Category: beer education

All Pints North Suggestions

all pints north

All Pints North is Saturday! It’s one of our very favorite festivals for a number of reasons, some of which don’t even involve beer. For me, Duluth holds some amazing memories. My grandpa was a salesman (Glad bags, Old Spice, Del Monte, Air Wick, etc.) who worked with grocery stores in Duluth and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In any case, a few times a year my family would roll up to Duluth and we’d explore the city and the surrounding area. I love Lake Superior, the city’s rich history and the fact that it’s just a unique place in Minnesota.

If you don’t have tickets for All Pints North on Saturday, you’re too late as it’s sold out. If you’re going, you’re in for a treat – a great festival on the edge of the largest lake in the world. Kick back at Bayfront Festival Park from 3-7pm, partake in some beer education, enjoy some tunes from Viva Knievel and Private Oates, have a bite (I’m partial to The Rambler and of course Natedogs) and have a good time. With over 120 breweries present, you’re sure to find a beer or fifty to enjoy as well.

If you’d like to check out all of the beers available for the festival, download the All Pints North app for IOS or Android. We’ve perused the list and here are just a few that we’s suggest you try. Let us know what you think!

August Schell/Starkeller Framboise du Nord
It’s back! This is a phenomenal beer that we’re glad to see return to All Pints North. Our friends at August Schell have the Berliner Weiss variants dialed in and this will no doubt be a tart and refreshing punch of raspberry bliss. Also try: Tidal Disruption (blackberry Berliner Weiss), Electrik Empress (plum Berliner Weiss).

Bemidji Brewing Honeyberry Sour
Quickly. Guess what’s in this beer… If you guessed “honey” and “berries” you’re wrong. Don’t feel bad, I was too. As luck would have it, honeyberries are blueberry-like fruit from honeysuckle. Make sense right? Bemidji Brewing added locally-grown honeyberries to their barrel-aged golden sour. It’s quite tasty.

Bent Paddle Citrus Party Kanū
I had the pleasure of enjoying this a couple of weeks ago at Rare Beer Picnic. To no one’s surprise, I really enjoy Kanū, Bent Paddle’s Session Pale Ale. I’m a sucker for Citra and Idaho 7 hops. Citrus Party ads citrus (go figure) zest to the mix. The result? Everything I love about Kanū and more. 

Dangerous Man Vic’s Secret Single Hop IPA
Vic’s Secret is an Australian hop that has nothing to do with lacy undergarments. It’s been on my list of hops that need to find their way into my beer for about a year. Dangerous Man suggests juicy melon notes with a citrusy, balanced finish. BSG suggests that the hop has a “clean and bright tropical character (passionfruit, pineapple) with supporting notes of fresh herbs and pine needles.” Sold!

Fair State Barrel-Fermented du Pounde
So I really like blueberries… and beer. This particular beer is a sour version of Fair State’s Saison du Pounde, refermented on blueberries. Fair State is quite making some of the best sour beers around and no doubt this will not be an exception. Cheers!

Hoops Brewing #5050 Hefeweizen
My summer has been a bit short on Hefeweizens. Whether it was my relocation or market availability, I just haven’t enjoyed enough Hefeweizens this summer. So you, dear reader, have been tasked with enjoying some in my stead. The folks at Hoops Brewing know their way around this style, and I can’t think of anything better to enjoy on a warm summer day.

Indeed Wooden Soul #5, Saison de la Pomme
This beer was another standout from Rare Beer Picnic. This is a wood-aged, sour Saison fermented with fresh-pressed Winesap apple juice from Milk and Honey Ciders. Tart, fruity and damned tasty.

