As I sit here with a tulip of tasty local brew on my left, a small dog curled into a ball on my right and a Powerbook in front of me, I can’t help but ponder
snow… er… 2007 and the great beer, great people and great times. For your pleasure, a quick rundown…
I made some predictions for 2007. Some of them came true. 400 or more people enjoyed great beer at Winterfest. Flat Earth Brewing Co. debuted their first beer, a Belgian Pale Ale at the event. I think it’s only fair to say that a good time was had by all. The Upper Mississippi Mash-Out homebrew contest was huge. I volunteered and somehow took home a second place medal as well. Later in the month, we were all a bit surprised by some beer legislation that just didn’t sound quite right… Mpls. St. Paul chose Summit as the best brewery in the Twin Cities. And finally, local craft beer fans What Ales Thee took to the digital airwaves with their first podcast.
Schell’s Bockfest. Fitger’s Bockfest. We were Banana-ed. KSTP’s Jason Davis visited Schell’s. First Crack interviewed Jeff Williamson from Flat Earth Brewing Co. The ‘Pig & The ‘Gnome broke up. ss
We encouraged you to vote for another establishment aside from Old Chicago for “Best Beer Selection” for City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities.” City Pages picked The Muddy Pig. Readers still picked Old Chicago. The PedalPub arrived in Minnesota. Minnesota Monthly highlighted a number of Minnesota beers in their “Best in Summer Brews.”
As I predicted, Schell’s updated their Zommerfest recipe. They did not, of course, follow my predictions, but instead, they added local honey to the recipe. We put a dent in Al’s kegs celebrating Dawn’s 30th birthday at the Blue Nile. We made good work of a poor keg of Flat Earth Pale Ale and Surly One. Surly allowed their fans to choose the name of one of their beers (Bitter Brewer). The Muddy Pig and Surly also got a nod from City Pages’ “Best of the Twin Cities.” Scandia became Summit’s bottled “summer beer,” replacing their hefeweizen (which went to thirsty Chicagoans) and their ESB became a regular part of the line-up.
Arborfest was a blast. In yet another bit of Surly madness, Pumphouse Creamery offered up a Surly Furious ice cream. Schell’s opened up their new hospitality complex… expanded museum, gift shop and a new tasting room. O’Hara’s Brew Pub in St. Cloud closed. Flat Earth Curly Tale Ale arrived at the Saints’ stadium. The bock was blessed at Town Hall. Surly started canning CynicAle. Flat Earth and homebrewing were both featured in the Strib.
The PedalPub found its way onto Fox 9. “Strong beer” became legal at the Minnesota State Fair. Flat Earth showed off their brewery with a grand opening. BeerAdvocate magazine named Surly the “#1 brewery in America.” Flat Earth announced that they’d have beer at Taste of Minnesota…in plastic bottles. Twin Cities Imbiber debuted.
MNBeer added three new contributors – Eric, Mag and Kris. McCann’s Food & Brew made plans to start up in the old home of O’Hara’s in St. Cloud and decided to keep O’Hara’s brewer, Chris Laumb. We began learing a bit about Doug Hoverson’s “Land of Amber Waters,” and were quite excited to know that someone had put in the time to document Minnesota’s brewing history. MNStories.com shared a nice piece on Gluek’s 150th anniversary. Local beer in the Pioneer Press.
Surly pulls off their first (disc) golf tournament. Surly in City Pages. Schell’s in the Strib. $1.00 Summit night at the Groveland Tap was scary (and fun)! Purdy new MNBeer t-shirts arrived. Beachscrat shared his “Darkness” bike. Michael Jackson died.
Autumn Brew Review sold out. Despite the rain, it was a great time and the new location (the old Grain Belt comlex in NE Minneapolis) was a nice change of pace and probably safer than Peavy Plaza. MNBeer and Twin Cities Imbiber found time to “run” a table at ABR as well and Jeff shared some spectacular beer with ABR fans. I did my part by, uh… drinking beer. Yup. Summit announces that they’ll be releasing 22 oz. bombers.
Oktoberfest. DUO Brewing started hinting about their project. I visited Lake Superior Brewing Co. (sans camera! Doh!). Dawn and I visited Flat Earth Brewing Co. just before they began rolling out bottles of their Belgian Pale Ale. Doug Hoverson was our first guinea pig for our “Six Pack” interviews.
MPR interviewed me about the hop shortage and rising barley prices. Dustin Brau and Chris Laumb also took part and helped to make the conversation more coherent. Mpls. St. Paul called Surly Furious the “best local beer.” Surly was also mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. Minnesota Monthly named Flat Earth the “best new brewery in Minnesota.” Colin showed the MNBeer crew around Barley John’s – we also chose Barley John’s Double IPA as our “Beer of the Month.”
No one was surprised when Winterfest sold out… again. Acadia Cafe announced that they were moving. People dragged out the Surly’s “D-Day” Darnkness discussion for far too long. Schell’s produced their millionth case of the year. Groveland Tap’s “Merry Firkin Christmas” was a blast. Schell’s announced that the 2006 Snowstorm (a stout) would become a year-round beer, Schell’s Stout. Strib called us a “web gem.” McCann’s started serving beer. Mpls. St. Paul gave us the nod. And finally, even though it’s not yet posted, we chose Fitger’s Amsterdam Ale as our December beer of the month!
This is just a sampling of all of the cool things that have taken place in the last year. Let’s all hope for great things for all of our craft beer friends in the coming year! Drink up, stay safe!