Just when we thought the smoke had cleared from a week of Twin Cities bars blowing up on the national scene, another one goes and finds its way onto another selective list. This time, Northbound Smokehouse in south Minneapolis has landed on USA Today's list of the 20 best brewpubs in the U.S.
See also:Pat's Tap and Pig & Fiddle make Food & Wine's list of best gastropubs
USA Today's list was put together by Joe Tucker of RateBeer.com and comes at the end of an article called "Brewpubs offer great beer, good food and local flavor." The article examines the booming brewpub craze, particularly among business travelers. According to the post, "there were 2,483 craft breweries in the USA last summer -- the largest number since 1876, when there were 2,685."
Northbound Smokehouse opened its doors in 2012 after seeking out investors online via a successful Kickstarter campaign. In 2013, Northbound managed to take home the City Pages Best Brewpub award.
Northbound Smokehouse may not carry a vast array of beers, but the ones it does serve tend to be fan favorites. According to Northbound manager, Amy Johnson, "We have about six house house beers and six guest beers on tap at any given time. Sometimes it may go 5/7 or 7/5 depending on the seasonal we have available. We are committed to only having Minnesota beers as guest taps, to help further promote the Minnesota craft beer industry. This also gives us the opportunity to turn our customers on to other great Minnesota breweries."
Johnson explains that what sets Northbound apart from other Twin Cities brewpubs is the fact that "we have a scratch kitchen and a smoke-centric menu. We make virtually everything in house from our sauces to our sauerkraut. We try to pull smoke into everything on our menu. We smoke our own meats, including our chicken wings, fish, cheese, and even eggs for our egg salad sandwich. People love the innovative ideas we are bringing to our menus."
When asked about her thoughts on how the Kickstarter campaign has affected the business, Johnson says, "our investors are great regulars. They tell their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers about us. They are our biggest advocates. Also, in general, the neighborhood was really glad that we involved them and invited them to be investors in our company, even if they didn't personally invest."