Sometimes you just want to unwind at a casual venue with your colleagues. Luckily, Minnesota is home to 226 craft breweries, and when you include the brewpubs and non-craft breweries, the number is even higher. To get a head start on your search, here are five of Minnesota Meetings + Events magazine’s favorites.
Forager Brewery | Rochester
Forager is a brewpub known for a wide beer selection, in-house hard seltzers, guest wines and cocktails, and a scratch menu with ingredients sourced from local farms in southeastern Minnesota.
Pick from the library (for up to 16 people) and the pantry (the barrel-aging beer room and gallery, for up to 50 people). Both are private spaces with AV options, but if the weather is nice, opt for the patio. “It is just a cool, funky vibe that is in here,” says Barb Depman, general manager and events coordinator. “And then I think we have good food, and people love Forager beer.”
Fulton Brewing | Minneapolis
Fulton, the city’s first taproom, is in the North Loop. Its charming patio leads to an airy interior featuring the private Garagery (for up to 30 people) and the semiprivate Brew Room (for up to 70). If you have a bigger party, you can rent the entire Taproom.
“Taprooms are designed to be gathering places, and we have seriously hosted all sorts of events from quarterly corporate sales meetings to baby showers, wedding receptions, bingo, comedy nights, birthday parties, celebrations of life—you name it,” says Jill Drum, general manager of the Taproom.
Fulton’s in-house catering includes build-your-own-taco bars and buffet options, and when adding in the brewery’s beer and hard seltzers, everyone will be ready to cheers to a good event. After all, as Drum says, “Fulton is as casual and inviting as your neighbor’s garage where you might take a break from the day and share a story and a pint.”
Lift Bridge Brewing Co. | Stillwater
Stillwater is a favorite spot for locals, and out-of-towners will enjoy it just as much—even more when they are sipping Lift Bridge’s beer, hard seltzers, and craft sodas. Rent out the whole brewery or opt for the private production area for 20 to 200 people. The space can be transformed with just a few decorations, but its industrial feel and picture window make for a unique backdrop.
Lift Bridge can work with any caterer, and food trucks visit regularly. Brad Glynn, co-owner and vice president of marketing, adds, “We have done some private [brewery] tour-type situations as well, with some food pairings that we work with the local deli on.”
And despite its proximity to Stillwater’s quaint downtown, there is a ton of free parking—perfect for bringing people together.
Saint Paul Brewing | St. Paul
Saint Paul Brewing is nestled in the historic Hamm Building minutes from downtown St. Paul—and it is full of nooks and crannies that turn into semiprivate meeting spaces. This flexibility allows for parties between 15 and 180, but when thinking ahead to the summer, look at its (rentable) 7,500-square-foot, dog-friendly patio in the ruins of an 1860s stable.
“It is a nice juxtaposition of historical space with a kind of repurposed, eclectic menagerie of furniture and art with lots of plants,” says Director of Operations Tony Perella. “It is incredibly cozy, and the light- ing is nice and warm.”
In-house catering features wood-fired pizzas, intricate sandwiches and burgers, and charcuterie, as well as craft root beer.
Full rentals have free reign of the audio and visual offerings, and hybrid events are also a go, as Perella already has one livestream event under his belt.
Surly Brewing Co. | Minneapolis
Roughly in between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul, Surly’s destination brewery is perpetually busy with a large beer garden, acclaimed pizzeria, and iconic pours. For parties from 40 to 175, its 2,400-square-foot Scheid Hall is the way to go. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the brewery on one side of the hall—accenting any presentations given by the employees—and the other windows overlook the Twin Cities.
“My mantra is, as far as Surly events go, [we are] a one-stop shop for all event needs,” says Event Manager Katie Kilian. “Not only do we provide a wonderful, amazing, energized space, and elegant, industrial design, our culinary menus also can be customized. We also can provide a lot of decor here, from linens to table runners to choose from.”