Author: Tyler

Northeast Minneapolis Beer Fest and Homebrew Competition


For the third consecutive year, the East Side Neighborhood Services is proud to offer a beer fest in the historic Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood. The fest will take place on Saturday October 19th, 1:00pm-4:00pm at the Historic Grain Belt Bottling House located at 79 13th Avenue NE, Minneapolis.  An ever-updating list of participating breweries can be found here.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.  In addition to, tickets can also be purchased at North Loop Liquor on 2nd Ave downtown Minneapolis.  All proceeds from the Brew Fest go to the ESNS, who provide community support and assistance in various capacities throughout northeast Minneapolis.

But wait, there’s more!

In addition, local homebrew club the Nordeast Brewers Alliance is holding the 2nd Nordeast Big River Homebrew Competition.   This is a BJCP sanctioned competition for all BJCP beer styles (no mead or cider).  There are also two additional categories, American Wild Ale and 100% Brett, so unleash the wild ales and bring out the funk!  Registration opens Saturday August 24th at Judges and stewards are welcome to sign up as well; judging will be October 12 & 13.  Winners will be announced at the Nordeast Big River Brew Fest on October 19.  Check out the promo from Chop & Brew here.

It’s always a great time in Northeast Minneapolis.  Come for the art, stay for the beer!

Spring Ale Fest – April 6th

What do you get when you combine 14 local breweries, food trucks and a boxing gym in northeast Minneapolis?  The Spring Ale Fest!

April 6th will mark the 2nd Annual Spring Ale Fest.  This year the fest will be held indoors at the Uppercut Gym in Northeast Minneapolis (1324 Quincy St NE).  Most other days of the year Uppercut is home to boxers and trainers, April 6th will see the space set up for drinking. The gym will be stripped down to one ring, and local music group, White Dad, will be providing the tunes.

The event is sponsored by and benefits Nice Ride Minnesota, the community bike sharing program you can find in just about every neighborhood in Minneapolis.  The Spring Ale Fest also marks the kick-off to the 2013 Nice Ride season!  (Someone tell Mother Nature.)  There will be plenty of bike parking at Uppercut, and there are a few Nice Ride stations in close proximity to the event.

Last year eight breweries were showcased; this year ups the ante to 14.  Local favorites such as Dangerous Man, Northgate, 612Brew and Indeed will be representing their turf, plus other local favorites, and even one or two that are coming from just across the Mississippi.  Check out the entire list here.

While on the smaller side compared to some of the beer fests in the area, this festival limits the tickets to keep a favorable ratio of brewers to drinkers. Long lines won’t be an issue, and there will be great food from Rusty Taco and Stanley’s Bar Room to soak up the libations.

Last year the event sold out, and this year is on pace to sell out this week, so go over to and grab some of the last ones!  VIP tickets are $60 and get you into the fest an hour early, 1-5pm, as well as a special souvenir mug.  Regular tickets are $40 and get you access from 2-5pm.

If you have any questions, direct them to


Herkiwho? New Ideas at The Herkimer

The Herkimer was one of the first bars I visited upon moving to Minneapolis. Looking for a place to watch the Packer game on a brisk Sunday, I had heard good things about the crowd and the food, but was up in the air on the beer.

Winterfest 2013

The very dapper Lift Bridge Brewing Co.

The very dapper Lift Bridge Brewing Co.

In a flurry of snow and icy temps Winterfest 2013 has come and gone. The Minnesota History Center played host to the annual festival put on by the MN Craft Brewer’s Guild on Friday February 1st in St. Paul. This event, while potentially prohibitive in cost for some, offered an intimate setting to sample craft brews from 38 of Minnesota’s great breweries.  This year showcased the staples of the MN breweries, and also welcomed a slew of new breweries.

Borealis Fermentery

Borealis Fermentery

As there were only 750 tickets sold, attendants were given the opportunity to talk with the brewers about their craft while sampling some tasty offerings without having to wait in lengthy lines.

Harriet Brewing

Harriet Brewing Co.

It would be impractical to list all the great beers that were sampled, but some definitely stood out.  A smashing availability of winter seasonals were on display but that wasn’t the only thing on tap.  A few personal favorites were Bemidji Brewing Co’s Sour Red, Fitger’s barrel aged Edmund Bourbon Imperial Stout, Fulton’s Double IPA, Lift Bridge’s Silhouette, Borealis’ Homdinger and of course all the new breweries representing Nordeast Minneapolis.