Junkyard “Jelly the Nut” Peanut Butter and Jelly Stout
Peanut butter beers aren’t really my thing. I’ll drink a short pour, but usually that’s enough. Much like my dislike for Mosaic hops, it’s a personal preference more than anything. As is the case, I never really order them. So when I had a beer a couple of weeks ago with Joe and Will from Lift Bridge, I begrudgingly tried Will’s beer. I enjoyed it. Suffice to say that if you dig peanut butter porters or stouts, this offering from my new neighborhood watering hole is totally worth trying. Junkyard adds raspberry puree to their take on a peanut stout and it’s nothing short of a peanut butter sandwich gone mad. Dig it.

Minneapolis Town Hall Manhattan Reserve
When you see this on the menu, you shut up and drink it. This is Town Hall’s excellent Grand Cru aged on tart cherries…and in bourbon barrels. It’s really nothing short of amazing and not always easy to come by. Just do it.

Utepils Ewald the Superior
Drink Hefeweizen (see above). This particular Hefeweizen is dry-hopped and created especially for All Pints North. Utepils has making some extremely tasty german-style beers and this should be no exception.

Enjoy All Pints North! Be sure to browse our Beer Festival Survival Guide to help you make the most out of the event!


Beer Smarts Class Back in Session at Modist

Modist Education Director Paige Latham will again be hosting her Beer Smarts class at the brewery beginning on March 6th. The six-week course will cover water, grains, hops, fermentation, evaluating beer, food and beer pairing, and the popular optional 7th session which is a beer dinner with chef Ian Gray from The Curious Goat and The Smoking Cow. Tickets for the optional four course dinner will cost $50 and the seats are limited.

I had the opportunity to sit in on one of these sessions and I was very impressed. Paige is very knowledgeable and is the perfect person to teach such a class. She’s the woman behind the blog Alcohol by Volume and is the beer expert at Heavy Table. She also worked at The Four Firkins in St. Louis Park where she became a Cicerone Certified Beer Server.

Tickets for the six sessions are on sale for $60 and you can find them here. See the schedule below:

Session 1: Beer History and Water (3/6/17)

  • Intro to course
  • History of brewing
  • Properties of water
  • Ratio of grain to water / “gravity”
  • Beers famous for water reasons

Session 2: Grains and malting (3/13/17)

  • Focus on malted grain / barley
  • German Purity Law
  • Other sources of sugar (candied sugar, lactose)
  • What happens when water meets grain
  • Beers famous for grain reasons
  • Mini brewery tour!

Session 3: Hops (3/20/17)

  • Hops – what they are, how they’re grown, and where they’re grown
  • From the filter to the boil kettle
  • Hop additions and other additives

Session 4: Fermentation (3/27/17)

  • Historical significance of yeast as magic / God / luck
  • Classification of yeast
  • An overview of fermentation
  • Significant yeast strains through history and by style
  • Other methods of fermentation
  • The bright tank (forced carbonation vs natural)

Session 5: Evaluating Beer (4/10/17)

  • Packaging beer
  • Beer service (cleanliness/glassware)
  • Beer expiration
  • Critical evaluation and tasting
  • How to improve your palate
  • Good beer gone bad: off flavor training

Session 6: Food and Beer Pairing (4/24/17)

  • Why pair beer with food?
  • Pairing with beer vs wine
  • Basic taste elements
  • Congruent vs complementary food and beer pairing
  • Pairing tips and tricks

Bev-Craft Seeks to Improve Minnesota Beer

Tim Nelson and Dave Hoops left Fitger’s Brewhouse over a year ago with hopes of improving the quality of Minnesota beer by starting a consulting business called Bev-Craft. A “think tank” is what they like to call it. Dave Hoops who is the Director of Brewing Operations is excited to lend his experience to new breweries seeking to improve their beer. “Unless you’re someone like Sierra Nevada, you should always be trying to make better beer” says Hoops.

Dave and a team of cicerones tasted over a hundred beers (locally made) at the state fair and gave feedback, positive and negative to breweries around the state. The goal was to give honest advice to some of the breweries looking to improve their beer. “I’m overly opinionated” he said. “But I’m fair.” Dave also serves as a judge at the Great American Beer Festival which gives him a head up on most brewers (in my book) here in Minnesota.

