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Minnesota hikes, Northfield coffee and cocktails, and a tour of the area. Keepsake Cider is an all-day tour!

🏆 CURATED BY: Nate Watters
Founder, Cidermaker, area resident (more? Nate’s “Makerview”)

📷 👍 VISITED AND APPROVED BY: Allison Vincent
(+ Hubby & friends. More from Allison)

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Nate (Keepsake Founder) sent us to his favorite spots in the area…

This past Saturday my wife, Leslie, and I set out for an adventure exploring Dundas and Northfield, MN, based on Nate Watters’s recommendations.  Nate and his wife, Tracy, own Keepsake Cidery in Dundas and are passionate about local businesses and farm-fresh food. Nate was happy to share his wealth of knowledge with me about some of his favorite local spots to eat, drink, and explore around Keepsake. 

Martha's Eats and Treats Dundas MN and Little Joy Coffee
Photos by Author, Allison Vincent

The Best Egg-Salad Sandwich of your life + Coffee

1. Martha’s Eats & Treats

📍 236 Railway St N, Dundas, MN 55019
📞 (507) 645-2984

Listen, we are NOT morning people.  But, we centered our itinerary around Martha’s because they are only open Friday and Saturday mornings from 6 AM to 2 PM. 

Just as Nate promised, it was well worth the early morning hustle.  Leslie had what she declared, “The best egg salad sandwich of [her] life.”  I opted for one of the “treat” offerings indulging in a light and crispy cream cheese Danish baked to perfection.  It is a must-visit for sure. 

Pro-tip: Martha’s is cash only, but there is an ATM in the bar next door.

2. Little Joy Coffee

🌐 littlejoycoffee..>

After a scrumptious breakfast, we headed to Northfield for one of Nate’s coffee shop recommendations, Little Joy Coffee.  Northfield has a quaint, college town vibe thanks to both St. Olaf and Carlton campuses residing in town.  This means there are several great coffee shops to choose from.  We were drawn to Little Joy by the intriguing list of seasonal featured drinks and flavors.  I ordered a horchata cold foam, which was absolutely delicious.  I was mad I didn’t order a large.  Leslie got a regular coffee so we could really taste the flavor of the beans from Groundwire Coffee Roasters.  It was smooth, strong, and exactly what we needed to window shop in downtown Northfield and wander around the Saturday farmer’s market.   

Historic Saint Paul Homes in Irvine Park (photo wikipedia)

Sightseeing and Outdoor Activities

1. Cannon River Wilderness Area

🌐 Cannon River Map

2. Lake Byllesby Regional Park | Dakota County

🌐 Lake Byllesby Park, Beach, Campground

There are two state parks right around Keepsake Cidery and tons of gorgeous wildlife and trails to explore.  Because it was one of our first summer days in Minnesota, we headed for the beach after exploring downtown Northfield.  Lake Byllesby Beach is a fun, family-friendly park with great amenities.  There is a bathhouse to change into swimwear, an outdoor shower, a kids’ splash pad, sand volleyball courts, a nature-themed playground, huge fire pits, and of course, a sand beach.  We camped out in some adirondack chairs and soaked up the sun. 

Once we started to turn pink, we went for a walk on a nearby path before heading toward our first beer of the day…

tanzenwald brewing and craft beer flights
photos (and food sampling) by Allison and Leslie

Northfield, MN Brewery Tour (and Cocktails)

(Most of these can also be found in our Collaboration Beer Passport with the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild)

Tanzenwald Brewing

📍 103 Hwy 3 North, Northfield, MN 55057

Next, Leslie and I headed to catch part of the UEFA Real Madrid vs. Liverpool match at Imminent Brewery.  Imminent is a classic, neighborhood brewery that prides itself on creating a safe space for everyone to enjoy.  They are members of We Vow, an organization dedicated to making breweries and the brewing industry free from sexual harassment and assault of any kind through training and education.  

photo by Riley S. Irvine Park fountain in downtown Saint Paul, MN

Imminent Brewing

📍 519 Division St S #2, Northfield, MN 55057

Next, Leslie and I headed to catch part of the UEFA Real Madrid vs. Liverpool match at Imminent Brewery.  Imminent is a classic, neighborhood brewery that prides itself on creating a safe space for everyone to enjoy.  They are members of We Vow, an organization dedicated to making breweries and the brewing industry free from sexual harassment and assault of any kind through training and education.  

