People sure do have an awful lot of capital-o Opinions about craft beer, which is probably why the Brewers Association leaves its annual Great American Beer Bars ranking up to the folks who read their corresponding website, craftbeer.com.
The site, which is "for brewers and by brewers, with the mission to tell the stories behind America’s small and independent breweries and the cities and businesses that support them," recently announced the 2018 best beer bar title-holders in each state, as chosen by roughly 7,000 average-Joe voters around the country.
So, who did Minnesotans elect the finest in the land of 10,000 lakes? A destination brewery like Surly, perhaps? An upstart like Bauhaus, with its just-revamped taproom and table service? Or was it not a brewery at all but an honest-to-god bar, an old-fashioned watering hole like George & the Dragon?
It was... none of the above! You'd actually have to head about 75 miles outside the Twin Cities to find the winner, because it's a Mankato brewery -- well, not just a Mankato brewery, the Mankato Brewery -- that took home the title of Minnesota's best.
With 17 bottles and cans and 12 beers on tap, Mankato is "focused on creating authentic beers that reflect the heritage of the region and its people," according to Craft Beer Dot Com. They became the city's first production brewery since 1967 when they started brewing six years ago.
Now, savvy readers (or those who click, like, two additional hyperlinks) will note that the outstate brewery also took home the top spot last year. Not that we're statistics experts by any means, but it seems like maybe they're just very adept at rallying regulars to fill out the Brewers Association's survey.
Still, the taproom does look pretty fun. Peep this pic on their Facebook from a recent Dead Man Winter show:
If you're not one of the voters who helped Mankato get the W and are thinking, "I'll be the judge of that," you can find 'em at 1119 Center St., North Mankato (just off of Highway 169). Taproom hours are Monday to Friday, 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.