Where do you go in the Twin Cities when you feel the need for freshly brewed beer? I learned on a recent Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota beercation that there are quite a few more brewery options than I realized. But if you want a place to visit that is close to downtown attractions like Target Field and others, then the place to go is Fulton Brewing, located at 414 6th Ave. North in Minneapolis, MN.
Welcome to Minneapolis!
Fulton Brewing was founded in 2009 and a little bit of online research shows that the concept has its roots in a south Minneapolis garage where a few friends started brewing homebrew back in 2006. The product was well- received by friends and family and, in 2009, the guys decided to take things to the next level. They didn’t have sufficient cash to build a brewery, so they looked around to see if any nearby breweries could lend them space. Sand Creek Brewing, across the border in neighboring Wisconsin, was able to spare some room and Fulton Brewing was born.
Fulton Brewing was my first visit to a Minneapolis brewery and, not knowing they have two locations, I started off my visit on the wrong foot by accidentally driving to the large brewing facility, located a few miles away. I knew something was wrong when I saw NO ONE at the site. Given the popularity of the taproom, I knew there had to be a mistake and a quick check of my cell phone confirmed that the taproom is in an entirely different location. Not the slightest bit deterred, I reset my GPS and moments later, I arrived at the taproom, ready to drink.
Walking up to Fulton Brewing for the first time, you are greeted by the front, outdoor patio, a great place to chill when the weather cooperates. Depending on when you visit, there might be a food truck on site, selling burgers, hotdogs, pizza, sandwiches, etc., to go with the beer. The outside seating is picnic- table style and once inside, you will find the same picnic- style seating along with high top tables with barstools (no back support) and booths.
The Fulton Taproom location is great for entertainment because it is very close to Target Field and other venues. This explains why it often gets so crowded, as it was when I visited. I asked a few people and they told me that a concert was scheduled to begin in about an hour and the large crowd was due to thirsty concert- goers looking to fill up on quality beer before the show.
Now, for the Beer
Fulton Brewing’s Taproom doesn’t serve flight samplers, which was somewhat of a disappointment. But they will serve you a small taster, perfect for trying a beer and judging whether or not you want a full serving. When I paid my visit, I sampled the following beers, listed in alphabetical order followed by the style and my Untappd rating on a five point scale:
300, West Coast Style IPA, 4.25
Lonely Blonde, Blonde Ale, 3.25
Sweet Child of Vine, English IPA, 3.75
Average Rating: 3.75
Easily my top choice in the bunch was 300 West Coast IPA. Named in honor of Fulton’s 300th batch of beer brewed, this IPA harnesses the power and deliciousness of mosaic hops, delivering a west coast personality and taste, with 74 IBU and 7 percent alcohol by volume.
Downtown Minneapolis Charm
Fulton Brewing is a nice way to experience the taste of Minneapolis without venturing far from downtown. Its convenient location makes it a popular choice for downtown employees, sporting event attendees, and others who need a nearby pit stop and craft beer fill up before going about their day.
I had heard about Fulton Brewing before making my visit, mainly due to its awards and large size. Fulton Brewing produces about 30,000 barrels annually, so this is a serious brewing operation. This fact was confirmed when I accidentally went to the brewery and not the taproom. I could clearly see that Fulton is a large brewery and, according to present sources, it continues to grow, bringing more quality beer to the masses. I like, too, that Fulton Brewing packages most of its beers in both bottles and cans, perfect for the finicky among us who insist on a specific type of receptacle.
Even though the main brewery is located elsewhere, the Fulton Taproom does brew some of its own beer in the attached brewhouse, which is openly viewable from the taproom. I found this a little unusual at first, given the large production brewery just down the road. But then I remembered that Fulton’s Taproom was, in fact, the original brewery. The other facility came later, when demand necessitated opening a larger brewery.
Fulton Brewing’s Taproom is an active place and this is especially true anytime other events (Twins game, concerts, and so on) are taking place. If you want to visit when things are quieter and slower, you will need to check the entertainment calendar first to see what’s going on in downtown. The taproom is a large size and, combined with the front, outdoor patio, can accommodate a couple hundred people. This is a good deal of space, but it still tends to fill up quickly when other events are planned in the surrounding area.
Fulton Brewing is a cool place and I like the beer I tried when I visited. The addition of flight samplers or at least smaller serving options would have been nice and I likely would have stuck around longer if these choices were available. But Fulton Brewing is still a desirable place to visit in downtown Minneapolis and it served well as the launching point for my Minneapolis beer tour.