Scene of Minneapolis Missisippi Riverfront Historic Milling tours photo credit: Explore Minnesota

Football fans, beer lovers and high rollers from across the country will descend upon Minneapolis over the next week in anticipation of Super Bowl LII. Perennial champs, the New England Patriots, will face the Philadelphia Eagles to determine the NFL’s Champ for the 2017 season.

While the advertising during the big game may indicate that this game is the exclusive domain of macro beers, the twin cities are home to some incredible craft breweries. If you’re headed to Minnesota, be sure to check out our list of can’t-miss beers and breweries. Whether you’re rooting for the Eagles or the Patriots, great beer is the team we’re all on.

Rochester

With travelers coming in from across the country, some will have to stay in cities outside of Minneapolis, and if you’re a craft beer drinker at the Super Bowl, Rochester is a hidden gem on the Minnesota beer map. Just an hour and a half away, this town will be hoppin’. Don’t miss these watering holes while you’re in town or just driving through.

Our first stop was Kinney Creek where we got to play Hammerschlagen.

Kinney Creek:  

Kinney Creek is a smaller bar and brewery on the west side of Rochester. They don’t serve food, but you may bring your own or have it delivered. They have tons of games like off the ground bean bags/corn hole, a giant game of connect four, several other board games and a peculiar drinking game involving hammering nails into a stump.

Notable drinks

  • Grappler Fruit Beer (apple-flavored beer): Not cider — beer brewed with apples.
  • Timber (English brown ale): A nutty brown ale
  • ABBEYgALE (Strong Ale): A sweet, malty Belgian ale
  • Chasm (Chocolate milk stout): Very aptly named, a chocolate beer that weighs in at 5.8 ABV
  • Special Smoked Porter: One of their more notable beers, it is exactly what it says it is.

Visit http://www.kinneycreekbrewery.com to learn more.

Forager is a bustling, lively spot with tasty beers and an impressive list of specialty pizzas.

Forager:

About a 1-2 minute walk from Kinney Creek, Forager is a brewery, restaurant and coffee shop. As a result it is quite a bit bigger and far busier. If you’re hungry, go for the pizza,  it’s what the restaurant is known for.

Notable drinks

  • Sherpa (double chocolate coffee stout):  This is a stronger and thicker beer.  Don’t be fooled by “double chocolate,” this stout tastes more coffee like than chocolate.
  • Backdoor Santa (winter warmer):  Smooth winter beer.
  • Pudding Goggles (pastry porter with coconut, vanilla, cinnamon and cocoa):  Another strong, beer. This beer is STRONG on the coconut. I am not a big fan of coconut, but even I have to admit this porter/coconut combo absolutely works.
  • Forager also features four different sour beers:  Impeach Me, Bluebell Cream Dream, Sour Franny and Gummies Make Us Likable.

For more information, visit https://foragerbrewery.com

Life’s Too Short (LTS):

This brewery only serves pizza, but you may also bring food or have it delivered. In addition to beer, they brew their own excellent craft sodas. If your kids are along for the ride, this may be the best spot to check out.

Notable drinks

  • Ugly Pumpkin (pumpkin ale):  A seasonal beer that was still present when we where last there, the Ugly Pumpkin is excellent for anyone who enjoys pumpkin ales.
  • Other notable beers include Inspiration (American IPA), FUN (Belgian-style blond) and Browncoat (American brown ale).
  • Root beer:  Definitely one of the best I’ve ever had and coming from someone who loves root beer.  Certainly, better than any big brand root beers.
  • Other sodas include, an orange cream soda and a line of rotating sodas like butter beer (similar to cream soda) and cranberry soda.

Visit them at http://www.ltsbrewing.com for all the details.

Twin Cities and Roseville

Minneapolis and St. Paul are where all the action is. As tens of thousands of visitors file in, expect plenty of events and festivities throughout the week. And since football and beer are a match made in heaven, make sure you get plenty of both. Here are our can’t-miss craft breweries in Twin Cities.

Surly:

Located in Minneapolis, it is one of the larger breweries. It includes a restaurant and large bar area. It typically features somewhere around 30-40 different beers.

Notable drinks

  • Furious IPA: Probably their most popular beer.
  • Todd the Axe Man (IPA): Their other IPA that is also widely known in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
  • Cooper: Dark beer brewed with coffee and cherries. Coffee is stronger flavor, but you will still taste the cherries.
  • Witch’s Tower: Brown ale
  • Pentagram: A dark, sour ale that is aged in red wine barrels.
  • Dumpster Fire: A smoked IPA that has a spicy profile thanks to the addition of puya chilies.

To find out more, visit http://surlybrewing.com

Located in Roseville, Bent Brewstillery has an eclectic vibe where you feel right at home with the locals.

Bent Brewstillery: 

Located in Roseville (immediately North of the twin cities and where we stayed), Bent is both a brewery and a distillery. The brewers at Bent are the mad scientist types who love to experiment with hops.

Notable drinks

  • Nicked (Export double stout): With an IBU of 77, this hoppy beer is not the norm for a stout.
  • Dark Fatha (Barrel-aged imperial stout): This is a very dark beer aged in bourbon barrels.  This strong and VERY thick beer with an ABV of 12% certainly doesn’t let you miss the bourbon taste.

For more information, visit http://www.bentbrewstillery.com/

TownHall Brewery has won numerous medals at GABF and you’ll find many specialty and barrel aged beers.

Town Hall Brewery:

Back in Minneapolis, this brewery features a restaurant and a deep list of great craft beers, making it the favorite of many local craft beer lovers.

Notable drinks

  • Hope & King Scotch ale: Incredibly smooth scotch ale
  • Bluberry Foolish: Strong Belgian dark ale infused with blueberry
  • Elves’ Elixir: Seasonal Baltic porter
  • Blackbarrel Gold:  Barrel-aged imperial Belgian blonde with blackberries
  • Twisted Trace (Barleywine): Aged in red wine barrels

To learn more, visit http://www.townhallbrewery.com

We loved everything about Urban Growler, exceptional food menu. photo credit: Didi Rainey

Urban Growler:

Moving over to St. Paul, Urban Growler is the first women-owned microbreweries in Minnesota. It also features its own food and its own deep list of great craft beers.

Notable drinks

  • Pumpkin Saison: Great pumpkin beer in an unexpected style.
  • Bourbon Barrel Imperial Porter: Strong on the bourbon and with an ABV of 11% this porter is surprisingly smooth and easy to drink.
  • Kentucky Uncommon:  Bourbon tasting, but not overwhelmingly so like with the Bourbon Barrel Imperial Porter. This ale is lighter and only half the alcohol content of the porter.
  • Cowbell Cream Ale: Their standard cream ale.
  • Candy Corn Imperial Cream Ale: A little stronger and certainly sweeter than the Cowbell Cream Ale, it is an excellent fall beer.
  • Mad Cow: ½ Cowbell, ½ Candy Corn Imperial Cream Ale.

For more details, visit http://www.urbangrowlerbrewing.com

We stayed at the conveniently located Country Inn and Suites in Roseville, MN. A quick ride into the Twin Cities this hotel is surrounded by many food and craft beer establishments. An excellent choice while visiting Minnesota. To reserve a room: https://www.countryinns.com/roseville

Written by: Thomas Disque