Category: Steel Toe Brewing

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.

Cheers!

Indeed and Steel Toe Collaborate for an Old Favorite in Flock Together Series

You know that Black & Tan you used to order? Well two local breweries have collaborated to bring you a local version with the order reversed. A Tan & Black. Indeed Brewing out of Northeast and Steel Toe from St. Louis Park got together and made two beers with the intention that you’ll order them together in the same glass. The Indeed version is a Wood-Aged Blonde Ale and the Steel Toe beer is a Wood-Aged Rye Bock.

Both beers utilize English malts and were aged on honeycomb spirals from Black Swan Cooperage out of Park Rapids, Minnesota. The Blonde will feature notes of bread, honey, and oak while the Bock will add some chocolate, caramel, and wood flavors.

So why did they switch it from a Black & Tan to a Tan & Black? “I’ve always liked Steel Toe,” says Indeed Lead Brewer Dan Stavig, describing how the collaboration formed. “Michael Wagner (Steel Toe Brewer) and I struck on an idea that sounded unique to us: two different beers made at separate breweries, but designed to be blended together.”

Indeed has always been on top of collaborations and frequently joins forces with local and national breweries (Dangerous, Man, Schell’s, Hoops Brewing, Northbound Smokehouse, New Belgium, and more) to bring special beers to life. Steel Toe on the other hand has been rather quiet on that front with only a couple of collaborations under their belt. Sticky Bubbler with Surly last year for the Red Stag Block Party and a version of Sticker Fight with Boneyard Brewing out of Bend, Oregon.

You can get yourself a Tan & Black at Bunny’s Bar and Grill in St. Louis Park (pair it up with their wings) starting on April, 10th and at Pizza Luce in Roseville (try it with the Italian Sausage Parmigiana) on April, 12th.

Cheers!

Fading Trend: Black IPA

About five years ago there was a beer style that was showing up in taprooms all over the country with the intention of attracting fans of IPAs and Porter alike. They called this style a Black IPA which seemed silly considering the “p” in IPA stands for pale. It would later be re-named a Cascadian Dark Ale or CDA. At any rate, the style became so popular that some of the breweries starting canning their own version (think 21st Amendment’s Back in Black) for sale in liquor stores.

Some characteristics of this style are that the beer should be light bodied, roasty, and use plenty of northwestern US hops which provide flavors such as citrus and pine. Not many local breweries are making Cascadian Dark Ales and the future doesn’t look bright for them as Milkshake IPAs and Hazy New England IPAs continue to soar in popularity.

The only two local examples worth a damn are Steel Toe’s Douglas and Indeed’s Midnight Ryder and with good reason. The recipes and execution are on point unlike some of the others that have been attempted here in Minnesota. Indeed even decided to go with MIdnight Ryder as one of their original two flagships along with Day Tripper which was a bold move at the time. Will we see any local breweries attempt this style with any success again? The answer is most likely no.

The Land of 10,000 Beers (and more)

“Four and three and two and one, when I’m on the mic, the suckers run…” Hoops Brewing’s Dave Hoops raps with the audience in the Land of 10,000 Beers.

In case you live under a rock, the Minnesota State Fair starts today in St. Paul. Years ago, I had an office on Energy Park Drive and always cringed as the Fair approached. We usually had a flood of last minute creative and print work for a few big clients and the traffic always sucked. I’ve never understood why people choose to travel to or from the fair during rush hour. You’re smarter than that people!
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Land of 10,000 Beers
The Land of 10,000 Beer exhibit, courtesy of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild returns to the Ag/Horticulture Building for a 6th year with 300 beers from nearly 70 Minnesota breweries and brewpubs. Try all 300! Or maybe not. This year they’ve revamped the flight categories to align more-closely with Brewers Association beer categories: Crisp and Clean, Malty and Sweet, Dark and Roasty, Hoppy and Bitter and Fruity, and Spicy Tart and Funky. Our friends at Better Beer Society are also curating a “Blue Ribbon Flight” with hand-selected flights from our favorite nerds, BBS’ certified cicerones.

New this year is a refreshed rotation of beer flight categories that align with the Brewers Association of beer categories: visitors to the exhibit can select among different flights of beers — Crisp and Clean, Malty and Sweet, Dark and Roasty, Hoppy and Bitter and Fruity, Spicy Tart and Funky. Also new, the Guild’s partner, the Better Beer Society (BBS), is curating the “Better Beer Society Blue Ribbon Flight” comprised of beers selected by BBS’ certified cicerones.

