By Caitlin Hogan
Craft beers have been fast gaining popularity in the United States over the past decade and the Greater St. Cloud area is fortunate to have several of its own local brew pubs creating these one-of-a-kind ﬂavorful beers and sought-out social hangouts. Craft breweries are inherently innovative with brewers spending months, and sometimes years, to develop their own blend of ﬂavors and ingredients, resulting in a beer distinctively their own. Taprooms act as the showcase for these carefully crafted brews, so the atmosphere is just as unique as the handcrafted beers they feature. “The space pays homage to St. Cloud featuring reclaimed wood and barn tin, St. Cloud brick, and a bar top that was a bowling alley lane in its previous life,” Co-Founder Nick Barth said of St. Cloud’s newest brewery, Beaver Island Brewing Co. in downtown St. Cloud, which opened in February 2015.
A Social Experience
Taprooms are a reﬂection of the founder’s personalities and often display the inspiration behind the establishment. They are a place to discover the history, ﬂavor combinations and story behind the brewery’s ﬁnest creations as well as discover your own craft beer preferences. Barth describes the taproom atmosphere as “a relaxed environment where there are no TVs but great conversation and plenty of board games. We call it a social experiment gone right!” Beaver Island earned the “People’s Choice” at the 2015 St. Cloud Craft Beer Tour. The bartenders in these establishments have a passion for high-quality and ﬂavorful beers and are an integral part of the social atmosphere of the taproom with their knowledge and willingness to share each beer’s story. Often times patrons meet and even sometimes served by the person who brewed the beer they’re drinking. Third Street Brewhouse, located just outside of St. Cloud in Cold Spring, is known for creating the area’s ﬁrst local craft beer in 2012 and opened a taproom in 2013. “The atmosphere is intimate, chill and relaxed,” said Krista Amundson, Third Street’s public relations and marketing coordinator of Third Street Brewhouse. “While sitting at one of the tables in the taproom, you’re able to view the brewing tanks where we brew all of our beer. On Friday evenings in the summer, you can sit on the patio and listen to live music.” Third Street has added several seasonal beers to the year-round lineup and its beers can now be found in more than 350 bars.
Beer to Go, Too
In addition to the standard pint of beer, ﬂights with 5-ounce samples of four diﬀerent beers to enjoy on site and 64-ounce containers called growlers to transport beer oﬀ-site. “The taproom oﬀers ﬂights, pints of our beer, BIBCo Merchandise, and growlers,” Barth said. “Growlers allow our guests to enjoy their favorite BIBCo beer at home or on the lake.” Although taprooms typically do not oﬀer food, they frequently welcome patrons to order in from local establishments and food trucks can often be found on-site. Opening this coming fall is Bad Habit Brewing, the ﬁrst brewery to open in St. Joseph in over 100 years. This taproom will feature the brewery’s handcrafted beer as well as homemade soda. These local treasures are among 50 craft breweries of their kind in Minnesota. Tours are often available upon request or by appointment.