Our History 

Midwest pioneers. Except with copper kettles instead of covered wagons. 

 

In 1986, Summit founder Mark Stutrud set out to rediscover the traditional brewing methods behind the great handcrafted
beers that once flowed throughout the Midwest. Ever since, we’ve been painstakingly brewing beer as stimulating, complex
and rich in character as the people who share it.

Glass of Summit beer

“A long hard road”

Pre86_sign

When Mark Stutrud decided to forego getting his Masters in social work to start a brewery, he knew he was undertaking a risky endeavor. This letter he received from the Brewer's Association served as a crisp reminder. But Mark perservered, naming his new brewery after Saint Paul's legendary Summit Avenue (Stutrud is too hard to pronounce) and he was on his way. The letter is now proudly displayed in the brewery’s Ratskeller.

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1986 – Humble beginnings

93_brewery

Summit Brewing Company remodels the space of an old truck parts company on St. Paul’s University Avenue. We install a brewhouse from Heimertingen, Germany, and begin test brewing. After much experimentation, we proudly release our EPA and Great Northern Porter – in kegs only.

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1987 – Early success

87_bottling

Great Northern Porter wins first place at the Great American Beer Festival®. We begin bottling in the fall and introduce our first seasonal, Summit Christmas Ale.

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1988 – The experimentation continues

Summit Sparkling Ale is first brewed, the area’s first blonde ale.

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1989 – Why stop at 12 ounces?

89_maibock

Summit Maibock is introduced in 22 ounce bomber bottles.

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1991 – Roll out the barrels

91_barrels

We complete our first major expansion, increasing capacity from 5,000 to 12,000 barrels per year.

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1993 – The more, the merrier

93_ipa

Summit introduces Hefe Weizen, India Pale Ale and Altbier. The brewery leases an adjacent building and installs the “beer pipeline” connecting it to the original building. Annual capacity reaches 16,000 barrels.

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1995 – How do you say “growing pains” in German?

95_copper-brewhouse

Summit purchases a copper brewhouse from Hürnerbräu, Ansbach, Bavaria, and places it in storage for two years. As a search for a new brewery site begins, capacity on University Ave increases to 34,000 barrels.

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1996 – Breaking new ground

96_map

Summit purchases 4.2 acres in the Crosby Lake Business Park in Saint Paul. Groundbreaking takes place in July of the following year as keeping up with demand becomes increasingly difficult.

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1998 – Summit on the move

98_building

Test brewing begins at the new brewery location with total transition completed by December.

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1999 – The little brewery that could

99_bottleline

Summit Brewing reaches one percent market share of all beer sold in Minnesota. Woo-hoo!

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2000 – Entrepreneurial spirit

00_entrepreneur

Mark Stutrud is honored to be named a Finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year as well as North Dakota Business Innovator of the Year (Mark’s home state).

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2001 – Bohemia meets Bavaria

01_oktoberfest

We introduce our take on two other traditional styles: a true Czech Pilsener and Märzen-style Oktoberfest.

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2002 – An 8,000 mile beer run

02_goodwilltour

The Summit “Good Will Beer Tour” travels to the UK and Germany to share our brews with the most discerning beer drinkers in the world. We share pints, swap stories and hear what they have to say about Summit – recording it all for beer lovers back home. Listen below.

 

“Dieter”

“Local Pride”

“Tom Richard”

Glass of Summit beer

2003 – More Summit on tap

03_sos

The brewery introduces special limited release beers, beginning with Oatmeal Stout followed by ESB and Scandia, a Belgian Style Wheat.

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2004 – Local honors

04_buebener

Summit receives the Duebener Award from the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. This award recognizes organizations that exemplify growth, excellence, risk, diversity and innovation. All things we heartily embrace at Summit.

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2006 – A birthday blowout

06_20thanniversarycrowd

The Summit Big Brew 20th Anniversary celebration on Harriet Island exceeds all attendance expectations. 11,000 Summit friends toasted 20 years of brewing excellence.

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2008 – This one’s for you, Herb

Summit is honored to receive the HERBIE Award, inspired by Saint Paul native and hockey legend Herb Brooks, from the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. HERBIE stands for Humanitarian, Enterprising, Resilient, Bold, Inspirational and Ethical. The award is given to a local individual or company that demonstrates those qualities through significant public service and dedication to the community.

