For residents and visitors of the Twin Cities, it can be hard to see outside the blinders that are the metro’s first place parks, award-winning eateries and breweries, and traveling Broadway shows. But there’s life outside the confines of Minneapolis and St. Paul, specifically in their neighbors to the south, and they’re worthy of your attention.
A suds-seeker can find mugs full of award-winning brews in every nook and cranny throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. But don’t forget about the products from our brewery comrades in southern Minnesota. Though further in distance, you’ll discover small pieces of Minnesota history—right in your glass.
August Schell Brewing Company
Schell’s story begins across the pond in Germany’s Black Forest with the birth of August Schell in 1828. At the age of 20, he bid farewell to his family and ventured to the United States, making his way to New Ulm, Minn. In 1860 he began what is now the oldest brewery in the state, crafting more than 100 German-inspired brews, including award-winning American lagers.
The historic brewery attracts people from all over the U.S. each year during its Oktoberfest celebration under the big top at the brewery, where guests can don their lederhosen, munch on wurst, and fill their steins with Oktoberfest bier. All year long, tours are offered every day of the week, and tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis the day of the tour when the museum opens.
Brau Brothers Brewing Co.
A short car ride to the west will bring you to Marshall, the latest home of Brau Brothers Brewing Co.
After getting their start 20 miles away in tiny Lucan, Minn., in 1998 as a brewpub—a beginning they hold dear by proudly printing “population 220” on their original logo—Brady, Dustin, and Trevor Brau decided to move their operation and plant roots in nearby Marshall.
A handful of their uniquely named brews also serve as tribute to their southwestern heritage. Sheep Head Ale, the Ring Neck Braun Ale (a pheasant), and Bancreagie, meaning “Valley of the White Rock,” a reference to the granite aquifer located underneath the brewery.
The youngest of the three on our list, Mankato Brewery is located in you guessed it, Mankato. Since opening their doors in 2012, the goal of this crew has always been to revive the brewing tradition in the Key City.
Their roster of sudsy concoctions, including names such as Kato Lager, Haymaker IPA, Organ Grinder – Amber Ale and Leaf Raker Nut Brown Ale capture the spirit of the region’s heritage and its people.
The entertainment doesn’t stop at delicious brew, either. The taproom is host to live music most Tuesdays, Yoga on Tap can be found on various Saturdays, and tours are held every Saturday.