Tim Nelson acts as CEO while Dave Hoops heads up the brewing operations. Brad Nelson (Tim’s brother) is in charge of the branding while Paul Christensen is responsible for sales. “Basically we’re here to help breweries start up. We’re also specialized consultants. That doesn’t mean that I’m approaching them. People that have a question, we’re there to help” says Hoops.

In an overcrowded local market, this can only be a good thing. Especially with all of the sub-par beer being produced by the newer breweries. My advice to new breweries looking to open….don’t serve your beer until it’s ready.

Quality should always come first. And if you need help, reach out to the professionals.


Beers to seek out at the Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is the place for gimmicky food, and beer of course is no different. This year there will be a couple of new beers that fit this category including a cider and another beer based on a deep fried sugar bomb staple of the fair. We’re not gonna waste any time, so here are some beers that you may want to seek out at The Great Minnesota Get Together.

Mini Donut Beer from Lift Bridge – Yep, this is a huge hit every year at the fair and it’s not going away anytime soon. This malt monster is a real treat, one that I only want once a year. The cinnamon sugar rimmed glass gives a much needed touch to base of this beer. You can find this at Ball Park Café.

Hopmosa from Bent Paddle Brewing – No, this doesn’t taste exactly like a mimosa—but the folks at Bent Paddle know a thing or two about infusing beers. The beer being infused is Bent Hop IPA and the addition of orange zest will only make this more appealing on a hot summer day. Find this over at Ball Park Café.

Sociable Caramel Apple Cider from Sociable Cider Werks – Jim Watkins over at Sociable Cider Werks is known for carefully sourcing the apples that he uses in his products over at the taproom in Northeast Minneapolis. This one is a blend of a few different varieties along with a simple syrup he concocted with a little help from a childhood friend. Expect this to be topped off with an apple slice drizzled with caramel. You’ll only find this at Giggles Campfire Grille.

Red Sangria Lager from Schell’s – Radlers are known for being a tad sweet, yet make for a refreshing summer treat. This one promises to be less sweet but should deliver in terms of drinkability on an 85-degree day in Minnesota. The beer is said to feature flavors of elderberries, pear, citrus, and apples. It’s only 4.8% ABV and will be topped with a Red Citrus Sangria Beer Foam. The Schell’s Stage Stand might be my first stop. It’s also available at LuLu’s Public House.

Funnel Cloud from Bad Weather Brewing – This would seem at first glance to be a sugar bomb. Joe at Bad Weather tells me otherwise stating that this won’t be overly sweet like some of the others. I’m skeptical, but head brewer Andy Ruhland knows what he’s doing over there, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Expect this to have undertones of vanilla and cinnamon/sugar. This beer is exclusive to Mancini’s Alfresco so it will only be available there.

Your best bet though is to visit the Land of 10,000 Beers Exhibit near the food building where you can purchase a flight of beer to wash down those cheese curds. This is where you will get a real taste of the beer being made here in Minnesota.


Get Your Autumn Brew Review Tickets at NOON TODAY!

Look forward to many smiling faces at Autumn Brew Review. Hi Chelsea!

Look forward to many smiling faces at Autumn Brew Review 2016. Hi Chelsea!

(TL-WR*) Tickets are $45 and you can grab them here. Autumn Brew Review takes place on September 17th from 1-5pm.

Yes today… Tuesday, July 26th. Don’t screw this up!

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild-sponsored festival is one of my very favorite festivals and if past history is any indicator, you’ll want to be on your computer right at noon for a chance to grab tickets as everyone else seems to enjoy the event as well.

ABR runs from 1-5pm Saturday, September 17th at the Historic Grain Belt Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis and will feature more beer than you can possibly drink from more than 130 participating breweries. If that’s not enough for you, there will be live music, food vendors, beer education and more.

*Too long, won’t read. Lazy fuckers.