In addition to the beer, the Guild offers daily education programs at 3 and 6pm on weekdays and noon, 3pm and 6pm on weekends.  And if you want to step up your edumacation, BBS’ cicerones will also be conducting Fair food and beer pairing ideas.

Ballpark Cafe
This is a required stop in my book. The Ballpark Cafe has been slinging good beer longer than some of you have even cared. Along with some State Fair classics like Summit Oktoberfest, Lift Bridge Mini Donut and Steel Toe Size 7, the Ballpark Cafe also offers up a variety of beers from Bauhaus, Bent Brewstillery, Bent Paddle, Castle Danger, EastLake, Excelsior, Hoops Brewing, Indeed, Modist and Surly. You can also check out some ciders from Sweetland Orchard and an IPA from War Pigs (3 Floyds, Mikkeller).

Other Beers to Seek Out

Insight Duke of Cuke – Insight’s light lager infused with cucumber. (Lulu’s Public House)

Barley John’s Pickle Beer – Dry-hopped with fresh dill, horseradish and spices. Garnished with a dill pickle and havarti dill cheese. (Giggles)

Mini Donut Beer from Lift Bridge – this State Fair classic is a real treat. We’ve often joked that State Fair beers occasionally “jump the shark,” and this was the first. We really only need one of these per year, but still can’t help but enjoying it. (Ballpark Cafe)

Freehouse Caramel Apple π  -It’s like a little shot of apple pie. Much like Fair food, once a year is enough… but you may as well enjoy it while it’s there. (Blue Barn)

 Bad Weather Lemon Sunshine – a Limoncello-inspired ale brewed with lemons and lemon zest. (Mancini’s)

Summit Lazy Slipper – a Kolsch style beer brewed with ingredients sourced in Minnesota.  (Shanghaied Henri’s)

Follow this link for a list of all of the State Fair specialty beverages. Enjoy!

Early Summer Beer Preview

Warm weather is just around the corner and there are plenty of new local beer options hitting store shelves soon. Summit is releasing a Boundary Waters twelve pack while Surly is going year-round with their Xtra Citra release. Steel Toe will be releasing Sommer Vice and Fair State just released their Du Pounde and Pilsner. We tried these out with our thoughts below.

Summit Wit – This is going to be a hit on those 90 degree days. It’s got all the things you look for in the style. Spices, citrus, and those nice bubblegum notes from the Belgian yeast drive this beer. A perfect replacement for that Blue Moon sitting in the back of your fridge. This is part of the Boundary Waters twelve pack.

Summit Hefeweizen – It’s back! This is a well-balanced Hefe with some nice banana and clove notes that aren’t as overpowering as some of the other options out there. Not my favorite example of a Hefeweizen but it’s certainly tasty. This can also be found in the Boundary Waters pack.

Steel Toe Sommer Vice – This is one of my favorite local examples of a Hefeweizen. Big clove and bubblegum flavors in this hazy beer set it apart from some of the others. This will hit the taproom and store shelves in May. My only issue is that I want this in cans. One 22 oz. bomber won’t do the trick. (Notes for this were taken from last year. The recipe will be the same I’m told)

Fair State Du Pounde – Centennial hops give this a nice floral character in the nose and contributes a nice dose of citrus in every sip. This wheat based beer also utilizes a French Saison yeast which provides a slight funk to this one. Fill your cooler with this at your picnic or graduation party and you’ll be the most popular person there.

Surly Xtra Citra – Session beers are still growing in popularity, here and around the country. Xtra Citra is Surly’s version of the style and it doesn’t dissapoint. In fact, this is my favorite local session beer along with Size 4 from Steel Toe. Huge citrus flavor with a light body, and for the low price of $6.99 a four pack this should be in your fridge all summer long. I’m told this will also be available in twelve packs of 12 oz. cans around Memorial Day.

Summit Keller Pils – They say the best way to judge the quality of a brewery is by trying their Pilsner. This is because it’s near impossible to mask any off flavors in this style of beer. Well Summit hit a home run with this offering and I dare you to find a better local option outside of Schell’s. This is easily the best new recipe (debuted last year) from the 30-year-old brewery in St. Paul. Be sure to soak your brats in that cheap domestic stuff and save this for sipping out by the grill. This is available in twelve packs and can also be found in the Boundary Waters pack.

Fair State Pils – A nice, dry Pilsner with earthy aromas and a heavy addition of Hallertau Mittelfruh hops. Not quite on the same level as the Schell’s Pils, but certainly worth a spot in your cooler on a fishing trip. Drink this one as cold as possible.

 

Cheers!