Explore local craft beer in the Lakes Area

jack pine

The craft beer craze has not missed the Whitefish Chain area of Minnesota. Delicious beers are  brewed locally with great atmosphere at four area breweries.

Roundhouse Brewing: The newest brewery to join the area’s craft beer family is Roundhouse Brewing, which is combining the history of the area with great beer. Roundhouse, which opened April 28, is located in one of the former Northern Pacific Railroad buildings in Brainerd, and incorporates the history into its decor, branding and the names of its beers.

According to their website, Roundhouse is named for a place in the railyard where train cars would enter into a turntable where they were rotated and lined up to enter a workshop stall for maintenance or repairs. The building was knocked down at the Brainerd Northern Pacific center after it went out of commission in the area, but the round outline of the area can still be seen as you drive to a parking spot near the brewery.

Jack Pine Brewery: The Brainerd Lakes Area’s first brewery to arrive was Jack Pine, which still remains a favorite among locals. Patrick Sundberg founded the brewery after years as an award-winning homebrewer and homebrew competition judge. Jack Pine is located in Baxter’s industrial area, where he combines a warm, wood-paneled taproom with a clean, industrial feel.

Jack Pine has been known to experiment with barley wines, sour beers and small-batch IPAs, and always has something new on tap. In addition to his four standard beers, several seasonal beers rotate on the taps. Hornet’s Nest, a honey lemon wheat that incorporates local honey and lemon zest into the beer, is Jack Pine’s summer beer and is now on tap. Two varieties of craft sodas are also available.

Big Axe: Big Axe Brewing in Nisswa is right on main street, nestled in the city’s popular shopping area. Having opened about a year ago, Big Axe has a cozy and comfortable atmosphere with great beer, which sometimes incorporates coffee roasted by nearby Stonehouse Coffee, owned by the same family.

Big Axe has a variety of beers as well as soda, and is located in the same building as a restaurant, so you can combine your craft beer thirst with your love of food. Breakfast and lunch are served by the Happy Camper Cafe, and dinner is served by JR’s No. 19 BBQ.

Gull Dam BrewingThis beer company is fulfilling the area’s need for puns in business while simultaneously creating a fun atmosphere for beer. Owner Mark Anderson trademarked the name years before he opened the brewery and gave birth to endless jokes revolving around the need for a Gull Dam beer after a long day. The brewery is named, of course, for the dam on Gull Lake.

Gull Dam is located in the water wheel building just south of Nisswa, where you’ll see the water wheel spinning and powered by a giant flowing tap of beer. 

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