HOW TO HAVE A PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION BREWERY CRAWL IN MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL
A self-lead brewery crawl across Minneapolis/St. Paul on public transportation
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Welcome to your DIY guide to your brewery crawl in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities) metro area of Minnesota has so many great breweries! Visiting craft beer breweries while in a new city (or country!) is one of the things I always infuse into travel plans but I also love doing while I’m at home. Sometimes, there’s a general area of that city where many breweries are located which makes it easy to get around and walk to a few to truly drink local wherever you are! (In case you didn’t know, I’m based in the Minneapolis suburbs.)
Don’t let the logistics of planning or getting from place to place stop you. You can always take Uber or Lyft. But, (I cannot stress this enough) always plan for a safe ride back to your hotel or wherever you’re staying at the end of your self lead brewery crawl. Even if you’re a local to the twin cities area, getting a hotel at the end of the night would be a fun staycation! This brewery crawl in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota will have you walking & using public transportation!
Things to Know: Using the Metro Light Rail
This self lead tour will be along the metro transit green line. There are no fare boxes located on the actual trains so be sure to purchase a ticket prior to boarding. There are checks and if you don’t have proof of ticket, you will be subject to a fine. You can purchase a ticket from the automated machines on the rail platforms or use the Metro transit mobile app. One thing to note as well, that military members & veterans are able to ride transit for themselves and one passenger for free upon showing their veteran ID.
The fare is a little more expensive during peak hours. Peak hours are M-F from 6-9 AM and 3-6:30 PM and this does not apply on weekends. Depending on how many breweries you plan to visit and the amount of time you plan to spend at each one, an all day pass might be a good thing to consider as well!
There are 23 different train stops across Minneapolis and St. Paul on the green line light rail. You could plan to start near Target Field in Minneapolis and end where the green line stops near Union Station in downtown St. Paul or vice versa. That’s completely up to you! Or, break down the different stops and only visit a portion of them, again, it’s completely customizable according to what you want to do during your brewery crawl in Minneapolis (and beyond)!
Inspired by the Annual Rails and Ales event
An actual event called Rails & Ales was established in 2014 including similar breweries and instructions of traveling using public transportation between the venues. But, it is more so a mob of people vs. just your crew so if you’re into events like that to meet some craft beer besties definitely check it out! It’s typically only once a year so if that’s not when you’re in Minneapolis/St. Paul you can re-create it yourself (sans event t-shirt and other fun goodies) using my information below to craft your own custom brewery crawl in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Breweries to visit
The breweries included in this list are pretty much impossible to visit all and to try the beer and experience the taprooms in only one day. It would be a good idea to spread out your crawling across 2-3 days or prioritize the breweries you really want to visit the most and have an abbreviated version.
Full brewery list from Minneapolis to St. Paul:
North Loop Minneapolis
- Inbound BrewCo Located in the North Loop of Minneapolis this is a great place to start your crawl! Some of my favorite brews here include the peanut butter honey blonde & their different variants of the sour pastry ale.
- Fulton Also located in the North Loop (within close vicinity of Inbound). Fulton is a very well known OG craft beer spot in Minneapolis. This taproom also has a kitchen in case you’d like to order some food. They also are now offering different flavors of seltzer! Some of their mainstay beers include Lonely Blonde & Sweet Child of Vine. (They also brew some fruit variations of Lonely Blonde: strawberry & grapefruit.)
- Number 12 Cider A newish spot in the North Loop of Minneapolis that caters to cider lovers. Ranging from dry to sweet offerings as well as having flights to try a sample of all dry ciders or all sweet. A great stop for individuals that are gluten sensitive or gluten free!
- Modist This is hands down my favorite brewery in the North Loop of Minneapolis & one of the breweries I highlighted in my best breweries in the Twin Cities.
- The Freehouse This is more of a restaurant/brewpub vs. a traditional taproom. They do, however, brew their own beer! The food is fantastic so this would be a great place to plan to have a bite to eat during all of the fun. They even offer brunch, so starting here at the beginning would be a great plan.
