Author: Ryan Tuenge

ABR Returns to Boom Island Park

The Autumn Brew Review is back and it returns to a familiar spot along the Mississippi River in Northeast Minneapolis. Proof of vaccination will be required to attend the event which will almost certainly leave some upset, but the health of the attendees and vendors is being put first during this uncertain time.

“The health and wellness of craft beer employees and customers is extremely important to the Guild, and so is continuing to host the festivals that energize and connect the craft beer community. As COVID continues to be a concern throughout the state, we felt it was our responsibility to do what we could to support community and industry safety at ABR,” says Bennett McGinty. “We know not everyone will be happy with the vaccine requirement, but our goal is to limit the potential negative impact our festival could have on community health, and allow people to be more confident in working, attending, and volunteering at ABR.”

This event will once again showcase Minnesota breweries and some of their finest creations on Saturday, October 16th beginning at 1:30 pm and going until 5 pm. These Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild events are often the best way to sample beers from breweries all across Minnesota without the long drive. “We hear from attendees all the time that they love how they actually get to talk with the head brewers and owners of Minnesota’s breweries at our festivals. Our fests are a great way for craft beer fans to connect in a new way with some of their favorite local businesses, and discover new places they haven’t been able to try yet,” said Lauren Bennett McGinty, Executive Director of the MNCBG.

One of those breweries is Hoops Brewing in Duluth. Dave Hoops who founded the brewery is known for his fruit concoctions as well as his ability to utilize hot peppers in a subtle way. Some of the beers he plans to bring include a Raspberry Wheat Ale, Bamberg Lager, Wood Smoked Hefeweizen, and a Pepper Ale.

Many of the local breweries will bring a special beer or two to spice things up and show attendees what they are capable of. One such beer that will be worth seeking out is the 2021 version of Lost Moon from Pryes Brewing in Minneapolis. This Russian Imperial Stout won Silver at the U.S. Open Beer Championship. Expect rich, roasted malts with Belgian candy sugar and notes of chocolate and caramel. Perfect for a fall day in the Twin Cities. They will also bring Cartographer, Star Seer, and a triple hopped honey DIPA featuring locally sourced honey.

The folks at Steel Toe haven’t solidified their choices yet, but expect to see Size 4, Provider, and Rainmaker on their menu. Rainmaker is one of the most underrated beers made in town. Classified as a Double Red Ale—this beer brings piney hops to the table with toasty caramel malts—and sports a lovely red hue when poured into your favorite glass. Be sure to seek this one out.

Tickets will cost $60 to attend, and $15 for sober drivers. ABR will happen rain or shine so be sure to keep an eye on the forecast. You can purchase tickets here.


Hygge Hoopla Virtual Beer Fest

This is a very strange time to be alive. We are asking everyone to isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19 which has been sweeping across the country at an alarming rate. While we’d love to be enjoying a beverage with our pals, we know that it’s not smart to be hanging in groups. The best part about uncertain times is the fact that we as humans find creative ways to navigate our current situation. Apps like FaceTime and Skype have been around for a while and were probably ahead of their time, but now more than ever we need to embrace such technology and be thankful for our ability to adapt to change.

Beer festivals are usually about gathering with people in person and sharing beverages but that is not possible during this time. The crew over at the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild has come up with an idea to bring people together virtually and they’re calling it Hygge Hoopla Beer Fest. This event will take place on Saturday, April 18th from 3 pm until 5 pm.

The cost will be $10 and will feature a whole lineup of speakers that will cover a variety of topics such as beer history, tasting notes, and food pairings. Your purchase will support the Silver Linings Fund which benefits industry workers in need. Below you will find the list of speakers for this event.


Jacob Schnabel, Spilled Grain Brewhouse
Linda Rae Holcomb, GLUEK BEER
Eric Harper, Utepils Brewing Co
Ryan Pitman, Eastlake Craft Brewery
Craig Richardson, Day Block Brewing Company
Derek Allmendinger, Unmapped Brewing Co
Matt Schwandt, Bauhaus Brew Labs
Ryan Petz, Fulton Beer
Gabe Smoley, Pryes Brewing Company
Jen Fox, Spiral Brewery
Matthew Lange, Lake Monster Brewing
Mike Willaford, Tin Whiskers Brewing Co.
Andy Klockow, Klockow Brewing Company
Dave Hoops, Hoops Brewing
Jeff Zierdt, Lupulin Brewing Company
Brian Schanzenbach, Blacklist Brewing Co.
Tim Wilson, Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Jace Marti, Schell’s Brewery

To purchase tickets to the event, please visit this link. Be safe, take care of yourselves, and support your local Minnesota breweries. We hope to see you at the event, but if not we’ll have to grab a pint when this is all over.


Winterfest 2020 Preview

Winterfest will take place inside the confines of U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time in the long history of the event. The Polaris Club will play host, and the lineup of beers looks to be fantastic as usual. More than 100 Minnesota breweries will be featured at the event and there will also be some small plate pairings to enjoy along with all of the beers. Here are some beers you should add to your list as you prepare for Winterfest.

