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A quick and easy beer crawl for Minneapolis bike commuters

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Attention all downtown Minneapolis bike commuters: First of all, hats off to you. You’re doing your part to be environmentally friendly and squeezing in physical exercise at the same time. It’s more than most of us do, well, ever. So it's time to reward yourself with a beer or three on your way out of town.

Since the dawn of taprooms, breweries have been fun weekend destinations. Now, let the drops of sudsy happiness trickle their way into the workweek. The following three locations are all open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. (plus each individual brewery’s additional hours).

This is going to be a good week.

It’s 5 o’clock on Wednesday. You need a beer. Or a cocktail. Hell, possibly even dinner. Lucky for you, the first stop offers all three. The Freehouse (701 N Washington Ave.) is the perfect place to start for something that suits all tastes. It could be their flexibility in hours, their great taste in music (what could be better than sipping on a No. 2 IPA with Deerhunter’s “Hazel St” melting your workday stresses away?), or the option of ordering dinner while you sample a wide range of local brews, including Freehouse’s list of “guest beers" — whatever it is, this is “Minnesota Nice” at its finest.

An added bonus: Never has there been a calmer reaction to a spilled beer as witnessed at the Freehouse. Staff was on the spot with clean-up duty, never once making their guest feel anything but welcome, stating, “At least it smells really good” before refiling the lost pint at no charge. On your way out the door, don’t forget to pick up a “Squealer” of your favorite tap. It's a miniature version of the growler and the perfect lightweight souvenir to tote home while traveling on two wheels.

Now your belly is full and it is time to move on. Fulton Brewery (414 N 6th Ave.) is so close you won’t even need to mount your bike for this 3-block trek. What could be better than a Lonely Blonde ale or a Ringer pale ale on a hot Minnesota summer evening?

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Grab your brew and head outside to let the sun and heat help melt away those nine-to-five blues. Helpful hint: If you want this stop to be a quickie, be sure to check the Twins' schedule and plan accordingly. The patio and taproom can get mighty full on game days. You may need to flip-flop your itinerary in order to make the most out of your time. 

Buckle your helmet and head up 6th Avenue to Lyndale, which you’ll stay on for just under a mile before taking a right onto Ontario Avenue. The 1.35 mile ride from Fulton is just enough to earn your next taste of freedom at Sisyphus Brewing (712 Ontario Avenue West #100).

A Greek mythology legend, a 13-minute Pink Floyd song, and the best new place to grab a craft beer, Sisyphus is tucked just behind Dunwoody College. This little gem is easily accessible by bike on your way out of downtown.

Split with your pals the best $8 (plus tip) beer flight you can spend your money on, served by down to earth, friendly bartenders — the kind of warm-hearted folk who don’t think twice about searching for their bike pump in the back room for the pot hole you may or may not have run directly over en route. Stocked with several shuffleboard tables and a wide range of vintage board games, this taproom will get you to unload whatever remaining work blues the first two stops couldn’t erase. Don’t forget to grab a growlette on your way out the door — Sisyphus’ mini version of their growler. Bring it back for great deals on refills, or keep it at your desk as a flower vase to remind you of that one time, after work, when you had this really great beer.

End your evening with a relaxing stroll through the sculpture garden just across the street from Sisyphus. Then swing through lovely Loring Park on bike or foot as you make your way to the Greenway. It’s summertime in Minneapolis, you’re on your bike, and you just appreciated some of the finest libations the city has to offer — all on your way home from work. 

Now go enjoy responsibly and remember this season is the reason we suffer through winter.