Imminent features excellent beer and hosts a variety of food trucks throughout the week.  Their spacious patio also gives folks plenty of elbow room to enjoy a pint and play one of the many board games the brewery has available.  I was a big fan of their Irish Red and the tart, summery Vaya sour. For Leslie, the dragon squirrel IPA was her summertime flavor of choice.  

chapel brewing minnesota craft brewery

Chapel Brewing

📍 15 Hester St, Dundas, MN 55019

As our adventure started to wind down, we headed back to Dundas to try out Chapel Brewery, a site “steeped in history.”  This place was so cute and picturesque.  The building was, as its name suggests, a chapel originally built in 1880. 

 The interior is intimate and charming, but there is additional seating on the beautiful patio and garden area that sit right on the Canon River.  You can even rent a canoe or kayak in Dundas and paddle up for a beer if that’s what floats your boat. In the colder months, the patio is tented and heated to continue offering additional space.  

From our flights, my favorite was the refreshing Kolsch.  It was light, crisp, and perfect for enjoying the sounds of the river and the local musician who was playing Paul Simon tunes on the patio.  Leslie enjoyed their Irish Red.

Photo by Allison

Loon Liquor Distillery

📍 Loon Liquors Distillery: 1325 Armstrong Rd. #165, Northfield, MN, 55057

On the outside, it looks like a normal office park, but once you find your way through the maze of hallways, Loon Liquor Company is an elegant, steampunk-inspired escape.  We were greeted with a shot of their new Lac Couer blueberry liqueur before ordering.  Loon has a diverse selection of cocktails to choose from, or if you are a purist, they offer flights of their signature spirits.  I thoroughly enjoyed the Citrus Gin Fizz that sparkled with mango, grapefruit, lemon, and lime and Leslie raved about the Rosemary Fitzgerald that featured gin and house-made aromatic herbs.   

Leslie was so impressed with the quality that we purchased one of their “take-home craft cocktail kits,” a prepackaged box with all the ingredients you need to make one of Loon’s signature cocktails at home.

keepsake cidery and tasting room dundas, mn
keepsake cidery and tasting room dundas, mn
craft cider flights keepsake cidery and tasting room dundas, mn

Apple picking, orchard, and cider-drinking at Keepsake Cider’s Tasting Room and farm!

Keepsake Cidery Tasting Room

📍 445 Smith Ave N, St Paul, MN 55102
📞 651-222-1857
🌟 River Valley Reserve

Last, but certainly not least, we ended our day at Keepsake.  I had already gotten to experience the outstanding ciders and ambiance during my interview with Nate, but Leslie was so floored by the amazing food, drink, and decor that her first thought was “So we’re obviously coming back as soon as possible, right?”  And right she is.  Keepsake is an immediate add to our “Places We Love to Visit” list.  Besides the natural beauty of the farm, Keepsake features Friday night cookouts and live music Saturdays to enjoy during your visit.  Check their website to see what events and guest artists they are featuring each week. 

Co-owner and head cider maker Nate Watters set out to make his orchard and cidery a respite for people, and we think he nailed it.  Patrons are welcome to wander the orchard and see how the fruit that makes their drinks grows.  This is legit farm-to-table in action and is an extra special aspect of what makes Keepsake so unique. 

I am not exaggerating when I say that every single thing we ordered or tried was a winner.  My top favorites, which we bought in take-home bottle form, include the champagne-style Aura, refreshing Ice, and rich, boozy Snow Fort.   

10/10 would recommend.

“We hope you enjoyed reading about our day trip to Northfield/Dundas to visit Keepsake.

The core aspect of what makes Keepsake so special is its people.  The staff is incredibly friendly and cares deeply about their craft and the natural world around them. Both times I visited, co-owner Nate was making his rounds about the various seating areas, checking in on customers, and offering them free tastes of his latest cider creations.  He is a man on a mission to share his passion for apples and naturally fermented beverages, and I’m pleased to say he has two new converts in Leslie and me. 


Allison & Leslie

Craft Notes fan, Writer.

Photo Tour (Google Story)

Get the Passport

Keepsake Cidery and their tasting room are featured in our Official Collaboration with the MN Cider Guild Passport Card and on our Mobile App. Additional photos and video tour on instagram.

A Map to Tom’s Recommendations & our stops from the day

(click map layers and select Thomas Shroeder to filter)