American Tuxedo Sour from Bent Paddle Brewing – This Berliner weiss is brewed with real blackberries, pineapple, and Jarrylo hops. The ABV is around 8.3% which is rare for a sour, and perfect for a special occasion such as Winterfest.

Lunker Barleywine from Steel Toe Brewing – French oak barrels lend some dark chocolate notes to this fine ale that showcases flavors of toffee and caramel with a subtle burn of alcohol on the tail end of every sip. It’s very hard to find good examples of this style, and Steel Toe nails this year after year.

Snuggle Situation Chocolate Cherry Milk Stout from Ursa Minor Brewing – This rendition of a cherry cordial brings flavors of chocolate malt, cherries, and vanilla to the palate. Duluth has a reputation for being the home of fine local breweries, and Ursa Minor confirms this. Dessert anyone?

Blueberry Cobbler Ale from Dangerous Man Brewing – Ok, most of us are tired of all of these trendy pastry beers. But Dangerous Man brings all of these trendy styles to life, and does it so flawlessly. Flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and blueberries shine in this slightly tart ale that will change the way you think of pastry-style beers. This may be a contender for Best Beer at Winterfest.

Quadriga (2018) from Utepils – Classic styles seem to be out in the beer world. But don’t tell that to the folks at Utepils. They are making some of the best beer here in the Twin Cities, none of which are hazy IPAs. This Belgian Quad will remind you of why you got into homebrewing and craft beer. Toffee and caramel stand out in this fantastic version of a Quad that doesn’t typically exist the U.S. market. 

For those that don’t already have tickets, you can grab them here:


Three Beers to Seek Out at Autumn Brew Review

This year the folks at the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild decided to hold their annual Autumn Brew Review at the end of October to give festival attendees a better fall experience. In past years, the weather has been extremely warm and didn’t accurately represent fall in Minnesota. This year there will be fire pits, a goat petting zoo, food trucks, s’mores station, wiffle ball batting cages, and a nice lineup of beers to go with fall colors instead of the summer heat. Autumn Brew Review is one of the longest running beer festivals in the country, and a fall backdrop promises to enhance the experience. Here are three beers worth seeking out if you are attending the festival.

Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Dangerous Man – This is a wonderfully balanced beer that doesn’t assault your palate the way a pumpkin spiced latte does. Warming alcohol with a nice balance of malt, hops, and spices will make this a festival favorite.

Pudding Dribbles from Forager Brewing – Maple sap, vanilla, cinnamon, cacao nibs, and toasted coconut are just some of the ingredients used to make this addition to the ABR lineup. Surprisingly this beer is not too sweet and will be your go to beer next to one of those fire pits.

Wild Rice Porter from Inbound Brew Co. – Wild Rice Porters have long been a go-to fall beer, and Inbound captures the spirit of this style. Flavors of baker’s chocolate and nutty wild rice will win over the hearts of festival attendees.

If you would like to attend this event, you can grab your tickets here:


Winterfest 2019 Preview

It’s that time of year again. Dust off your best outfit and prepare for some of the biggest and most unique beers being made in town. The Union Depot will once again play host to Winterfest, which is the premier beer event and a fantastic showcase of food and beverage featuring only local breweries and restaurants. It’s fitting that the state capital (St. Paul)  is home to the premier Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild event.

The event was held at the Minnesota History Center for years, but the number of breweries has grown exponentially so it moved to the Union Depot a number of years ago. Food has been disappearing from beer festivals over the years to try and keep ticket prices down, but the food at Winterfest is usually very good and worth the bump in ticket prices.
Here are five beers that I’m looking forward to trying at this year’s event:
Ice Cream Social from Barrel Theory Beer Company – This Imperial Stout with strawberry, vanilla, cacao, and marshmallow was aged in Willet bourbon barrels. I don’t suppose this will last very long so you might want to put this near the top of your list.
Brave Woman Scottish Ale from Little Thistle Brewing – Steve Finnie knows his Scottish Ales, and I expect this to be one of my favorite beers at the festival. Named after his great, great grandmother who saved the lives of 15 fishermen in a storm, this beer promises notes of caramel, toffee, and chocolate. It boasts a modest 5% ABV which is always welcome at a festival that features so many heavy beers.
Twelve Parsecs from Junkyard Brewing – Lemonade meets IPA. Flavors of summer are here to save us from this bitter cold weather, and I’m excited to taste and smell those Ekuanot Cryo-Hops that they used at the end of the brewing process.
Munich-Style Dunkel from Steel Toe Brewing – Michael Wagner has been tinkering in the brewery over in St. Louis Park for a couple years now, and the results have been great so far. I’m excited to try out his version of this classic style which is very hard to anywhere these days.
#1225 Cherry Ale from Hoops Brewing – If there’s one thing that Dave and his crew are great at, it’s fruit beers. An unapologetic beer that is supposed to taste like cherry pie, just like your grandmother used to make. Door County cherries are the star of the show and will come through in both the flavor and the aroma.