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The Massive Midwest Brew Tour

by on 7 May, 2011

The excitement is mounting…

In less than two weeks, I will be partaking in my very first overseas beer adventure. Look out Midwest USA, here I come!

This will not be my first trip to the Midwest, however it will be the first trip with a mission: Redemption.

Unfortunately, my beer experience of the USA has been somewhat clouded by the mass produced big boys such as Budweiser, Coors and Millers. Don’t get me wrong, they did the trick at the time. I was a bit younger with different ambitions (usually how much beer could I drink without passing out) and these beers did very well. I have grown up a lot since then, well, my taste in beer has anyway.

From the limited research that I have done on the web, It’s apparent that I won’t have to travel far to find craft beers and microbreweries. I know I will have to depend a lot on local leads to find the exceptionally good stuff. There must be some gems out there, just waiting for me to find them.

I will be arriving in Minneapolis as Minnesota’s Craft Beer Week is coming to an end, so I intend on hitting the ground running. I will be travelling around Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, planning each day as they come and following my nose for the nearest breweries, brewpubs and bars. Schedules are not my thing. It’s going to be a tough job, I know…

I have a feeling that I am going to be in for a treat and I look forward to sharing some great beers and stories from the Midwest.

And if you have any leads for this intrepid beer adventurer… please comment, tweet me @hopfultweeting, or drop me an email:


From → Travels

  1. Nicola permalink

    Have an awesome time Chris, look forward to reading about your adventures!!

  2. We’re actually embarking on a State Capitols/BeerVenture in 6 states up there around the same time. Northern Brewer (big home brew store) is in Minnesota, as is Surely, and New Glarus is a must if you’re in Wisconsin. Madison WI is supposed to be a great location for beer bars and brew pubs. Northern Brewer did a great tour of Madison’s beer scenes on their Brewing TV series. Might be worth a watch if you have a chance. Have a fantastic trip! I’ll look forward to reading the post-trip blog reports.

    • Thanks so much for the tips! You’re the second person who has told me to go to Madison WI! I have limited time in Wisconsin (only half a day to be exact), I have planned to go to Leinenkugels in Chippewa Falls – will surely let everyone know what I think soon after! I’ll be bloggin’ on the go!


  3. I’ll be meeting up with you at Town Hall on Friday. Plenty of other good stuff around there. A couple blocks away is Acadia Cafe which has 32 craft taps (US and imports). A mile or two away is Stub & Herbs which also has 32 craft taps (all US craft beer). A couple miles across downtown from Town Hall is Rock Bottom. About 2 blocks from Town Hall is Grumpy’s Downtown and they have cask ale on Fridays (beer changes every week so they’ll announce what it will be sometime that week. Just a short 10 minute drive from Town Hall outside of Minneapolis is Barley John’s Brewpub. Great place to eat and have a couple beers. They have a great outside patio if the weather is nice (and a fire pit) although things are small inside (fits about 20 people inside). Lots of other beer bars depending on where in the cities you want to go. If you wanted to tour Surly, chance are you had to have signed up for the tour already. They open up registration every Friday morning for upcoming tours and they sell out in a matter of minutes many times. Summit Brewing in St. Paul has a nice tour that runs most days.

    Too bad it’s almost a 2 hour drive southwest of Minneapolis but Schell’s is a really cool brewery to checkout. It’s the 2nd oldest family owned brewery in the country in a tiny town called New Ulm. 2 hours in the other direction would bring you to Duluth where Fitger’s makes awesome beer. Their brewer is actually the brother of Mike, the brewer at Town Hall.

    Only 1/2 a day in Wisconsin is never enough. Leinie’s is a decent brewery to check out but the tour isn’t much. You start in the gift shop (Leinie’s Lodge) and then go across the river to take the tour. They show you the brew kettles and you see the end of the bottling line and thats about it. Then you get 2 little samples and they encourage you to buy some stuff in the gift shop. It’s a bit out of the way from highway 94 (Minneapolis to Madison) so it’ll cut into your day a good bit. I might consider skipping it. In Madison, checkout The Great Dane. They have a number of locations but the one a couple blocks from the State Capitol is your best bet (and the original location). 1/2 block from there is Maduro, a beer and cigar bar. Sit around and enjoy a nice pint and a good cigar on the couches. 2 blocks from there on the Capitol Square is The Old Fashioned. They have a huge selection of Wisconsin beer on tap and in bottles and good food.

    New Glarus is a self guided tour with these handheld phones that you punch in the numbers on the wall and listen to someone describe the item. I haven’t been there since they build their new brewery on the hill but I hear it’s beautiful (not sure if the tour is in the new brewery or the old one). Not totally sure I’d take the time to drive down there from Madison if I only had 1/2 a day there.

    My favorite brewery in Wisconsin is Tyranena which is about 20 minutes east of Madison on Highway 94 in Lake Mills. They don’t do tours regularly but you can sit in their tasting room or outside in the beer garden and have a couple beers. They don’t serve food but you can bring your own in.

    As far as North Dakota, the only brewery they have is Edwinton and I’ve never had their beer. They also have a Granite City location but they’re a chain where all their beer is brewed in Iowa and trucked up. They have a number of locations around the Minneapolis area. South Dakota doesn’t have much either.

    Let me know if you’d like suggestions on anything else in the area.

    • Sir, this is gold. First pint is definitely on me!

      I am really looking forward to it.

      It is a shame that I won’t be able do delve more into the depths of WI, I’ll have to put it on the next trip’s agenda. Let me know what time I need to meet you at Town Hall.


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