “historical beers,” which bear the names of famous old labels and draw on recipes from the long vanished breweries. The beers are available in pints, 8 oz “snits,” and taster sizes. The restaurant features pizzas made with dough using spent brewery grains. Kid friendly with its pizza and homemade root beer. Growlers available.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

800 Lasalle Ave #125, Minneapolis, MN • 612-332-2739

It’s often forgotten that Rock Bottom has seniority among Minnesota brewpubs, and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014. While part of a national chain, the brewers at each location have the freedom to design beers that fit their local market. Even the beers that have the same name vary from location to location, based on the brewers’ choices. There are 5-–6 regular beers, several seasonals, and often a cask offering. The food menu will please the variety of people who stop in for lunch downtown or before or after the theater. Kid friendly. Growlers available.

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