Photo by Brian Kaufenberg
This article was underwritten by our partners at Explore Minnesota. Beer Dabbler maintained editorial control of the content.
Newsflash, Folks: Bicycles are fun. This has been true for like 140 years, but this summer Minnesotans are looking to hit the parkways, paths, and trails like never before. Some may even ride their bikes to Twin Cities breweries and distilleries, leaving them to sparkle in the sunshine like portals to paradise.
If you too would like to park your bike outside a metro-area watering hole on a warm and luminous day, consider one of the safe and scenic Bike and Beverage Tours we’ve curated below. Each exciting option offers multiple stops for refreshments, so try not to worry about choosing the right one. Instead, get out there and try ‘em all!
ROUTE 1: Cedar Lake Trail + Midtown Greenway (7.5 miles one way)
After checking over your bike to ensure it’s safe to ride, start your day at Steel Toe Brewing in St. Louis Park. Known for year-round offerings like Size 7 IPA and Provider Ale, its friendly taproom also features seasonal winners such as the poundable Sommer Vice Hefeweizen. When it’s time to scoot, jump on the Cedar Lake Trail and pedal toward Bde Maka Ska, where your path hooks up with the Midtown Greenway.
A 5.5-mile-long former rail corridor, this South Minneapolis bike-and-ped trail points you straight toward Eastlake Craft Brewery. Just one block south of the trail at 10th and Lake, the taproom offers seating indoors and out, plus everything from light lager to a series of home-run sours named for legendary Minnesota Twin Kirby Puckett.
When it’s time for something stronger, head east on the Greenway a few miles until exiting at 27th Avenue, where you’ll bop one block over and one block up before arriving at Lawless Distilling. At this intimate cocktail lounge pouring all manner of mixed drinks, order the Crystal Ball Old-Fashioned, made with spiced ginger and molasses syrup, or feel like a real live grownup with Zoltar Speaks, a Big rum drink boasting notes of pumpkin, lime, and clairvoyance.
From there, coast three blocks to Urban Forage Winery and Cider House. Tuck into a gluten-free cheese pizza if you’re feeling snacky, then wash it down with your choice of wines or ciders flavored with delightful fixings like rhubarb, cherry, pear, or dandelion. You truly can’t go wrong, even if you run the route in reverse.
ROUTE 2: A Taste of the Mississippi River Trail (4 miles one way)
Hugging the Mighty Mississippi through Northeast and the North Loop, this tiny sample-pour portion of the Mississippi River Trail begins at 56 Brewing—home of liquid heartthrobs like Crispy Business Czech Pilsner and a New England IPA appropriately named ‘Ssippi Squeeze. If your social calendar allows, visit on a Thursday for their Wrecktangle Pizza and Beer combo. Consider the calories necessary fuel.
From there, pack up your leftovers and ride along Marshall Avenue—or wind your way down local park paths—to Dangerous Man, a longtime favorite among locals and beer tourists alike. Surrounded by incredible food options like Young Joni and Anchor Fish, Dangerous Man is known for its legendary Chocolate Milk Stout and oft-imitated Peanut Butter Porter. If yellow beers are your jam, the crisp and bready Kölsch will keep you coming back.
Peel outta Northeast and cross the river at 8th Street to make your way to Pryes, home of Miraculum Midwest IPA and Stoppage Time London ESB. While there, put your feet up on the patio and gaze at the river. Pet some dogs. Reapply your sunblock and consider setting up mail forwarding. Do whatever you can to extend this visit because you’ll probably never want to leave.
But, if leave you must, head to the North Loop next for Number 12 Cider—sitting within shouting distance of Target Field. With over a dozen ciders on the menu ranging from dry to sweet, including varieties aged in bourbon barrels, it’s highly probable you’ll be dreaming of Honeycrisps and Jonagolds for weeks. And what could be sweeter than that?
ROUTE 3: Luce Line Regional Trail + Dakota Rail Trail + Lake Minnetonka (20 miles one way)
For riders looking to stretch their legs a bit, this route offers a mix of dedicated trail and roadside shoulders. Starting at Luce Line Brewing with the Hardwood Helles or Sault Line Stout, you’ll find yourself just steps from the Luce Line Trail’s crushed limestone surface. Running west for over 60 miles, the trail takes you directly to Birch’s on the Lake—your next stop.
A Brewhouse-Supperclub mashup, Birch’s offers a namesake blonde ale, Hazy IPAs, and a sour-cider hybrid that sounds like a sip of heaven itself. They also have a splendid wine list and a bar stocked with Tattersall cocktails. Honestly, Birch’s beverage menu has more hits than a TouchTunes jukebox, so choosing your refreshment(s) may take time. Ponder your options over a big plate of walleye, herb-crusted or broiled.
If you can pry yourself away from Birch’s views of Long Lake, jump off the Luce Line and navigate to Back Channel Brewing—located just off the Dakota Rail Trail and on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Whether you sip your suds from their famous glass bowl or you enjoy a Triple IPA in a more traditional tulip glass, visiting Back Channel’s bright and airy taproom is an experience you’ll want to repeat.
With Lake Minnetonka’s purifying waters all around, pedal south and east along Shadywood and Manitou Roads toward Excelsior Brewing. Offering 20 tap lines and a boatload of to-go options for the ride home, choose from favorites like Big Island Blonde, Open Bow Unfiltered Pils, or Sunburn Cherry Wheat. Heck, they have a Hibiscus Guava Hard Seltzer if going against the grain is your thing.
However you dial it up, a fun and flavorful ride awaits. Get out there on your bike to explore and imbibe!