For the second year in a row, two beer-centric bars in the Twin Cities have made Draft Magazine's list of America's top 100 beer bars.
The beer-lover's site raised a virtual pint to both The Happy Gnome in St. Paul and Republic, with two locations in Minneapolis. Both bars were also included in the 2013 top beer bar rankings.
The magazine noted that in compiling its list for the sixth year, judges had to, well, raise the bar in its selection process. "We had to rethink the definition of a top-notch beer bar," the article said, noting that there's more to a top-notch beer bar than ".... a zillion taps; there’s just more to it now. We needed to walk out of these places saying, “Now there’s a bar that really, really cares about your experience with beer,” (with) well-cared for, thoughtfully selected beer with an eye toward variety, trends and tradition, in the kind of place you’d want to stay awhile, delivered by someone who knows their stuff."
Last year, a Vita.Mn review lauded the Happy Gnome for its extensive and adventurous beer list, especially for its focus on harder-to-find American microbrewery beers. At the time Republic expanded to its second location in Uptown, City Pages called it "the brewpub that has beer aficionados swooning."
In other brew news on tap, the Business Journal reported on Summit Brewing's first packaging redesign since 1998. The bottle labels and company logos were revealed Wednesday, the handiwork of Duffy & Partners of Minneapolis. The new look has already hit some stores and will be completely turned over throughout 2014.
Last year, Summit added a $7 million expansion to its brewery and purchased a building next door where it will can beer.