There are worse ways to spend a weekend.

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild held its annual conference in downtown Minneapolis last week, which culminated in a blind tasting of more than 450 beers from some 90 breweries from across the state to name this year's winners of Minnesota Brewers Cup.

Axe Man IPA from Surly Brewing Co. was named the 2024 best in show. The brewery, which also won the America IPA category, is credited with starting Minnesota's craft beer boom. It began in Brooklyn Center in 2005, eventually moving to its flagship Minneapolis beer hall and brewery in 2014 (520 Malcolm Av. SE.,

"This is an awesome beer community," said Ben Smith, Surly's head brewer. "All of us deserve this award because we all elevate each other to make better beer and work together."

The other best in show winners showcase both old and new.

Arbeiter Brewing Co. of Minneapolis took second place with Tokki, its Korean rice lager. Tokki won the German and international pale lagers category, one of two Arbeiter wins. Head brewer Aaron Herman took a moment to thank, well, everyone. "It's so good to be here among so many amazing brewers and so many amazing people and such an amazing industry," he said. "Thank you to everyone who pours their heart and soul into helping us make beer." Arbeiter (3038 Minnehaha Av., Mpls., opened in late 2020.

Rounding out the best in show was Sága Imperial IPA, a winner in the strong beer category, from St. Paul's Summit Brewing Co., which has been brewing since 1986 (901 Montreal Circle, Brewer Paul Hedlund said it was a team effort: "This represents solid measures of collaborative efforts," he said. "We have a great brewing crew and we're backed up by a sound quality team. We're really proud of this beer."

In addition to the best in show awards, Minnesota beers were recognized in 23 categories. The top three in each style were given awards; all first-place winners advanced to the best in show round. Here are the first-place winners in each category. For a full list, go to

Hard seltzer: Sunken Ship Brewing Co., Princeton, Minimum Wake

Specialty beers: Indeed Brewing Co., Mpls., Mexican Honey Imperial Lager

Wood-aged beers: Bad Weather Brewing Co., St. Paul, Calamity

Spice, herb and vegetable beers: Big Axe Brewing Co., Nisswa, Coffee Toffee Blonde

Fruit and spice beers: Third Street Brewhouse, Cold Spring, Minnesota Gold Micro Peach

Wild, sour and funky ales: Uncommon Loon Brewing Co., Chisago City, Hang Tang

Strong beers: Summit Brewing Co., St. Paul, Sága Imperial IPA

Belgian and monastic ales: Gambit Brewing Co., St. Paul, Zizou French Farmhouse Ale

American amber, brown and pale ales: Canal Park Brewing Co., Duluth, Nut Hatchet Brown Ale

Stouts: Thousand Lakes Brewing Co., Parkers Prairie, Breakfast For Supper

English brown ales and porters: Back Channel Brewing, Spring Park, Jug

English, Scottish and Irish ales: Locale Brewing Co., Mankato, Hibernale

Double and specialty IPAs: Rapids Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Chefs Bubbly Brut

Hazy IPAs: Ursa Minor Brewing, Duluth, Galactic Face Slap

American IPAs: Surly Brewing Co., Mpls., Axe Man IPA

German ales: Blacklist Brewing Co., Duluth, Hefe Royale

German and New Zealand pils and export lagers: Arbeiter Brewing Co., Mpls., Haha Pils

Czech lagers: Utepils Brewing Co., Mpls., Loonar Eclipse

Dark lagers: Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub, Mpls., Doppelbock

Amber lagers: Rapids Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, She Gone Rye Lager

German and international pale lagers: Arbeiter Brewing Co., Mpls., Tokki

American blonde, wheat and cream ales: Mineral Springs Brewery, Owatonna, Cinder Hill Cream Ale

American lagers: Brau Brothers Brewing Co., Marshall, Old 56 Light Beer

The nonprofit Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild was founded in 2000 and now has more than 150 brewery and brewpub members. The Guild promotes Minnesota's brewing industry by sponsoring festivals and special events, including the Minnesota Brewer Cup, All Pints North and the Brewed in Minnesota exhibit at the State Fair.