Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub

Tucked off Hiawatha Avenue in South Minneapolis, Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub is my one-stop-shop for a little slice of heaven. Killer burgers, great natural light, and enormous fry baskets are the perfect set-up to enjoy a diverse flight.

In my limited beer experience, I’ve discovered that–unlike my coffee–I do not like my beer dark. Porters, stouts, and brown ales can easily make me turn up my nose. But, my experience at Northbound has elicited a change of heart.

Thanks to the 7-wide flight the brewpub serves, I found my new winter beers. Snownami, a Chocolate Raspberry Imperial Stout, completely changed the game; and their Brown Ale was the perfect set-up to settle in to a basket of fries.

The other beer in my flight, of course, should not go unmentioned. It proved accessible to the non-beer drinkers in my crowd, and held their own at the same time.

Our table also ordered a round of food–wild rice burger, Northbound burger, fried chicken sandwich, and open-faced turkey. Needless to say, we took an enormous nap after that spread.

In the midst of a chaotic Saturday lunch crowd, we received excellent service. 10/10 would do again (maybe in a week, when I’m finally done digesting).

A bit about the brewery, from their website: Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub opened in September 2012 with much anticipation.  A neighborhood, crowd-funded, investment model put this brewpub on the national scene.  This was due to the offer of free beer for life, in return for a $1000 investment.

Unlike most brewery taprooms, Northbound is a bonafide full-service brewpub with a restaurant and full bar that includes a great whiskey selection.  Northbound continues to grow and evolve with its scratch kitchen, equipped with two industrial smokers and also by consistently pumping out adventurous top-notch beers.

Tyler Bredow, our server, was the type of guy you’d expect to meet in a brewpub. Young, scruffy, and in love with beer. His advice? “Tip your server.”

Upon second thought, and after a laugh, he told me: “If your beer’s not good, don’t serve it.”

He shared with us stories of how Northbound invests in creating quality beer. Servers learn about identifying great craft brews, and the brewers have been known to throw out a barrel of off-flavor beer.

While it means losing a fair amount of money, the Northbound brewers are not willing to sacrifice serving crap beer simply because they can.


Just like craft beer, if you have something to serve up in life, make sure it’s not crap. We live in a era of endless potential to create, and we have so many tools that allow us to do so. This means we have a certain responsibility to hold ourselves accountable to what we put into the world.

Whether it’s craft beer or custom dog collars, do your thing, and do it well.

P.S. Please forgive the iPhone photos. I obviously prioritize drinking beer over lugging my camera everywhere I go.

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