Other Notable places in the North Loop of Minneapolis
Depending on the time of day you’re in the North Loop, if you’re planning to end here or start here during your brewery crawl. Here are a few other suggestions (that aren’t as close to the green line rail) but are still notable in my opinion!
Pryes Brewing is on the edge of the North Loop of Minneapolis. Some of my favorite beers they have are pastry stouts that remind me of some of my favorite International destinations. They have a stroopwafel pastry stout (oh hey Amsterdam!) & a hazelnut macaron pastry stout (Paris anyone?). They have a wide variety of beers from more fruit forward styles to their mainstay IPAs.
First Draft is a self pour beer bar offering many options. They have smaller kegs so the beers on tap are constantly changing. They also offer food as well.
One of my favorite restaurants is in the North Loop of Minneapolis. Bar La Grassa is an upscale italian restaurant so maybe not quite as appropriate after a brewery crawl. But, if you’re staying in the North Loop during your time there definitely make reservations for dinner in advance.
Let’s continue on from the North Loop of Minneapolis to downtown Minneapolis breweries in this brewery crawl.
6. Finnegans is really a multi faceted brewery. They are definitely an OG in the craft beer scene in Minneapolis plus, they have a great space to hang out in.
7. Day Block Brewing also has food. They offer beer, food & even cocktails. Truly, there’s something for everyone! If you like football, this is also close to US Bank Stadium (Go Vikings!).
8. Town Hall Brewery is a brewpub location. So, you can grab a beer and also something to eat. You can even sit outside on the patio!
9. The Lab is such a unique taproom. They are a pilot facility that works with other breweries/brewers to test out certain beer concepts. As you would imagine, the tap list is ever changing.
10. Dual Citizen Brewing Co. Located in St. Paul offering a wide variety of different beers.
11. Urban Growler Brewing Company aside from the Freehouse in the North Loop, I would have to say this is one of the best food spots/breweries on this crawl.
12. Lake Monster they offer a wide variety of mainstay beers and several seasonals. They also have food trucks every day of the week. They publish the specific trucks online so you can plan ahead.
13. Burning Brothers is a completely gluten free facility. All of the ingredients used in their beer! As gluten sensitivities and intolerance are becoming more and more common this is such a unique concept for those that aren’t a huge fan of cider.
14. Blackstack Brewing This brewery is one of the best breweries in the twin cities. Their double and triple IPA’s are the definition of smooth liquid deliciousness. That style of beer isn’t my go to, but I love Blackstack’s! On my last visit there recently they have started offering some beers & seltzers in a slushie form (as well as beer ice cream!). It’s just the luck of the draw when you visit if you’ll be able to try one of those cool treats.
Lowertown- St. Paul
15. Tin Whiskers has a solid line up of mainstay beers alongside their really fun seasonal beers. Dream state, one of their mainstay beers (a cream ale) that they’re most known for always has different tasty variants available. Some examples are Orange dreamsicle inspired, rocketpop (those red white and blue popsicles!) & pink lemonade.
16. Stacked Deck the newest brewery among all of these well established breweries. But, definitely make sure you visit this taproom. I was so impressed with their fruited sour “Astronaut Sauce” series.
17. Barrel Theory is another brewery highlighted in the best twin cities breweries. They absolutely nail every beer they make. Their IPA’s are smooth and well blended, pastry stouts thick and rich and sours so creamy and tart!
*NOTEABLE TIP: Be sure to check the hours of the specific breweries you’re planning on going to. Many breweries change their open hours frequently and some aren’t open certain days of the week. Often Be sure to plan this piece before you set our on your brewery crawl in Minneapolis/ St. Paul. (All links to the breweries are included in the list above for easy planning!)
Breaking it up by doing North Loop, Downtown Minneapolis & St. Paul on three separate days. Or, you can follow my taste of MN brewery crawl route. (Note: not all breweries listed above are within all of the routes.)
North Loop Route
If you want to localize your brewery crawl to one part of Minneapolis without the need for actually using public transportation, North Loop is a great option! Many of the breweries are so close to each other that you can walk between them.
