+1, Summit tour is worth doing. Bottling operation was pretty impressive... Surly (if you are able to secure a tour) has a good tour with a heartwarming tale of the little guy prevailing. fun.
I wouldn't really call it a tale of the little guy prevailing. Didn't his parents give him the space and sell off some of their investment properties to pay for it all?
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it worked out. Having another world class brewery in the state is great, especially when you find out you can trade it online pretty easily for hard to find stuff from the coast.
I haven't been on a brewery tour in the Cities. I'd love to visit Summit and one of the little guys. It's one thing to have a large scale brewery with some intern showing you around and another to have the brewmaster right there talking to you.
Summit's EPA is great and IMO is only equally rivaled by Sweetwater's Pale Ale (Atlanta) and Dale's Pale Ale (CO, available in WI). All in all, they are tasty. I haven't been too impressed with Summit's other stuff until I tried the Unchained Golden Ale. Seriously, I think some monks somewhere were feeling shame and didn't know why. It's that good.
I love the IPA from Flat Earth. Reminds me of the IPA from a local brewpub in Chattanooga, TN where I'm from. Surly and others are great as well. Apparently 612 Brew is an upcoming brand out of the Twin Cities.
Of course, we have several great brew pups around (Town Hall, Barley John's, Rock Bottom, Granite City, etc).
Sounds like I have a few more brewery tours to make happen! And cowardm I'll have to check out some of those brew pubs you mentioned as well. It looks like there is a Granite City only a few miles from my apartment.
I've not been on a tour, but I've been to a couple of events held in their event space. If you have the opportunity to go to one, go. I got some of their Rye Ale about 2 months before I saw it anywhere else. They have a really nice setup and the beer does flow, if you know what I mean.
If I had a big event that was appropriate for that space, I'd hold it there in a heart beat. What a classy operation.
Well I did go on the tour yesterday, and I have to say I was a little disappointed with what they showed us. The tour lasted for ~45 minutes, but only 15 minutes max was actually spent looking at the brewery. The beer at the end was nice though, when I did the leinies tour they only gave 3-4oz glasses and Summit gave a maybe12oz glass. I ended up trying the imperial pumpkin porter, oatmeal stout, and winter ale. I was happy with all of them but the pumpkin porter, as it just didn't do it for me.