Top 5 Taprooms in Minneapolis and St. Paul – Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…
There is a known psychological phenomenon called decision paralysis. First popularized by psychologist Barry Schwartz in his 2005 TED talk – it is a result of having too many choices placed in front of you – the overwhelming volume of information causes difficulty making a decision, and the resulting decision is often dissatisfying because you are left wondering if the BEST decision was made.
Nowhere has decision paralysis reared its ugly head more recently than with craft brewing. In the good ol’ days, if you wanted a Minnesota beer you had few options (Grain Belt? Summit?). Today there are over 100 craft breweries in the state of Minnesota with a thousand unique brews.
Worry not. I am here to save you from decision paralysis. Here are five taprooms (a taproom being the place where a brewery serves their own beer) that you should visit here in the Twin Cities. I am not claiming these are the best (though they are excellent). I’m claiming these are the five you should visit – each for their own unique reasons.
Lakes and Legends
1368 Lasalle Ave, Minneapolis
Located a couple blocks west of the Minneapolis Convention Center, this brand-new brewery focuses on
Belgian and Farmhouse ales and channels the farmhouse vibe in their taproom. Lawn chairs, bean bag
toss and strung lights will make you forget that it’s February outside the front doors.
Reason to visit: Fantastic atmosphere and convenient location to those of us in downtown.
Beer to try: Raspberry Braggot. Combination of raspberries, honey and Belgian ale makes for a sweet and unique beer.
Able Seedhouse + Brewery
1121 Quincy St NE, Minneapolis
NorthEast Minneapolis is a hotspot for breweries and taprooms including Bauhaus, Indeed and
612Brew. Amidst those is a newcomer – Able Seedhouse + Brewery. The brewery was founded on the
philosophy that the hard work of creation is meaningful, and we are all “Able” to make and create. They
have a fantastic atmosphere that is dog and kid friendly as well as food trucks parked outside if you’d
like some munchies to go along with your drinks.
Reason to visit: Truly embraces the artistic side of craft brewing. Able is about more than beer – it is a philosophy.
Beer to try: BLK WLF Stout – complex flavors of caramel and coffee, yet very easy to drink.
712 Ontario Ave W, Minneapolis
Nestled next to the 394/94 interchange just across from Dunwoody college is Sisyphus. This cozy little
brewery makes numerous small batches of more experimental beer – and their selection is constantly
rotating. There are also a number of fun evening activities (weekly trivia and live comedy). Sisyphus has
partnered with local restaurants that deliver to their taproom should you want a meal with your beer.
Reason to visit: A rotating beer selection means you’ll likely find something new to try every time.
Beer to try: Ask the bartender! Whatever I suggest is likely not available by the time you visit!
520 Malcom Ave SE, Minneapolis
Surly is the leader in the craft beer scene locally – and for good reason. In addition to their exceptional
beers, they spearheaded the ‘Surly Bill’ that made taprooms legal in Minnesota. In 2014 they opened a
$30 million brewery / taproom / event center. Unlike the previous recommendations, which tend to be
on the smaller side, Surly aims to impress through the sheer magnitude of their space. Their outdoor
beer garden has room for 1,000 people, complete with fire pits and heat lamps during the winter
months. Despite the available space, you can expect to find Surly packed to the walls on most weekends.
Reason to visit: The outdoor beer garden is spacious and gorgeous (especially in the summer). There are also 24 exceptional Surly beers on tap.
Beer to try: If you’re familiar with Surly, you probably have a favorite already. Looking for something
new? Try the Surly ‘Fiery Hell’ – a twist on their regular offering brewed with puya chilies. It packs a nice punch.
Note: The Travel Channel did this savvy little video production piece about Surly.
Bang Brewing Company
2320 Capp Rd, St Paul
Bang is just a hop across Highway 280 from Surly, but stands as a polar opposite. It has, by far, the most
unique space I’ve seen for a brewery. Bang was built out of a 40′ wide grain bin. The metal
exterior is complimented nicely with a warm wood bar and accents inside. With just two people (co-
owners Jay and Sandy) responsible for both brewing and running the taproom, Bang truly embraces the
‘micro’ in microbreweries. Limited hours and limited space makes every visit feel special.
Reason to visit: Bang won best taproom in St Paul by the Star Tribune in 2015, yet it still feels like a little-known secret.
Beer to try: Again – ask the bartender. There’s always something new on tap.
Note: Watch Bang Brewing’s unique venue constructed from the ground up. Video production from Alchemy Architects.
Have any favorite watering holes? Let us know in the comment section below!
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