Here they are, the winners of our first annual Best Of Poll!
Best: Surly Furious
Runners up: Summit EPA, Grainbelt Nordeast
A Surly original, Furious is a citrusy, piney IPA that’s become a Minnesota staple. Whether it’s enjoyed at a sporting event or out by the lake, the bold flavors of Furious pair well with whatever you’re doing. There wasn’t a big voting gap between Furious and two other Minnesota classics: Summit EPA and Grainbelt Nordeast. Summit’s EPA is the well-balanced, sessionable OG of Minnesota craft beer, and Grainbelt even has a giant sign in Minneapolis, so it’s safe to say the amber lager is a pretty big deal.
The official brewery of Minnesota United ran away with this one and with good reason. With a raucous pre-game party and the new North is Rising beer, Surly has a lot to offer Minnesota United fans. While Furious remains their flagship beer, Surly’s best IPA remains Todd the Axe Man, a booze-filled, juicy hop-bomb that goes down all to smooth. Add in speciality releases like Darkness and Pentagram and it’s easy to see why people love to get a little surly.
The Twin Cities are not known for fried chicken, but Revival doesn’t make food that plays to what Minnesotans know best. Minnesotan Chef Thomas Boemer grew up in the south and lived there long enough to bring back authentic southern fried cooking. Though fried chicken is the flagship entree, the shrimp and grits and chicken fried steak give Revival’s specialty a run for its money. Since opening up its south Minneapolis location in 2015, Revival has opened up a Saint Paul location and even has a stand in the new US Bank Stadium.
Northeast Minneapolis may be best known now for its new, hip breweries, but for decades it has been home to some of the Twin Cities best no-frills bars. Grumpy’s Northeast is not a dive, but it is a perfect bar for those who love character. As one reader, Nick Vorpahl, tells us: “I love Grumpy’s NE because it looks and feels like a dive, but I don’t have to worry about catching anything if I touch the wrong surface. It’s only a few blocks from my house which is great, and they have a fantastic beer selection at fair prices. Usually busy but never feels too crowded. I’ve also seen Har Mar Superstar and members of Hippo Campus there, so it makes me feel cool. I usually go there about once a week.
The tap list rivals any beer bar in the metro on quality alone and Grumpy’s punches above it’s weight on quantity of handles as well.
Another reader, Josh Thompson, writes: “For me Grumpy’s NE is all about the beer and the atmosphere. The tap list rivals any beer bar in the metro on quality alone and Grumpy’s punches above it’s weight on quantity of handles as well. As far as the atmosphere Grumpy’s the perfect bar for pre-drinks, the main event, or last call. It’s also the perfect place to avoid the sun on a hot summer afternoon. Low-lit, vinyl seating, minimal TVs, awesome people and the Hamm’s Bear. What more could you want?”
Elliot Park’s turf surface is tucked in a busy part of South Minneapolis. Sometimes its difficult to find out when the park is booked by youth teams practicing, but it is always bustling with activity. South Minneapolis was well represented in our poll with the nearby Powderhorn Park gaining the second most votes.
The Twin Cities is blessed with not one but two zoos and, in case, this is news, kids like animals. The Como Zoo and Conservatory, though is a particularly great place to bring kids since it is free. It isn’t just the cheap aspect (you should still donate), though. As one of our readers, Kristofer, explains: “For someone who grew up on the West side of the river, and where St. Paul was this foreign territory, Como recreates Harriet and Bde Maka Ska, or even facets of the Sculpture garden. Like those places, Como is not a hidden gem, but has so much that people forget about.” The early 20th century carousel (just $2) is also a fantastic ride, if just for watching the old music scroll fed wurlitzer music that plays.
Whether it’s taking the dog to the off-leash park, sitting at Sea Salt on a warm weekend, or standing at the base of the waterfall, Minnehaha Falls is an oasis in south Minneapolis. You can rent a buggy and ride up and down the park or hike it by foot. Water plays such an important role in Twin Cities life, but behind the bustling Mississippi and the myriad of lakes is one set of falls that makes for one of the best places to relax and take in nature just off the light rail.
The Twin Cities are blessed with an overabundance of rec league options. CSC leagues may be the most popular choice for rec soccer for their ubiquity. On any given night throughout the Twin Cities, you can find a league to play in. The level of play ranges from casual and fun to competitive and fun, but let’s just say “more serious.” MRSL was well represented in voting as well and between these two leagues any kind of player can find a night and location to get their kicks in the Twin Cities.
Minnesotans seem able to overlook Dick’s Sporting Goods sponsoring the Colorado Rapids’ stadium and have made Dick’s their primary go-to for gear. Dick’s three locations around the Twin Cities draws from a broad base of customers.The local Planet Soccer got quite a few votes, particularly for those who are used to stopping off before or after playing or watching soccer at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
*Some respondents bemoaned that many of our categories were Twin Cities-centric. The reason for this was to try to get consensus. We were only choosing the top two vote-getters and a vast majority of our regular readers are in the Twin Cities. One of the ideas going forward, though is that perhaps we could create two categories: Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.