Check, Please: Better beers at the State Fair

  • Updated: August 31, 2013 - 7:55 PM
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Get onion rings and beer on tap at the Ball Park Cafe.

Photo: JOEL KOYAMA • joel.koyama@startribune.com,

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At the Ball Park Cafe, co-owners and brothers Dan and David Theisen feature an impressive list of brewed-in-Minnesota craft labels, including Lucid, Mankato Original, Badger Hill, Lift Bridge, Excelsior, Surly, Steel Toe, Third Street, Bent Paddle and Indeed. Oh, and the onion rings made with an Indeed pale ale batter? Awesome.

Underwood Av., between Food Building and the Garden

Giggles’ Campfire Grill owner Tim “Giggles” Weiss has focused his 2013 energies — and checkbook — on an impressive new beer garden, one that would not look out of place in a ritzy northern Minnesota lakeside resort. Under the heavy-timbered roof, Weiss’ crew is pouring a bevy of Minnesota-brewed beers, including Brau Brothers, Finnegan’s, Flat Earth, Big Wood, Lucid and Fulton, as well as Iowa’s Millstream, Wisconsin’s Leinenkugel, Michigan’s Keeweenah and Clown Shoes from Massachusetts.

Cooper St. at Lee Av.

Among the Bud, Pabst, Corona and other mainstream names, the fun-loving folks behind the bar at O’Gara’s stock a smattering of Irish stouts, lagers and ales, as well as gluten-free and nonalcoholic options. On the wine side, there’s a half-dozen made-in-Minnesota choices. Cool off under the building’s heat-busting misters.

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