Summer is here and that means many things for us Minnesotans.  America’s favorite pastime has returned to light up Target Field on game nights, patios around the cities are buzzing with dream-filled millennials, and block parties pop up seemingly without warning.  Just as they do in fall, winter, and spring, activities in the summer all pair perfectly with one thing: an ice cold brew!Some beer drinkers are more simple in their suds sipping and prefer a domestic while sitting out by the fire at night.  Every beer drinker, however, can appreciate a nice, foamy pour of something complex and exotic to help wash down their dinner.  That’s why true beer-loving Minnesotans are always on the hunt for an epic, locally brewed beer they can impress their drinking buddies with.  This has created a giant market for microbreweries, where we can tour and have tasting sessions in which we can show off our abilities to appreciate beer.

Unfortunately, most breweries don’t have their own kitchen, and in many of those that do you’re often stuck dining in the atmosphere of a noisy, turn of the century lumber mill that leaves little room for families or single folks who search for peace in a barstool.  Fortunately, I’ve found a couple great places that serve food and brew their own beer which will satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst for fine cold ones.

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If you’re looking to bring the kids out for a celebration after they won their little league game, but you really need a beer after sitting in the sun for 13 innings, look no further than JJ’s Bierstube.  Originally located in Hastings, they’ve expanded to four additional locations since they were founded in 1962.  They offer up German and American food, featured favorites named after the owners’ family members, award winning steaks, hearty brunches, and more.  Another family special of theirs is their house beer, JJ’s Red Ale.  Amber in color and crisp in flavor, this is a must order.  Send your kids over to one of the arcade machines while you remember when you used to be a carefree 20-something with a little less debt and a little more hair.  Bring a same day golf receipt or movie or sporting event ticket and have a buy one/get one beverage for free!

If you are still carefree, regardless of age, and you’re looking for a hip Uptown bar, stop on into Herkimer Pub and Brewery on Lyndale.  A mainstay of the Minneapolis bar scene, Herkimer has much more to offer than just French fries and light beer.  Their main level wrap around bar is perfect for watching the Twins on a flat screen, their sidewalk patio is a great place to play bocce ball, and their rooftop patio is prime for gawking down at street traffic.  Try any one of their four unique beers, and utilize the food pairing guide on their menu to really feel like a beer pro.  For me, their spent grain pretzels and seasonal maibock lager really hit the spot after a heart-pumping ride down the Greenway.

 

By Samantha Koshiol