Author: David

Ale Asylum MN Launch

In 2012 we dropped a hint to Madison’s Ale Asylum that maybe they ought to look westward for expansion. Clearly they got the message and have dutifully spent the past five years planning, toiling and experimenting on the willing subjects of Wisconsin just to perfect their beers before their Minnesota release. What an honor. Thanks, guys.

In celebration of the border jump they’ve scheduled a series of events culminating on Friday at Republic in Minneapolis where, starting at 6:00, they’ll tap five of their standard beers along with a pair of rare, barrel-aged ones. Get there early and be rewarded with commemorative glassware. BONUS: the patio will be open and heated so bring your toques and mittens to celebrate outside.


Ale Asylum MN Launch Week
12/13 – Ox Cart Ale House, St. Paul, 6-9pm
12/14 – The Happy Gnome, St. Paul, 4-7pm
12/14 – Kelly’s Tap House & Grill, Red Wing, 5-7pm
12/15 – Republic, Mpls, 6-8pm

Lawyers, Refrigerators and Money

The Minnesota Legislative session is nigh, and with that, constituents will surely again take up the call to pass a bill for Sunday Sales of alcohol in Minnesota.  Supporters (and I’m one) have been taking up the cause for several years now and progress continues to be made, but passage seems just beyond reach. I do believe it will pass, eventually, but faith only goes so far, so do contact your legislators to voice your support for Sunday Sales in Minnesota.  

We are fortunate, though, that is our only fight. Our state rules, as they pertain to beer, are not as vulnerable to influence from industry heavyweights like they are in other states. In Missouri, for example Senate Bill 919 has been introduced and within you’ll see the political gamesmanship that occurs in rulemaking; one likeable item paired with a non-likeable item in hopes that they’ll pass together or fail together (and then why not throw in a third piece permitting use of a specific device, the language of which was likely put forth by the manufacturer of said device).

Let’s look at the three subparts from the end of the bill to the beginning.  

331.205 – the one where patrons use a self-dispensing machine at a licensed establishment.  Ok, fine, I can see some utility in that. Have you tried the self-serve beer machine at Target Field?  Me neither. 

331.201 – the one where you can get a growler filled just about anywhere that sells packaged beer. Great! Well, the language about labeling seems a bit onerous for the retail establishment, but it’s nice to be able to fill growlers at a liquor store (looking at you, Hudson, WI).

And the coup de grace:

331.198 – the one where the Missouri Small Brewer’s Guild (MSBG) gets riled-up. It allows for brewers and wholesalers to lease fridge space in a retail establishment through a portable unit (as “portable” as a seven-foot by four-foot fridge can be).  

The MSBG asserts this language comes from AB/InBev which I cannot confirm nor deny, but seems likely, because this is Missouri and this bill was introduced by a Senator from suburban St. Louis. Regardless of where it came from – is this grab for retail space by actually paying for it an assault on smaller craft brewers that can’t afford a “pay-to-play” approach? Perhaps. It’s my suspicion few brewers would be able to bear the cost of a unit like this. Anheuser Busch, though…    

But how gullible are we? The end product could also be nothing more than an eyesore to consumers and a headache for retailers who need to find space for a 66 cubic-foot branded refrigerator. Is this an ill-fated marketing attempt by larger producers or is this an indicator of the fight to come within the beer industry? Time will tell.  Perhaps this is a bill that is designed to die in committee so the senator can claim victory for putting it forth, but not shoulder the ire of having it passed.  

And hey, that’s not even in Minnesota!  Why worry? That type of stuff would NEVER happen here. Right?


Bad Weather Brewing Taproom Grand Opening October 9


Good news! Bad Weather Brewing has completed their migration to West 7th in Saint Paul and will open the doors to the new taproom on October 9th.  Four brand new beers will be on tap that day, as well as the lineup they’ve come to be known for.

This is welcome news for Saint Paul [and its residents who prefer to bike to breweries…namely me] as well as visitors to the Xcel Energy center, which is just a few blocks straight down 7th from the taproom.

Cheers to the the crew at Bad Weather for all their hard work renovating their new space.


Bad Weather Bar (Image Source:

Bad Weather Taproom Bar (Image Source:


Opens Friday 5/22 – The Brewer’s Table at Surly Brewing Co.

Tea Egg

Tea Egg at The Brewer’s Table (Photo: DD)

Located in the upper level of the brewery, The Brewer’s Table, Surly’s fine-dining sibling to the Beer Hall & Restaurant, opens this Friday and offers patrons a more ambitious menu and more intimate setting than what is found downstairs.

Creating the fine dining experience at a brewery has been a welcome challenge for both Executive Chef Jorge Guzman and Head Brewer Todd Haug; each of them masters of their craft, now tasked with innovating while also keeping the pairing of food and beer in the back of their minds.

The results of that collaboration are outstanding and belie the modest price point.  Entrees on the menu will be changed regularly and range in price from $10 to $25.  The most intriguing option, in my opinion is the $15 Beer and  Bump, where the diner has no clue what they’re getting other than is is a food paired with a beer.  I’m a sucker for a surprise.

A five-course food and beer pairing can be had for $75. You could combine your own, but you’ll be well-served to leave it to the experts. The pairing of Pentagram with beets & foie gras was an exercise in perfectly contrasting flavors. The tea egg paired with Cynic was a piece of art – a soft-boiled egg, steeped in black tea and a charcoal mixture to give a marbled appearance – and showed just how versatile that stalwart of Surly’s lineup is.


Octopus & Chorizo @ The Brewer’s Table (Photo: DD)

While the butter-soft pork jowl is a must-have, I will go out of my way to have the octopus and chorizo again.  Spicy and smoky with a perfect texture one would not expect from a cephalopod, it was perfectly complemented by an Overrated West Coast IPA.

A different experience in different parts of the building – to paraphrase Surly Hospitality Director Linda Haug – is what Surly is offering patrons with their tours, Event Center, Beer Hall & Restaurant, and The Brewer’s Table. With the opening of the latter, the Surly vision is complete and ready to be had.




The Brewer's Table at Surly Brewing

(Photo: DD)


The Brewer’s Table

520 Malcolm Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Reservations via OpenTable can be made here.


Wednesday & Thursday: 5-10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 5-11 p.m.

Phone: 763-999-6526



Friday 5ive: The Thin White Flu, Instead

I had grand plans of seeing the David Bowie Is exhibit in Chicago this week before it closes January 4th, but life got in the way and I was stuck home with the flu. Here’s some Bowie covers to make up for my loss:


Golden Smog – Starman

They put it on an album, but luckily somebody recorded this portion of a live version at the Cedar.


Dandy Warhols – The Jean Genie

Something they’ve done live, but it’s more fun to listen to them stumble through this album version.


Nine Inch Nails – I’m Afraid of Americans

A perfect combination for me: “Earthling” Bowie is one of my favorite phases of his, and I listened to NIN every time I mowed the lawn at age 14.


M-Ward – Let’s Dance

Doesn’t have to be bigger to be better (or equal, in this case)


Beck – Sound and Vision

And now for something completely different.