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2009 – The year of brewing boldly

09_unchained

Summit introduces Horizon Red Ale, an intensely aromatic cross between an IPA and Amber ale. We also launch the Unchained Series, limited release batches designed to showcase our individual brewers’ skills and creativity. The first is a German Style Kölsch from brewer Mike Miziorko, followed by a 90/- Scottish Style Ale from brewer Eric Blomquist.

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2010 – Bronze beer, gold medal

10_world-beer-cup

Extra Pale Ale wins a gold medal in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category at the 2010 World Beer Cup® and a silver medal in the same category at the Great American Beer Festival®. The Unchained Series kicks into high gear with an India Style Rye Ale from brewer Mike Lundell, a Belgian Style Golden Ale from brewer Eric Harper, and an Imperial Pumpkin Porter from brewer Nate Siats.

Glass of Summit beer

2011 – Skol to a quarter century!

11_25th-anniversary

Summit celebrates its 25th anniversary. Here’s to everyone who has clinked pints, bought rounds, showed support, extended praise, offered critiques, joined us on the town, stayed late, and shared their passion for great beer with us over the years. Cheers! Summit brewers also bring forth three distinct Unchained Series batches; Gold Sovereign Ale, Honeymoon Saison, and Black Ale.

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2011 – First annual Summit Backyard Bash

2011-backyardbash

To help celebrate 25 years of brewing, we host our first annual Backyard Bash on the lawn behind the brewery. Not only is it a chance to enjoy the trifecta of local bands, local food trucks and local beers, but it’s also for a good cause. 50% of ticket proceeds go to the Minnesota Music Coalition, a non-profit dedicated to supporting our state’s creative community of independent musicians.

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2012 – We’ll drink to that!

12_awards

Summit is honored to pick up a pair of prestigious brewing awards: EPA wins Silver at the 2012 World Beer Cup® for Classic English-Style Pale Ale and Pilsener gets a Silver at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival® for Bohemian-Style Pilsener.

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2012 - Sága IPA and Summer Ale

12_sagasummer

Named after the Norse goddess of poetry, Summit unveils Sága IPA to the hop-loving public. We also add Summer Ale, a refreshing new seasonal, to our growing line-up.

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2012 - The creativity keeps flowing

12_unchained

Summit brewers keep the Unchained Series going strong by releasing three distinctive, limited-release brews: Dunkel Weizen, Abbey Ale, and Old 152.

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2012 – A nice place to work

2012-niceplace

Summit is named a Top 10 Workplace by Star Tribune and receives a Small Business Success honor from Twin Cities Business Monthly. Giving us another convenient excuse to clink a few pints.

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2013 – You keep drinking, we’ll keep brewing

2012-expansion

In February 2013, we debut a brand new logo.  Then increased demand from thirsty beer lovers calls for another expansion. In June 2013, we add 7,632 square feet of cellar space with twelve 600-barrel fermentation vessels, increasing our production capacity to 240,000 barrels a year. Summit also buys property next to the brewery, unfurling plans for our first-ever canning operation. 

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2013 – By jove, another Silver medal!

2013-silveraward

Summit wins Silver at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival® for our original British-style India Pale Ale (soon to be called True Brit IPA) in the Extra Special Bitter category. We also unveil Meridian Session Ale and Rebellion Stout from the Union Series, a new series featuring the latest hop and malt varieties from around the world. And the Unchained Series keeps rolling with 100% Organic Ale, Another IPA and Bière de Garde.

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2013 – Part of the community

2013-partofcommunity

Summit proudly receives the Minnesota Keystone award from the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, recognizing companies donating at least 2 percent of their pre-tax earnings to their local community. We are also honored to receive the Minnesota Restaurant Associations Allied Partner of the Year award. Cheers!

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2014 - New packaging debuts

2014-new_packaging

Working with local design firm Duffy & Partners, Summit unveils new packaging. “Innovation is part of our DNA,” says founder Mark Stutrud. “This change reflects our creativity, celebrates our commitment to the values of local craft brewing, and honors the community we come from.”

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2014 - Summit Silver-peat

2014-summit_silver-peat

Summit wins another Silver at the 2014 World Beer Cup® in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category (we won the same honor at the last competition in 2012). Here’s to consistency!

