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There Are 214 Craft Breweries in MN. Kyra Crepin Is on a Quest to Visit Them All.

Only 55 (or so) to go!

Instagram: @kyraandbeer

Some people are video game completionists. They try to finish every single challenge, and every last side quest, earning all of the achievements and filling in the entirety of the map. 

Kyra Crepin is like that, but with craft beer. Joined by her partner and by Lillie, a half-husky, half-corgi rescue, the longtime beer enthusiast is on a mission to visit every single craft brewery in Minnesota. 

“Each brewery’s a little different,” Crepin says. “The brewer’s recipes are a little different, so being able to go out to different places and try their product is just super interesting and cool.” 

This particular quest started because she’s a member of the Minnesota Craft Beer Lovers Facebook group, where she saw another beer enjoyer post about visiting every single craft brewery in the state. She isn’t the first person to undertake this hoppy journey: Wisconsin’s Joel Geier has visited 1,224 breweries in 47 states, including every brewery in Minnesota, and between 2017 and 2019, Jesse and Rachael Alger visited every Minnesota brewery.

The mission was simple enough. Crepin started listing the breweries she’d been to already—and there were a lot of them. So she made another list of those she’d have to visit. Then, she started checking ‘em off. She’s been to 164 breweries to date after swinging by the grand opening of Trove Brewing in Burnsville just this weekend, and she documents them all on her Instagram account, @kyraandbeer

“It’s definitely some work,” she chuckles, adding that she tries to line up her brewery visits when she has another reason to travel to the area. As a transplant who moved to Minnesota from upstate New York at age 12, she says it’s also a fun way to explore the state. 

“There’s places in this state that I’d never even heard of, never been to… I think as transplants, we didn’t get out and explore as much as we should have or could have,” Crepin says. “I’m going to places in southeast Minnesota and northern Minnesota that I’ve never been to, and that’s probably my favorite part of this whole thing.”

The number of breweries statewide fluctuates, of course, but the current tally listed by the MN Craft Beer app, which Crepin uses to track her journey, is 214. That gives her about 55 to visit yet—taking into account the breweries she’s visited that have since closed, or those that aren’t yet open. She estimates that she’ll have been to between 220 and 230 Minnesota breweries by the time her project wraps up. 

Crepin and her partner will check off one far-flung brewery soon. They’re heading to Grand Forks for a hockey game, and that’s when they’ll visit the northernmost brewery in the state: Revelation Ale Works in Hallock. On any drive outside the Twin Cities, Crepin pulls up Google Maps, where she’s dropped a pin for every yet-to-be-visited brewery left on her quest. (Yes, she’s a Virgo.) 

Crepin’s self-imposed limit is three breweries per day, and typically, she’ll order a flight, which lets her try a wide variety and in small amounts—especially of any high-ABV beer. She isn’t super strict about taking meticulous notes or making a definitive ranking, but she does have her preferences. 

“The number one thing for me is I always like to sit at the bar,” she explains. “That way I can talk to the bartender, talk to regulars, ask about, ‘What’s your favorite? What are you known for?’ And I always make sure I get at least one of the bartender’s recommendations, because they know their brewery the best.”

Again, Crepin thinks everyone should go try these places out for themselves, if only to learn a little more about yourself and the styles you like. Before the craft brewery quest, she would have been the first to tell you that she was an IPA girl through and through. But visiting breweries with different specialties—browns, porters, hefes—has helped expand her beer tastes, too. 

“There’s so many great breweries—we’re so lucky in Minnesota,” she says. “It’s a subculture that not a lot of states have. And you can find something for everybody for sure. That’s easily the best part.”

Because we know you want to know, here are some of the best and not-best breweries of the 164 Crepin has visited to date. 

Kyra’s top three: 

  • Voyageur Brewing, Grand Marais: “The beer is great, obviously, but also the location of it, and the vibes of it… Grand Marais is my favorite place in the whole world, I could not not include the brewery from there.”
  • Sleepy Eye Brewing, Sleepy Eye: “It’s a renovated old movie theater, and they lean in heavy to the theme. All their flights come in film canisters—it’s one of the most beautiful breweries that we’ve ever been to, and the beer is absolutely amazing.”
  • Barrel Theory Beer Company, St. Paul: “My boyfriend and I had our second date there. The beer is amazing; it’s about 10 minutes from our shared home. It’s more sentimental than anything else, but we go there the most, because they also have amazing beer.”

Kyra’s biggest three, um… misses:
(“I think everybody should go and try it on their own,” she clarifies, even if they were decidedly not for her.)

  • Reads Landing Brewing Company, Reads Landing: “Just not my beer style, at all. Not for me.”
  • Kinney Creek Brewery, Rochester: “I think maybe there was something wrong with their equipment that day? It just tasted like it had turned. I’d like to go back and give it a try again.”
  • Under Pressure Brewing: “It’s just a theme I don’t love, it’s kind of a goth, metal theme that I just… did not enjoy! It was very dark, and the beer was just fine.”

And two unique standouts:

  • Bang Brewing, St. Paul: “It’s kind of a well-known hidden gem, I would call it. And it is the coolest venue. I love going there to have a beer, and whenever we go there’s, like, nobody there, so we can talk to the bartender the whole time.”
  • BeerClub Brewing, Mora: “It’s in an old auto [shop], and it's owned by these guys who were in a beer club, they were buying beer to share, and they were like, ‘Well, do you want to open up our own brewery?’ And they did, and they are so cool and so nice… and the beer was also absolutely amazing.”

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