Undoubtedly, 2012 was a big year for Minnesota beer. The recent string of startup beer-makers continued, the taproom influx was a hit with enthusiasts and the craft-curious alike, and the overall quality of the local microbrew scene took a step forward.
Fortunately for suds-lapping locavores, the line of new brews born in our back yard will keep flowing into the new year. With a few breweries-to-be on the horizon, here's a peek at the pint-glass-filling class of 2013.
Although not exactly a New Year's Day baby, Rob Miller's Dangerous Man Brewing Co. (1300 NE. 2nd St., Mpls., www. dangerousmanbrewing.com) is first up, with a Jan. 25 due date. Boosted by a requisite brewer's beard, Miller is opening a taproom-only operation in a prime Northeast location two blocks from the 331 Club and the Ritz Theater. Miller's small-batch focus has "neighborhood hangout" written all over it. Dangerous Man is keeping it casual with a BYO food policy (note: nearby Anchor Fish and Chips does takeout), and initial hours will be 3 p.m. to midnight Fridays and noon to midnight Saturdays.
The long-anticipated 612Brew is inching closer to opening day. Final inspections of its site at the intersection of Broadway and Central Avenue NE. in Minneapolis were scheduled for this week, with owners eyeing a late January or early February opening. The patio-promising taproom and production brewery is the anchor tenant of a redevelopment project helmed by Peter Remes, the man behind Eat Street's Ice House Plaza.
Rounding out a trio of newbies in what is becoming Minneapolis' beeriest quadrant is Northgate Brewing. The wholesale-centered brewery plans to have Wall's End -- an English brown ale -- ready for a late January or early February release, with growler sales to follow. A taproom is not in Northgate's immediate future.
Don't discount the suburbs in the metro beer boom. Bad Weather Brewing Co. is moving into the Minnetonka digs occupied by Lucid Brewing and Badger Hill, entering into an alternating proprietorship with Lucid. The alt-prop arrangement (Lucid and Badger Hill have the same deal) allows the breweries to share space and equipment, curbing overhead in the startup phase. Bad Weather hopes to hit the market with a red ale and winter warmer next month.
With a beer roster that reads like a heavy-metal album tracklist (see Surtr's Flame and Loki's Treachery) HammerHeart Brewing Co. is slated to begin brewing in its Lino Lakes facility next month, aiming for a spring release. The Norse-themed brewery hopes to strike big flavors with the precision of Odin's spear (or something), boasting an oaked rye stout "as black as Olaf's heart" among four year-round beers and intriguing limited releases. A taproom is in the works.
Elsewhere, St. Paul's sustainability-centered Bang Brewing Co., Duluth's Bent Paddle Brewing Co., headed by two Rock Bottom and Barley John's alums, and Jack Pine Brewery out of Baxter, Minn., also land this year.