Pros: Mafia-like lounge area, stellar northeast pale ale
Cons: Hard to find parking
Number one reason you should go: Charming and welcoming, Insight is a necessary stop on any tour of Northeast Minneapolis breweries.
Located on the same stretch of East Hennepin Avenue as Headflyer, Insight Brewing is the easternmost outpost of what is otherwise a tightly-packed collective of northeast Minneapolis breweries. We got lucky as we rounded the last bend on our “In-” brewery tour (following Inbound and Indeed), as our friend Chris happened to have tickets for a night of exclusive access to Insight’s leather couches, four free beers, and a growler. Parking wasn’t easy during our popular Friday night time slot, but we eventually found street parking in the neighborhoods across Hennepin from the brewery.
Following the model of many northeast breweries, Insight’s space is a re-purposed industrial building. The interior constitutes one large room, a sprawling expanse of concrete headed by a bar and dotted with tables, booths, and high tops. In the parking lot outside, patrons cluster in a pergola’d patio and take advantage of Insight’s rotating band of food trucks.
Like many breweries, Insight engenders a strong sense of community. Their “buy your buddy a drink” system up at the bar allows you to pay for a friend’s beer ahead of time, while their “WithINsight” program connects volunteers to “health, humanitarian, and environmental projects” in the Twin Cities.
It should also be said I am a big fan if Insight’s branding. Their slate gray cans offset by characters drawn in pops of orange, blue, and green are eye-catching. Their brewing endeavor as a whole is also posed as an epic tale, with each brew a new chapter in the story. Take the description on a can of Splendid Moose, a stunningly good Northeast Pale Ale:
“…Stay now, gentle beast, I murmured as I reached a trembling hand out to the enormous moonlight-colored moose. He bowed his head, and shortly, after some coaxing, I scrabbled up upon his back. I had traveled to the farthest northeast corner of the country in search of a mythical Pale Ale that could soothe even the most maddened mind. But my feet were sore from walking. And as I always say, you can’t beat travel by ghost-mooseback…”
In addition to “Don’t Feed the Splendid Moose,” chapters in Insight’s tale also include “Artfully Outwitting His Royal Nuisance,” “The Autonomous Nature of Dankbot,” and “In the Halls of the Sunken City.” My reviews of the Insight brews we tried can be found at the Untappd links below:
- Banshee Cutter Coffee Golden Ale (4/5)
- Claw King New England IPA (3.25/5)
- Doe Eyes Saison / Farmhouse Ale (3.25/5)
- Royal Nuisance Unfiltered German Lager (4.25/5)
Brews that I didn’t review on this trip, but have tried from Insight in the past, include:
- Dankbot IPA (2.75/5)
- East IPA (3.75/5)
- Hell Chicken Pale Ale (3.75/5)
- Lambton Dragon English Bitter (3.5/5)
- Rowdy Uncle Ginger Beer (4.25/5)
- Splendid Moose Northeast Pale Ale (5/5)
- Sunken City Saison & Sauv Blanc Grapes (1.75/5)
- Troll Way Citrus IPA (4/5)