News & Updates

Let’s Talk About Recent Beer History…

We’ve never claimed to be all-knowing with regards to beer in Minnesota. In fact, rumor has it that we’ve even made a mistake or two on occasion. In any case, now that MNBeer is well over a year old, we thought it would be fun to look back into some of our resources and ask you, dear readers, to tell us a little more about a number of breweries/brewpubs that are listed on some of the infrequently-updated beer resource websites. Ideally it would be nice to do this in our new, lonely forum, but even the comment area would work. So… tell us what you know or remember about these places:

Ambleside Brewing Company, Kasota Avenue, SE Minneapolis

Black River Brewery & Pub, Elk River

Black Moon Brewing, St. Paul

Black Widow Brewing, St. Paul

Boundary Waters Brewing, Isabella (planned?)

Bowery Pub and Brewery, Minneapolis (w/ Herkimer’s address…)

Brew Station Brewery, Shakopee

Chang O’Hara’s, St. Paul (listed as a brewpub on some sites)

Clubhaus Brewpub, Rochester

Dave’s Brewfarm

District Warehouse Brewing, Minneapolis

Glacial Lakes Brewing Co., New York Mills/Perham

Harwell’s Steakhouse and Brewery, Shakopee

Northern Plains Brewing Co., St. Paul

Patrick McGoverns (listed as a brewpub?)

Shannon Kelley’s Brewpub, St. Paul

Trader & Trapper, Moorhead

Wolf’s Brewery, Stillwater

And the list goes on. It seems as if there are always a couple of breweries listed in Great Lakes Brewing News that are nothing more than a concept and/or a business plan. And of course let’s not forget some more recent losses such as Union Station, Bandana, Watertower, Hops and Sherlock’s, among others.

Shed some light on these places friends. It’s Friday, you’re working… or hardly working… here’s a new distraction for you…


  1. ryan says:

    And just to get you started… when I was attempting to go to school at Moorhead State University in Moorhead, my 21+ year old friends used to go to the Trader + Trapper for beer specials including 50 cent taps and some sort of mid-week all-you-can-drink special for $5.00. I, unfortunately, was underage in 1995.

    I’ve heard that this place is currently a sports bar…

  2. chad says:

    I can recall visiting The District and Shannon Kelley’s. Neither made great beer and Kelley’s was a bit of a dump.

    I also drank some Glacial Lakes and Ambelside. The Glacial Lakes pale ale wasn’t particular memorable, but Ambelside brewed a decent wheat beer.

  3. chad says:

    And I now remember biking from Hopkins to the Brew Station in Shakopee. The beer was decent and the food was good. It was a long ride back.

  4. David Berg says:

    Ok, here goes nothing:

    Ambeside-Micro opened by David Johnson in 1996 (I actually went to brewing school with him). Two products, Pale Ale and a Wit. Dave Anderson brewed there also

    Black River-Never existed a brick and mortar brewery

    Black Moon- ditto

    Black Widow- ditto

    Bowery-Original “planned” name for what is the Herkimer

    Brew Station – Became Harwell’s Steakhouse.

    Chang – Someone’s confusing it with O’Hara’s in St Cloud

    Clubhaus- Closed in about 99 or so

    Dave’s Brewfarm-Originally planned for Plymouth, didn’t work out. Dave Anderson (see also Ambleside) still is looking, perhaps St Paul?

    District- Closed. Both Blake (Herkimer) and John (Barley John) brewed there. Downtown Mpls

    Glacial Lakes- Micro in New York Mills.

    Harwell’s – see also Brew station

    Patrick McGoverns- Had beer brewed for them by Vine Park before Vine Park became a brew pub (back then, the BOP had a micro license)

    Shannon Kelley – Closed because of Lawson Commons construction. Blake brewed there

    T & T- Dick Nilles from Fargo brewed there.

    Wolf’s-Tiny brewery in Stillwater. I believe Mike Hoops ended up with some of their equipment, and I also think Theur has some of it also. It was a 1 or maybe 2 Bbl brewery

    How’s that? Oh yeah, you forgot Taps and Riverplace (which may have been the same place, I forget)

  5. ryan says:

    I’m surprised, at least, that I never ended up having any beer from Glacial Lakes given that I grew up in nearby Fergus Falls. I would have thought that my dad would have grabbed some of their beer for me. New York Mills had that artsy/hippie element that Fergus Falls mostly lacked. Of course given that the liquor store (or two liquor stores, if you will) are both municipal, the selection was pretty poor anyway. When I was still living there (and under 21) Lanny Hoff’s younger brother Brett used to pick up the $7 6-packs of Summit for us. 🙂

    David – does Shell’s still have the big map of old brewery locations across Minnesota in the visitor’s center? That would be something that would be really cool to have as a poster or something…

  6. lee J says:

    the trader and trapper was a sports bar called coaches, though is now an empty building. coaches was a nasty bar where a few moronic 21 year olds overdosed and died during “power hour,” which is ultimately why the establishment closed.
    my knowledge of brew pubs are limited, the toronado in san francisco is brilliant on weeknights (why anyone would want to go to the haight on the weekend, i do not know. in fact, why go to the haight to begin with?) and my local would sell boddingtons for $1.50. the evil rogue bar in the equally perverse north beach neighborhood sells pints for an ungoldy amount of money, and the crowd is comprised of either dopey tourists looking to get ‘shit faced’ or transplants from southern california.
    i know nothing of beer, obviously.

  7. David Berg says:

    Glacial Lakes was kind of hard to find. FF probably didn’t carry it. All Saints was distributing it at one point. I remember talking to the owners back in ’98 or ’99-next thing I know, they were closed.

    Yeah, we still have the map. It’s crazy looking at it and seeing well over 100 breweries in operation. There used to be a place on the web that had all the data, but I’ve lost track of where it is.

  8. Jason says:

    Harwell’s in Shakopee closed 2 or 3 years ago. The head brewer was Jonathan Crist, who was also the previous president of the MHBA. I always enjoyed going there, and the food and beer were both great. I think a bad location is what killed it.

  9. al says:

    I remember trying 6 packs of Ambleside back in ’96/’97, but I don’t recall much about them, beyond liking them…they sponsored an opening night party at Theater de la Jeune Lune while I worked for the theater, briefly…and then they disappeared…Dave A. says it was cash flow problems.

    When I started working at the Blue Nile in late ’98, there was a single Ambleside logoed pint glass among the supplies, and I wish I’d held onto it. Still hoping I turn up a tap handle somewhere…but, odd, I don’t recall seeing it on tap at any other bars back then…

  10. karen nelson says:

    i have a six pack of wheat ale made in 1997 i would like to know what the value of this would be and any info on it

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