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2014 - New "between seasons" seasonal

2014-between_seasons_seasonal

To help beleaguered Minnesotans get through late winter, Summit introduces Frost Line Rye Ale. Released between Winter Ale and Maibock, Frost Line Rye is brewed with four select types of rye and floral, citrusy hops to help hasten the spring thaw.

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2014 - New Unchained and Union Series brews

2014-new_unchained_union

The popular brewer-driven Summit Unchained Series keeps flowing with Batch 15: Fest Bier. Summit also introduces the next limited-release brew in the Union Series: Southern Cape Sparkling Ale.

Glass of Summit beer

2014 - Summit in cans!

2014-summit_in_cans

For the first time ever, Summit EPA, Sága IPA and Summer Ale are available in 12-ounce cans. To accomplish this, the brewery expands across the “backyard”, building an elevated beer pipeline to the new canning facility. 

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Are you 21 or older?

  • Summit Extra Pale Ale
    • bottlecap

      Summit Extra Pale Ale

      Brewed year-round

      The brew that launched
      a brewery.

      A craft beer pioneer. We've been brewing our flagship Summit Extra Pale Ale for independent thinkers and drinkers since 1986. Bronze color. Gold medal-winning flavor. Caramel and biscuity malts superbly balanced with citrus and earthy notes.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      12º P

      IBUs

      49

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      5.20%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      2-Row Pale, Caramel, Crystal

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Light bronze (12.5 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Horizon, Fuggle, Cascade

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      1986

       
  • Summit Pilsener
    • bottlecap

      Summit Pilsener

      Brewed year-round

      Crafted with care from farm to bottle.

      Brewed with Moravian 37 barley grown by our founder's cousins in the heart of North Dakota grain country. Matured six weeks for a crisp, refreshing malt backbone. Saaz hops add just the right amount of spicy aroma to this authentic Bohemian-style Pilsener.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      11º P

      IBUs

      23

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      4.50%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      Moravian 37, Caramel

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Golden (5 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Vanguard, Saaz

      YEAST

      Lager

      ESTABLISHED

      2001

       
  • Summit True Brit IPA
    • bottlecap

      Summit True Brit IPA

      Brewed year-round

      English-Style ale from this side of the pond.

      Originally named Summit India Pale Ale, our True Brit IPA is brewed with a nod to sublimely drinkable English ales. Quintessential UK hop varieties lend spicy, earthy notes with a background of caramel sweetness from the malt.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      14º P

      IBUs

      61

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      6.40%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      2-Row Pale, Caramel

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Bronze (13 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Northern Brewer, East Kent Golding, Target
      Dry Hopped: East Kent Golding, Fuggle

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      1993

       
  • Summit Great Northern Porter
    • bottlecap

      Summit Great Northern Porter

      Brewed year-round

      A roasty dark beer for the entire year.

      One of our first beers, this award-winning Porter is an ale to enjoy year round. Named after the majestic railway stretching from St. Paul to Seattle, with roasted malts that offer up coffee notes leading to a slightly sweet, chocolatey finish.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      13.3º P

      IBUs

      51

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      5.40%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      2-Row Pale, Caramel, Chocolate, Crystal

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Black (60 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Northern Brewer, Fuggle, Cascade

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      1986

       
  • Summit Horizon Red IPA
    • bottlecap

      Horizon Red IPA

      Brewed year-round

      Red and Robust.

      Horizon Red IPA offers up an artful blend of exceptional American hops, creating an intense pine, citrus and earthy character while select malts offer a robust flavor and deep red hue. Originally named Horizon Red Ale.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      14º P

      IBUs

      66

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      5.80%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      2-Row Pale, Caramel, Wheat, Cara Red, Black

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Amber (22 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Summit, Horizon, Mosaic, Cascade
      Dry Hopped: Cascade, Mosaic

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      2009

       
  • Saga IPA
    • bottlecap

      Summit Sága IPA

      Brewed year-round

      Epic hop character.

      Named after the Norse goddess Sága, drinking companion of the God Odin. New Zealand hops lend a distinctive hop flavor and aromas of kiwi, passionfruit and apricot with a clean, assertive bitterness. An ale worthy of the gods.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      14º P

      IBUs

      80

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      6.20%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      2-Row Pale, Caramel

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Rich Gold (9 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Centennial, Amarillo, Citra, Rakau
      Dry Hopped: Amarillo, Citra, Rakau

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      2012

       
  • Summit Frost Line Rye
    • bottlecap

      Summit Frost Line Rye

      Brewed in late Winter

      A robust, spicy ale to fight off the deep freeze.

