While researching different areas for things to do – we came across this great blog post from our friends at Explore Minnesota. Many travelers might not realize that Minnesota boasts over 34 wineries and 75 breweries. Grab your friends, hop on a motorcoach and sip your way through southern Minnesota. Your tastebuds will thank you for it!
The southwest corner of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is well known for its many scenic lakes and attractions like the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. And in 2016, the Ryder Cup will come to Hazeltine National Golf Course in Chaska. But did you know this area is quickly becoming a hot spot for beer, wine and spirits connoisseurs?
Check out all eight establishments, located between Minnetonka to the east and Waconia to the west, and get a taste of the local libations.
As one of the premier new breweries in Minnesota, Minnetonka-based Lucid Brewing is a great place to start your trek. Be sure to sign up for the Saturday tour on the brewery’s website to get a fascinating look at the brewing process and, of course, some free samples. Lucid is well known for its wonderfully hoppy Foto IPA, as well as the crisp and zesty Silo Belgian Saison.
Located in the historic town center, Excelsior Brewing Company has quickly become a local favorite. The taproom has a wonderfully friendly atmosphere and is a great place to relax with friends after a day out on the lake or strolling on Water Street. Try the full-bodied Bridge Jumper IPA.
Not far away is the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail, which runs from Hopkins to Victoria and also passes near Enki Brewing.
Located in the 100-year-old creamery building in Victoria, Enki’s taproom offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere in the winter and a relaxing patio in the warmer months. Enki has a full range of brews, from the citrusy Tail Feather IPA to the indulgently rich Cacao Porter.
Just two blocks from the shores of Lake Waconia in the heart of the city’s vibrant downtown, you’ll find the latest addition to the southwest metro’s brewery scene. Waconia’s first brewery since 1890 offers a wide variety of taps including its flagships: Amber, Witbier, Kolsch and West Coast IPA, plus a rotating number of seasonal offerings.
Located among the rolling hills near Parley Lake, this winery offers a variety of wines including the ever-popular Frontenac Gris. The winery is right next to the Carver Park Reserve, which has a number of trails through the woods and prairies for hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter.
Schram is the state’s first combination winery and brewery, located on a six-acre vineyard overlooking Reitz Lake, just southeast of Waconia. Enjoy a glass or bottle of wine or mead (honey wine), as well as the continuously rotating selection of beers in the tasting room. You can even try your hand at some bocce ball while you’re there
Situated on the north shore of Lake Waconia, along the popular Dakota Trail, Sovereign Estates features both indoor and outdoor tasting rooms, as well as an elegant bistro. The vineyard is on a south-sloping hill, offering beautiful views of the lake. A popular choice is the award-winning Talon Crest, a dry and fruity La Crescent white.
The Waconia-based distillery is named after Jonathan Carver, one of the first Europeans to explore and chart the area in 1766. Just like their namesake, the folks at J. Carver Distillery are exploring uncharted territory as they are set to become the first legal distillery to operate in the history of Carver County. Initially, they will produce gin and vodka and will eventually offer barrel-aged whiskey, bourbon, brandy and liqueurs.
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