An Insider’s Guide to Minneapolis

Fair State Coop

By the 2017 Homebrew Con Local Committee

Getting Around

There are plenty of resources telling you how to get here, so we’ll let you decide how to get your body into Minneapolis. Once you’re here, here’s some advice from people who travel into and out of Minneapolis quite often. To us, the most important thing is not to waste time getting around.

Transportation from MSP Airport to the Convention Center

When you fly into Minneapolis, you’ll either arrive at Terminal 1 (the big one) or Terminal 2 (the less big one). Both have taxi stands, and both have pickup locations for Uber and Lyft. Both terminals are also directly connected to the METRO light rail if you want a more economical way. The Blue Line will take you directly downtown or to the Mall of America. If you get on the train going the wrong way, don’t worry. There are some nice bars in the mall, and you can get your picture taken with Dora…

If you can read the simple METRO map, to get to the convention center or nearby hotels, head towards Minneapolis and get off the Blue Line at one of the downtown stops. If you are heading straight to the convention center, the light rail runs along 5th Street, and Government Plaza is the stop you want. All you need to do after alighting is head southwest on 3rd Avenue and you’ll run right into the Convention Center after a few blocks. It’s the giant brown building with domes on the roof.

If you want to be lazy, you can walk a bit further along 5th St. and take 2nd Ave., which has a ton of buses that will take you right to the convention center (your train ticket includes a transfer for the bus). If you wanted to be even lazier, you would have taken a taxi, Uber, or Lyft from the airport anyway. Be sure to check with your hotel, as some have shuttles, which we’ve always found to be the slowest way to get anywhere.

Homebrew Con 2017 preview

Driving

If you are staying downtown in Minneapolis, you are going to have to pay to park one way or another. Make sure to check you have that taken care of. Most people coming into town don’t realize they have to pay to park even if they stay at a hotel and park in their lot. There is no free parking in Minneapolis. If you plan to park on the street overnight, it will not go well for you—it’s expensive, and there are odd times at various meters. There are plenty of parking lots, but rates are based on 24 hours. See the convention center parking info for more directions.

Seriously, its super damn spendy to park in Minneapolis proper any time of day or night. Your best bet is to just park at your hotel and find your way without the car. It’s pretty simple. If you’re the type who tries to save a buck by parking after 10 p.m. and moving the car before 6 a.m., consider yourself warned.

Mass Transit

Even though we are a major city, we are still pretty small. We do have a good mass transit system, Metro Transit, and you can find your way around Minneapolis pretty easily. Google Maps is pretty accurate about correct times for light rail and buses. You can also download the Metro Transit app to make your life easier. If you are here for a while, get yourself the multi-day pass: METRO cops are on patrol all the time, and they take zero excuses for not having a ticket.Private Transportation

Private Transportation

Uber and Lyft pretty much dominate private driving in the cities. Taxi drivers never answer their phones, rarely show up on time, and usually cost more money. If you can flag one down, it’s usually about the same price, but good luck finding one in the evening if you didn’t ring. There are tons of Uber and Lyft drivers around most times of day and night. Sometimes you’ll pay more, but when enough are out, you’ll spend about $6 to go across town in a normal car..

Bike

We in Minneapolis are really bike friendly. Rather, we say we are bike friendly, which means we are building tons of bike paths and bike lanes. The problem is that most drivers, like in other parts of the country, don’t see cyclists and drive like A-holes. That said, we’ve got a right proper bike rental service called Nice Ride. For surprisingly little cashola, you can rent a nice little bike and tool around the city. The bikes are pretty much bulletproof and will fit just about anyone. If biking is your thing, you can ride from one station on the west side of the Mississippi to one on the east side and tell your friends you biked across the river. In the meantime, you took so long to meet us at the bar that we drank your whiskey and now you owe us $10. We’re not sorry.

Foot

Here’s what people really want to know: is Minneapolis safe to walk around in? That really depends on how much whiskey you’ve had, as we can’t be held responsible for your falling in the river or walking into traffic.Seriously, though, we all walk the vast majority of the area. All the areas you’ll be walking in downtown are absolutely safe. From I-94, which butts up to the back of the convention center, all the way through downtown, across the Hennepin Avenue Bridge into the Northeast neighborhood, you’ll be completely fine. There are tons of people day and night, so don’t worry.

Seriously, though, we all walk the vast majority of the area. All the areas you’ll be walking in downtown are absolutely safe. From I-94, which butts up to the back of the convention center, all the way through downtown, across the Hennepin Avenue Bridge into the Northeast neighborhood, you’ll be completely fine. There are tons of people day and night, so don’t worry.The only area we’d avoid walking in is south of I-94 at night. It can get a bit dodgy on certain streets, so calling for a ride is your best bet, no matter the size of the group. Minneapolis is a big city, so just walk in groups, don’t be jerks, be smart, and have fun. And remember that a dark secluded alley is best avoided—it’s not a shortcut, no matter what city you are in.

