Think Global, Drink Local

There are plenty of great beers made in the Twin Cities. But where do you start if you've only ever drank the stuff advertised in stadiums or on TV? With our handy macro-to-local beer translator.

Photo by Eliesa Johnson
There's no shame in having a go-to national brand of beer. We've all been there. But your old routine may be holding you back from trying something with a little local flare (not to mention a little more, you know, flavor). That's why we're here to help. The beer scene is booming in the Twin Cites, which means there's a local brew out there for just about everyone. To find out which one is right for you, we've compiled this handy guide to converting your globo-beer tendencies into local beer nirvana. Bottoms up, you soon-to-be connoisseur!

If you like . . . Sam Adams
Try: Fulton’s Sweet Child ‘o’ Vine
An easy drinker, this copper ale has an earthy-malt foreground. A mellow break from super hop-jacked IPAs and a great food companion.
Or: Indeed’s Day Tripper
Bracing and sheer, but also rich and full, this Indeed brew is like the girl you want to marry, so good at so many things, and full of joy and surprise.

If you like . . . Blue Moon Belgian
Try: Surly’s Cynic
A global effort, Surly uses French malted barley, English oat, Belgian yeast, and Slovenian hops to create this spicy, sweet, fruity yellow beer in a can.
Or: Boom Island’s Brimstone Tripel
This fierce Abbey Tripel packs a wallop of fragrance and flavor saturation. Powerful, graceful, mighty.

If you like . . . Budweiser
Try: Lift Bridge’s Pathway Pilsner
Born of Eastern European dreams and simpler times, this clean pils with noble Saaz hops and Bohemian yeast has a pleasant bite with a dry, spicy finish.
Or: Grain Belt Premium
The dudes at Deadspin named this brew America’s best cheap beer. We concur. It’s a Minnesota legend with a smooth, creamy taste. 

If you like . . . Guinness
Try: Bad Weather Brewing’s Ominous
American, British, and Belgian malts combine in this big, intense parka of a beer, which brings you soul-sustaining nutty, dark richness during the dark months.
Or: Flat Earth’s Cygnus X-1 Porter
Deep, dark, rich, and tart, it’s a porter that’s as pitch-black and rich as any, while maintaining good acidity for a solid finish.

If you like . . . Corona
Try: Excelsior Brewing’s Big Island Blonde
This offering first reads as “easy drinking,” but the more time you spend with it, the more you grow to respect the clarity and balance—the way nothing is out of place and every element is well made.
Or: Badger Hill’s High Road Everyday Ale
Crisp, clear as a bell’s peal at sunrise, elegant, floral, and clean as a whistle, it’s an ideal beer for all time’s life is good.

If you like . . . Killian’s Red
Try: Schell’s Firebrick Red Ale
Malty and rich with caramel and a bit of orange peel in the nose, but clean and crisp too, it’s a magical jack-of-all-trades, the perfect beer for a potluck.
Or: Summit’s Horizon Red Ale
This amber dips a toe into IPA territory, with rare American Horizon hops that deliver a piny slap while staying light and crisp.

See also:
Twin Cities Taproom Guide
What The Pros are Drinking

For more on Minnesota's booming beer scene, check out the October issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, on newsstands now.