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Apr 5, 2008 09:31 AM

Special root beers in town -- MSP

Danny mentioned in another thread that there is a good selection of root beers at Nelsons and at another place (not remembering -- the Pumphouse?)

What are the good root brews, how are they different, and where are they?

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  1. Yes, Pumphouse Creamery has a dozen or so root beers that you can choose from when ordering a root beer float. I'm partial to the 1919 (from New Ulm), which has a nice peppery bite.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Jordan

      1919 is great especially when you can get it on tap, a fresh keg. dh thinks grand ole creamery has it on tap, or try another old-school soda fountain. another good relatively local kegged root beer (also avail in bottles, i think) is sprecher (glendale wi). virgil's (imported), available at the co-ops is another fave. boyland's is also good, also at co-ops.

      1. re: soupkitten

        I have not had better than 1919. They have it on tap at Bryant Lake Bowl.

        1. re: pgokey

          The Nook also has 1919 on tap. Very tasty with a burger.

          1. re: Uisge

            Cool! I'm headed to the Nook tonight for the first time. I was just lamenting that the experience won't be as much fun w/o being able to have a beer, but this is a great alternative.

            1. re: katebauer

              I am definitely going to head there too for the burgers everyone is talking about and that brew. (But probably not tonight! I assume there will be a Wild hockey crowd and seats may be hard to come by?)

          2. re: pgokey

            1919 is pretty hard to's a must have at the State Fair.

            I'm also partial to Virgils and Specher (their low carb brew is outstanding).

            Another one I love, but can be hard to find, is Sioux City Sasparilla.

            1. re: BigE

              Sioux City is around in the Twin Cities, as is Virgil's. My local cub started selling Virgil's after their recent remodel! (You can also get the mini-kegs of Virgil's at Cost Plus World Market)

              I've seen Sioux City at either Cub or Byerly's, but I don't remember which one. I'll be on the lookout...

              1. re: Danny

                i've also seen the virgil's mini kegs at the co-ops. we bought one when they were on sale at mississippi market, but were dismayed that it started rapidly losing fizz as soon it was opened-- nearly flat the next day-- so the mini kegs might be great for a wild root-beer party but not so much for a couple-few people, no matter how much you *think* you like root beer ;)

          3. re: soupkitten

            and in kegs at big top at midway, or they used to last i checked (its been at least a couple years since ive been in the keg market)

        2. Thanks for all these root beer places. It never occurred to me that some of the great ice cream places would be stocking these special root beers. Although it makes perfect sense.

          Also that they would be stocking it by the keg.

          Thanks for the tips.

          1. Pop! has a good selection of "unusual" sodas. But they seem to have only two root beers on the menu - IBC and Stewart's.


            1. i think the town hall brewery has root beer on tap. i do not know if they brew it themselves.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zfwp

                yes, town hall does brew their own root beer.

              2. Wow... I made that post a long time ago, but Nelson's and Pumphouse still have the widest variety of Root Beers in the Twin Cities.

                That said, I don't think either of them carry what, in my opinion, is the best Root Beer in Minnesota - Dorothy's Isle of Pines Rootbeer. You can learn more about Dorothy and her root beer here:

                After a long absence, it returned to the shelves at Byerly's in August. You should be able to find it there in single bottles and six packs.

                What makes it better? For me, smoothness is a big part of it. A lot of root beers have a harsh carbonation - not the good ones. Flavor is also a big deal, Dorothy's has a lot of subtle flavors, as do many of the other good ones.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Danny

                  The ironic thing about Dorothy's is that Dorothy Molter used Hire's root beer extract for her root beer. (At least in the later years when I visited her.) Still nothing beat a cold root beer and a candy bar out in the middle of nowhere.

                  1. re: bob s

                    When I was in MSP last month, I picked up three bottles of root beer from Lund's. One was from Maine (too medicinal), one was Frosty's (?? Froster's?? OK, but missing something special), and the third was Dorothy's. Dorothy's was, to me, perfect, and as I drank it, I kept thinking that it reminded me of Hires (my favourite root beer as a child, which I can no longer find anywhere).

                    Now I know why!

                  2. re: Danny

                    I've always found the story of Ms. Molter fascinating. I'm glad to hear that rootbeer is available at Byerly's again! I wouldn't suppose they make a diet version of that that's worth anything?


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I would bet that it's a fairly small-time operation. Looking at the online store, they only offer six-packs and cases of root beer.

                      Also meant to mention in my last post that the root beer is often available at the Uptown Lund's. I assume that it's stocked at other Lund's as well.

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        When Page brewing made it, there was a diet version - it was sold at one of the "Minnesota" stores in the Mall of America. I don't know if there is one now - if there is, it isn't stocked at Byerly's.