The only area we’d avoid walking in is south of I-94 at night. It can get a bit dodgy on certain streets, so calling for a ride is your best bet, no matter the size of the group. Minneapolis is a big city, so just walk in groups, don’t be jerks, be smart, and have fun. And remember that a dark secluded alley is best avoided—it’s not a shortcut, no matter what city you are in.Maps of Our Recommendations

Maps of Our Recommendations

OK, gang, we’ve made a few maps for things to do near the convention center: a few self-guided beer and bar-hopping tours, loads of food joints, places to see, and thangs to do. Caveat emptor, YMMV, and so on and so on. These are just for reference, but we do hope you enjoy.

Blue Line Self-Guided Beer Tour

This is the line the vast majority of people see first when they fly into Minneapolis. The blue line is the north/south-ish line that runs from downtown to the airports and ends at the giant Mall of America. There are loads of cool things on it, and it’s a lot more “parky” than the Green Line. Here are our reccomendations for exploring the Blue Line.

Green Line Self-Guided Beer Tour

The newest of the light rail lines in Minneapolis, the Green Line connects big brother Minneapolis with his quieter, smarter, handsomer little brother Saint Paul. Loads of breweries are on this line, as well as some really cool restaurants. One could spend a week just going around on this one alone. Here are our reccomendations for exploring Green Line.

Restaurants, Libations, Etc.

This list is a giant compendium of all the cool places to eat and drink that we think you should absolutely consider going to. Some aren’t the easiest to get too, and some require a car or getting an Uber or Lyft. Either way, loads of cool stuff. Also, some of the restaurants on this list may already be booked through the fall, in which case sitting at the bar is always a great option.

Organizers’ Top 10s

Just as it reads, a few of us made lists of must-see things when you come to Minneapolis in early June for Homebrew Con. There are a few things to see and do, but mostly its beer, booze, and eats.

Pre-Con Activities

Hop-On, Hop-off Tour of the Nord’east

Wednesday, June 14th, 3 PM–10 PM, $1 each time you board

Just as it sounds. Hop on and hop off to tour of one of the coolest brewing areas in Minneapolis. The trolley will pick up at the Convention Center on the hour and make a circular trip going ʼround and ʼround to all the different stops.

The trolley will make stops at the following destinations.

Bauhaus Brew Labs

One of the absolute coolest taprooms you’ll ever visit. Tons of things for people of all ages—communal seating, nerd games, classic arcade games . . . We could go on and on about all the cool stuff these guys do, but do yourself a favor and search YouTube for them and look at all the videos they made. Bauhaus really has a solid lineup of great beers all around, but we always lean towards the Wonder Stuff Pils. 612 Brew is just right around the corner, offering another Minneapolis brewery-taproom with beer made within touching distance! Sometimes there is no nation like caffeination, and Spyhouse Coffee is just on the end of the 612 building to get your mind right for more brewskis!! For the more adventurous folk, you’ll find Tattersall Distilling just north of Bauhaus, about a 10 minute walk. If it looks like you are heading behind a bunch of warehouses down a rutted road, you’re in the right place. Most things they do are good, but Tattersall’s Amaro and Fernet are a must! Social Cider Werks is kind of a beast to get to from near here because there are tons of fences, and it’s a long walk around. We can’t suggest how to get over there easily, but it can be done. Do your homework.

Fair State Brewing COOP

Fair State Coop

Photo © Fair State Brewing Coop

One of the only co-op breweries in the nation, with a wonderful assortment of German lagers and loads of fun sour beers. Fair State is located near amazing restaurants El Taco Riendo, Holy Land, and Sen Yai Sen Lek Thai, where you can grab takeout for the brewery, and Aki’s Breadhaus bakery is directly next door with giant soft German pretzels! There seriously is little better in life than a Fair State Pils and an Aki’s pretzel. Getting yourself one of each will help you make better choices in life and be happier. Betty Danger’s Country Club: Betty Danger’s has Tex-Mex, mini golf, a great beer lineup, a fantastic cocktail menu, and even a Ferris wheel with one of the best views of Minneapolis around. AND you can take your drink on! The entire range of margaritas is just crazy, but the one that you must have, no matter what, is the Dartmouth. Just across the street is the quintessential dive bar Tony Jaros’ River Garden, which sits on the Mississippi River and serves the world famous Greenie, which you should have without reserve and without hesitation.

Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge

Psycho Suzi’s is huge tiki bar located on the Mississippi River and has an amazing selection of house-made tiki drinks in three different bars: cool food, good pizza, and an all-around good taste of Minnesota. Sit out on the patio, relax with a Shrunken Head, and just watch the people.

Able Seedhouse + Brewery

A combination malt house and brewery, Able Seedhouse is a newer kid on the block with a wonderful open space, loads of things to do, and fantastic beer. We really like the 4.2% ABV Propers Pub Ale. Just down the road you’ll find Indeed Brewing Company, a much larger brewery with a ton of great choices on tap. The Wooden Soul program, Indeed’s take on funky and sour beers, is always cracking.