Think global, drink local: brewery tours in the Twin Cities
Food & Drink

Think global, drink local: brewery tours in the Twin Cities

Editors note: Rachel Quay ’14 and Charlie Argyrou ’14 are both of age to have sampled beer.

Disclaimer: I am no beer expert, and definitely no connoisseur. I’m just a person who likes to drink beer and explore what the Twin Cites has to offer.

Do you like beer? Are you of legal age to drink? Most of us are probably familiar with some local microbreweries like Summit and Surly, but we decided to go a little off the beaten path and hopefully find some new favorites.

The first stop was Indeed Brewing Company in Minneapolis. Founded a little over a year ago by three college friends, they have already made a name for themselves and are planning on expanding their distribution outside of the Twin Cities soon. The brewery is located on the Northeastern side of the city, bordered by an active railroad and old warehouses. The surroundings gave it a very industrial feel, and the brewery occupies the first floor of a warehouse built in the early 1900s. Indeed has an outdoor patio with solid picnic tables, but the real highlight of the visit was the taproom inside. The taproom is furnished with wooden booths and tables, a huge handcrafted bar, local artwork and hanging light fixtures. The footrail at the bar was made from actual railroad rail, in a nod to the trains running just
outside. The tables were neat because they had people’s signatures intentionally carved into them.

When we arrived for the tour we were carded and handed four chips, good for sampling any four of their beers in 4-ounce tasting glasses. The beers available to try were the Daytripper, Midnight Ryder, Shenanigans Summer, Sweet Yamma Jamma, and the Fresh Hop. My favorites were the Sweet Yamma Jamma, a seasonal fall ale made with sweet potatoes, and the Fresh Hop Pale Ale which is a specialty beer. The Sweet Yamma Jamma had a beautiful amber color and had just a touch of earthy sweetness to it. The Fresh Hop had a golden color and was a little bit citrusy, a little bit bitter. My least favorite beer was the Midnight Ryder— it was extremely bitter and had an aftertaste of black coffee. It was not my cup of tea (or beer).

The tour was led by Nathan Berndt, one of the co-founders of the company. He was very candid and gave us a thorough understanding of their origins, the people that work there, and how their beer is made. We got to see their office, giant walk-in cooler, packaging floor, and vat room. A couple employees were working as we wandered through and were happy to answer questions. The tour ended back in the taproom, which is open to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Our next stop was Flat Earth Brewing Company, located here in St. Paul. Flat Earth’s location is in a more residential part of the city. Their brewery is much smaller than Indeed’s— the entire operation is located in one room, which is basically a two-story garage. Their tasting room features carpet, folding chairs, couches and pitchers of lukewarm beer. The first kind we sampled was the Bell Tower, named after a local school. Flat Earth specializes in hoppy beer, and this variety was no exception. We were given plastics cups, and the free samples were unlimited. The tour was led by the head brewer, and was very short and informal. He led us downstairs, pointed out where the various parts of the beer brewing process take place, and that was the extent of the tour. I was left wondering some basic questions, such as the origins of their logo and who the owners were. The whole set-up felt very temporary, and as it turns out, Flat Earth is planning on moving to a new location in January. After the tour we were allowed to try unlimited samples of the Belgian-Style Pale Ale and the Element 115 Lager. Both beers tasted good to me. The Element 115 was a little malty, while the Belgian Style was very smooth. I enjoyed all three beers I sampled at Flat Earth, and while they had fewer choices, there were unlimited refills.

Next time you find yourself reaching for the same old PBR, go check out a local microbrewery instead. Indeed and Flat Earth are two of many in the Twin Cities area. Both tours and beer samples were free, and a great way to spend a Fall Saturday afternoon. Indeed offered an educational tour, interesting location, and nice tap room. Indeed also has some more unique offerings, such as the sweet potato ale. Flat Earth did not have as much to offer as far as charm, but the beer samples are tasty and unlimited. Go forth and drink some microbrews!

Special thanks to Charlie Argyrou for going on the tours with me.

September 27, 2013

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