      Frost Line Rye is our "between seasons" seasonal, coming out between Winter Ale and Maibock. Brewed with four select types of rye and floral, citrusy hops to help hasten the spring thaw.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      13.5º P

      IBUs

      54

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      5.80%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      US Pale, US Caramel Rye, US Pale Rye, German Chocolate Rye, US Flaked Rye

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Red (25 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Summit, Citra,
      Dry Hopped: Citra, Experimental Hops #01210 and #06300

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      2014

       
  • Summit Maibock
    • bottlecap

      Summit Maibock

      Brewed in the Spring

      Forget the frost with the official beer of Spring.

      This traditional German style earned the nickname "liquid bread" because it was brewed by monks to help them get through Lenten fasting. Moravian 37 malts and Czech Saaz hops give it a toasted sweetness with a little spice in the finish.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      15º P

      IBUs

      40

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      6.70%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      Moravian 37, Munich

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Dark Blonde (9 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Saaz, Mt. Hood

      YEAST

      Lager

      ESTABLISHED

      1989

       
  • Summit Summer Ale
    • bottlecap

      Summit Summer Ale

      Brewed in the Summer

      Savor summer with
      every sip.

      This highly drinkable beer is made for sunny days and long nights. With a crisp, clean bitterness. Lightly toasted malts. And an enticing fruity and floral hop aroma with hints of citrus. Every sip is a celebration of summer.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      11º P

      IBUs

      41

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      4.40%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      2-Row Pale, Cara Pils, Malted White Wheat

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Pale Straw (4 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Mt. Hood, Wakatu

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      2012

       
  • Summit Oktoberfest
    • bottlecap

      Summit Oktoberfest

      Brewed in the fall

      Celebrate the harvest.

      Inspired by the ultimate beer celebration, our Oktoberfest offers rich, toffee malt flavors up front with a hop finish as crisp as the autumn air. Like the fall colors, this beer is gone before you know it. Prosit!

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      16º P

      IBUs

      25

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      7.10%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      Moravian 37, Crystal, Munich

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Bronze (15 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Northern Brewer, Tettnanger, Saaz

      YEAST

      Lager

      ESTABLISHED

      2001

       
  • Summit Winter Ale
    • bottlecap

      Summit Winter Ale

      Brewed in the Winter

      Comforting as a down blanket. And way better tasting.

      One taste and it's easy to see why the Brits call this style Winter Warmer. Nutty, roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee, caramel, cocoa and a dash of hop spice. It'll warm your cockles. Whatever those are.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      15º P

      IBUs

      40

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      6.20%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      2-Row Pale, Caramel, Black Patent, Crystal

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Brown (40 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Willamette, Fuggle, Tettnanger

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      1987

       
  • Summit Unchained Series
    • bottlecap

      Summit Unchained Series

      Released Periodically

      Where brewers are free to explore their craft.

      The Summit Unchained Series gives our brewers free rein to create any beer style they want. To rediscover and reinterpret obscure traditional brews. Or invent their own. The result? Small batches. Huge flavor.

       
  • Summit Union Series
    • bottlecap

      Summit Union Series

      Released every so often

      The inspired union of new ingredients and time-honored brewing traditions.

      Brewing has always been about discovery. For the Summit Union Series, we scour the globe for new (and sometimes rare) hops and malts. Then we add equal parts craft and creativity to bring you a whole new brew.

       
  • Summit Oatmeal Stout
    • bottlecap

      Summit Oatmeal Stout

      Brewed year-round

      A taste you won't find everywhere.

      While its cascading rich black color will be familiar to Stout enthusiasts, ours is decidedly different. It's made with naked oats from the UK, for one. Smooth and slightly sweet, with hints of coffee, caramel and chocolate. Sold only on draught in select places.

      ORIGINAL GRAVITY

      13.3º P

      IBUs

      41

      ALCOHOL BY VOLUME

      5.20%

      MALTS UTILIZED

      2-Row Pale, Caramel, Oats, Crystal, Roasted Barley, Chocolate

      COLOR, (DEG L.)

      Pitch Black (80 L)

      HOPS UTILIZED

      Northern Brewer, East Kent Golding, Fuggle

      YEAST

      Ale

      ESTABLISHED

      2004