AxeBridge Winery is the newest addition to North Loop Minneapolis’ craft beverage scene • Photo by Brian Kaufenberg
The North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis has been one of the fastest-growing and most exciting culinary hotspots in the Twin Cities. Starting with the opening of Target Field in 2010, the neighborhood has seen an incredible amount of development with new restaurants and apartment complexes. But the area has also quietly become a powerhouse for craft beverages, adding five breweries, one cidery, and one winery—all of which has shaped it into one of Minnesota’s must-visit craft beverage destinations.
AxeBridge Wine Company
The latest craft beverage maker to join the North Loop community is AxeBridge Wine Company, located on the bustling Washington Avenue North. The winery will primarily focus on reds to match the vibes of the neighborhood but offer a wide array of rosés and whites as well.
Aaron Schram, who opened the winery with his wife Ashley and owns and operates Schram Vineyards in Waconia and Schram Haus Brewery in Chaska
, is developing a system to serve draft wine fresh from the barrel. The urban winery features a large tasting room, a garden-level space that features a large bar and casual lounge seating, and a bottle conditioning room called the Champagne Room where 30 bottles of still wine are turned into sparkling wine at a time. AxeBridge is a welcome addition to a neighborhood that has become one of the epicenters of the Twin Cities food and drink scene.
Fulton Beer is synonymous with the North Loop craft brewing scene, and continues to grow and develop in really interesting ways. The names Lonely Blonde and Sweet Child of Vine should immediately bring back memories of beers gone by for Twin Cities beer lovers, but Fulton has been expanding its reach into various beverage worlds. The Fulton Hard Seltzer line, ranging from berry to hops flavors, has been extremely popular since their release, and it seems as though the craft beer stalwart is just getting started.
The brewery’s downtown taproom was recently renovated with an in-house kitchen and more seating. The brewing system has been downsized into a compact pilot brewery, which will allow Fulton’s brewers to brew a wide range of new beers exclusive to the taproom.
Modist Brewing Company
Now more than ever, folks want to support and drink at places that they can stand behind, and Modist Brewing Company has long been one of those places. While their beer has always been top-notch, Modist has taken a direct approach in its stance on anti-racism and racial equity. In February, the brewery collaborated with the Brewing Change Collective, a nonprofit organization that is fighting for equity and inclusion in the craft beer industry for people of color. This collaboration spawned Breathing: Conversations New England IPA, a deliciously bright IPA collab that perfectly encapsulates how beer can fight for change.
Located just down the street from Target Field, Inbound BrewCo is known for live music and adventurous beer styles. One of the many must-tries on tap is Contains Bees, a peanut butter honey blonde that has exceptional depth and flavor. Made from fresh peanut butter and honey from bees housed at Minnesota’s own Fieldstone Apiaries, the refreshing blonde ale is a true testament to the power and versatility that fresh, local ingredients can bring to a Twin Cities brew.
The Freehouse is a true one-stop shop for food and drink in the North Loop. The brewpub’s menu boasts a diverse array of delicacies, from the Midwest staples like pierogies and walleye dinner to a chimichurri spiced short rib. The Freehouse beers are no slouches either. The award-winning Brown Ale is a delight, while the cold press stout features fresh coffee from Duluth’s City Girl Coffee. The wide-ranging food and drink menus at Freehouse are a must-try for anyone visiting the Warehouse District.
StormKing Brewpub & Barbecue
A new brewpub opening soon to the old ONE Fermentary space, StormKing Brewpub & Barbecue will combine the much-lauded barbecue of the previous StormKing on Nicollet with the beer from Rapids Brewing Company in Northern Minnesota. While the mouth-watering brisket will still be there, the beer brewed on-site will be the true star of the show. The counter-service brewpub will feature indoor and patio seating, as well as a full list of draft wines and cocktails being slung behind the bar.
Number 12 Cider
Since opening its doors in 2018, Number 12 Cider has been running the cider game in the North Loop. With over 10 ciders on tap ranging from sweet to dry and everything in between, there are a plethora of options of the often misunderstood beverage. A particular favorite is the Barrel 44, a high ABV little number made from Minnesota apples and aged in decades-old bourbon barrels. Other special offerings include the cidery’s Legacy 2020, the first in a series of limited releases, and Noleau, a riff on the French fortified cider style of pommeau. And there is no better pairing for crisp ciders like wood-fired pizza, courtesy of Little Tomato. The brick oven, located off of the Number 12 patio, is flinging pies all week long, making for a must-visit in the North Loop.