The Snowshoe for Best of the Fest was again awarded for to Barley John’s Brew Pub for best beer as well as best brewery as voted by the crowd. Congratulations for consecutive years with the Snowshoe!

Thank you to the MN Craft Brewer’s Guild for putting on an impressive festival once again!  I’m sure many of the attendants woke up today thankful this only happens once a season.

Surly Brewing Co.

Surly Brewing Co.

First Look: 612Brew

612 brew logoYou might have heard of 612 Brew.  (Pronouned “Six-One-Two” – not “Six-Twelve”).  You might have been told they were a t-shirt company.  You were wrong.  While 612Brew has been conceptualized for several years, and they have been selling t-shirts emblazoned with an early logo, 612Brew is a soon to be addition to the growing nordeast Minneapolis beer scene.  If you follow their Facebook page, you’ll notice they’re making great strides to turn their building on Central and Broadway into a brewery.   A while back I had the chance to talk with the guys of 612 Brew while they were brewing a test batch in their garage.   Here’s what you should know about 612 Brew.

The 612 Crew: Ryan Libbey, Robert Kasak, Jamey Rossbach, Adam Schill (not pictured: Adit Karla)

Ryan Libby, Robert Kasak, Adit Karla, Jamey Rossbach and Adam Schill make up 612 Brew.  Adam is the head brewer and has previously worked at Magic Hat, Tyranena and Cold Springs learning all facets of the brewery’s process.  Adam and Robert will assume the brewing work, while Ryan will focus on marketing, Jamie on sales and marketing, and Adit is the wheelin’ and dealin’ businessman of the group.

Years ago at a B&B in Duluth, Robert had a few flights at Fitger’s and saw the how expansive the world of beer can be.  When he started homebrewing some 6 odd years ago, there weren’t many locally produces American Pale Ales.   While you could find Sierra Nevada at the local liquor store, you never really know how long it’s been on the shelf – Chico’s quite the drive.  Starting with kits allowed for good batches of beer, but it felt like buying frozen cookie dough and baking it.  The product is tried and true, but it doesn’t change.  By 2009, Robert had his recipes dialed in for what would become the base of the 612 line up.

The goal of 612 Brew is to bring that feeling of hanging out in a garage with friends to the big scene.  With beers that aren’t over the top in alcohol, and the personalities the individual members exude, this shouldn’t be a problem.  In my short time with the 612 Crew, it was apparent these are the kind of guys anyone can get along with, and some killer brews definitely helps.  612 Brew is building a taproom on site to convey their relaxed atmosphere, and will also be made available to a selection of local bars and taverns.

The question they hear all the time is why has it taken so long for the concept to come to fruition.  It’s not because the group was hesitant.  612 Brew is wholly owned and financed by the 612 crew.  Without any outside investors, they had to amass enough capital to do things right.  When that point was reached a while back, things started moving at full speed, and currently they are constructing their brew house.

Taking a little time to get going doesn’t bother them though.   Over the next 5 years, they envision the area blossoming into a destination beer area.  With the growth in Minneapolis, let alone the NE district, it’s hard to disagree.

While you can find a nice description of all the brews on their website, I was lucky enough to sample a few of them.  Here are my thoughts:

 Six – American Pale Ale, not overpowering from the malt or the hops, but something you could drink all night (or day) long.  Brewed entirely of American hops and malts, this session beer exudes what an American Pale Ale should be.

 Mary Ann – Ever had ginger ale?  Think of that, but “beery.”  This beer is something special that will bring people back to the 612 tap room.  Using fresh ground ginger, this beer takes on all the flavor and spice, but none of the harshness the root can produce.

 Rated R – A Rye IPA, this offering hits the nose with the rye spice while at the same time bringing out the citrusy American hop aroma.

 When you consider the variety of beverages 612 Brew will be offering, it’s rather exciting to see yet another local brewery open up with yet another different lineup of brews.

When asked why they are starting a brewery in the booming Minnesota scene, Adat summed it up quite nicely.  “If we can’t make the next Facebook, we might as well make the next beer.”  612 Brew has the end of the year targeted for their first public release of their beer.  Until then, follow them online for updates.