Your North Loop Minneapolis brewery crawl: Have brunch at The Freehouse, then walk about 8 blocks to Inbound BrewCo, walk less than a black to Number 12 Cider, then walk just a block to Fulton, walk about 3 blocks to Modist. If you’re not ready to finish up your Minneapolis brewery crawl at this point, although it’s a little bit of a trek (0.8 miles from Modist) you could walk or grab an Uber/Lyft to Pryes Brewing Company. Pryes, offers food as well so getting a bite to eat might be a good idea as you round out your brewery crawl.
Downtown Minneapolis Route
The most abbreviated of all of the other areas of the twin cities. You could definitely hit up these three spots and it wouldn’t take you all day. However, in my opinion, the Taste of MN, St. Paul or North Loop routes are a lot better.
Your Downtown Minneapolis brewery crawl: If you hop on the Green Line at one of the Target Field stations, ride until the Government Plaza station. From there, you can walk to Finnegans Brew Co. From Finnegans to Day Block Brewing Company, it’s about a 1 mile walk. Walking back from Day Block to US Bank Stadium station and riding to the West Bank station. It’s then a 4 minute walk to Town Hall Brewery.
St. Paul Route
Your St. Paul brewery crawl: Navigate on the green line to the Westgate station and exit there to make your way to The Lab by walking a half mile. From The Lab, walk to Dual Citizen Brewing Company about a half mile. Then head to the Raymond Ave station just a few blocks away. Ride the Green Line to Fairview Ave Station where you’ll exit and walk a few blocks to Burning Brothers Brewing. From Burning Brothers walk to Black Stack Brewing. From Black Stack, walk back to the Fairway Avenue Station to get back on the light rail. Exit at the 10th St. Station and walk 5 minutes to Tin Whiskers. It’s just a short walk to Stacked Deck. Your last brewery is located only a half mile from Stacked Deck and one of the best breweries in The Twin Cities, Barrel Theory.
Taste of MN Route
Your 1 day rail brewery crawl: Have brunch at The Freehouse, then walk about 8 blocks to Inbound BrewCo, walk just a few blocks to Fulton, walk about 3 blocks to Modist, from Modist walk to the Target Field light rail station heading to the Government Plaza Station exiting to walk 4 blocks to Finnegans, Make your way back to the Government Plaza Station rail station heading to St. Paul exiting at the Fairway Avenue Station and walking the two blocks to Black Stack Brewing & walk back to the Fairway Avenue Station to get back on the light rail. Exit at the Downtown St. Paul Central station and walk less than two blocks to Stacked Deck.
How to prepare for your brewery crawl
Tips for having the best brewery crawl experience:
- Have your plan mapped out before you start (use one of my suggested routes above!)
- Bring a backpack or tote bag if you plan on buying any merch/swag or to-go beer at any of your stops. It makes it a lot easier to keep everything together.
- Plan your meals– eat prior or plan where you’re going to eat along the route and stick to the plan!
- Bring some small snacks with you in your backpack/tote (protein bars, fruit snacks, dried nuts or trail mix) OR as some people do for beer fests, create a pretzel necklace. But, since you’ll have a backpack you’re not limited to just things you can string on a necklace during your brewery crawl in Minneapolis and/or St. Paul.
- Pack a water bottle in your backpack or tote- fill it before you head out on your crawl and it will be easy to refill once it’s gone and stay hydrated throughout the day.
More on Twin Cities Breweries
This specific brewery crawl is on the green line of the lightrail. An honorable mention on the blue line (that’s you could also get to from the airport if you have a layover at MSP and want to check out some brews) is Venn Brewing. They have an expansive space & often times also have food trucks on site.
If you don’t have as much time to go to many breweries you can also check out the best breweries in the Twin Cities. I definitely recommend trying at least one of these on the list to have a sample of the best brews that the land of 10K lakes has to offer.
If you liked this, I have other articles focused on travel & craft beer!
The Best Breweries in the Twin Cities
I also highlight my favorite breweries to not miss in my comprehensive guides on Nashville & Asheville!
More on MN Travel in my MN Travel Guide and specific Things to do in the Twin Cities.