Category: Summit Brewing Co.

MNBeer Holiday Gift Guide

ba-dmThe holidays are right around the corner and we’ve got some gift ideas for you over here at MNBeer. With so many choices it can seem a bit overwhelming at times. That’s why we’ve got you covered.

Surly Brewer’s Table Gift Card – The accolades keep piling up for the Jorge Guzman run fine dining restaurant located upstairs at the Surly destination brewery. The food is phenomenal and the way they pair it with the beer is unlike any other experience in town. This is why Food and Wine Magazine named it one of the top 10 Restaurants of the Year and they were not alone. Dara Moskowitz-Grumdahl also gave it high praise in her piece for Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine last spring. The gift card is available from $25 -$150.

Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild Ticket Pack – With over 100 brewery members, the guild is stronger than ever and the brewers often bring their best beers to these events. Winterfest is going to be at a new location this year (Target Field Legends Club) while the picturesque Bayfront Park in Duluth plays host to All Pints North in the summer. Autumn Brew Review serves as the finale and is held at the Grain Belt Brewery Complex in Northeast Minneapolis. If you have someone who loves local beer, this is the perfect gift pack ($300 includes 2 tickets to each event) for them.

Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest Tickets – What sets this beer fest apart from the others is that it features 30 breweries from here and around the country, and they bring beers that you may never see on local store shelves or on tap at the local breweries. The focus is on rare beers in an intimate setting with fantastic food included in the ticket price of $100. The Minnesota History Center is the perfect fit for this upscale event.

Hoodie and a Hat from Sociable Cider Werks – For $45 this is a great stocking stuffer. You choose a hat and a hooded sweatshirt, perfect for the cold Minnesota winter. Sociable Cider Werks specializes in apple graffes and their taproom is great place to check out music on the weekend and the fire pit is a great hangout on cold nights in the Twin Cities.

Crowlers from Dangerous Man, Bauhuas, Junkyard, Sisyphus, Sociable Cider Werks, and Modist – Let’s face it, beer is an affordable luxury and it makes the perfect gift. Stop in at any of these breweries and pick up a few crowlers. These 750 ml (size of a bottle of wine) cans of beer are perfect for the holiday dinner table or out back by the fire pit. They usually run anywhere from $7 – $10 each and are a great way to try beers from multiple breweries around town.

Dangerous Man Barrel-Aged Bombers – You know that delicious Peanut Butter Porter made by Dangerous Man in the Sheridan neighborhood? Yeah, they put that in Port wine barrels and aged it for months—and they’ll be releasing it on Saturday at the taproom. It’s gonna go very fast along with the Dopplebock (one of the best beers crafted by them) they aged in cedar rye whiskey barrels. The sale kicks off at noon and the bottles are priced at $20 each. Be sure to get there early if you want to pick these up. There will certainly be a line.

Craft Beer Pioneer Summit Celebrating 30 Years

hardroad-letterThirty years ago Top Gun was all the rage. That was 1986, the same year that Summit Brewing opened its doors in an old building that used to sell truck parts on University Avenue in St. Paul. To say this was a humble beginning is an understatement as founder Mark Stutrud received a letter from the Brewers Association back in 1983 during the early planning stages advising him not to attempt such an endeavor.

That was just one of the many challenges for Mark, challenges that microbreweries today do not face. For one, there was no blueprint for a small brewery to succeed in the midwest. At that time was no such thing as a microbrewery. “Thirty years ago there was no regional point of reference as far as other small breweries were concerned – ‘microbrewery’ was not in the wholesaler’s or retail customer’s vocabulary. The idea of ‘craft beer’ didn’t exist in the drinker’s mind. The beer landscape was sterile” says Stutrud.

Two of the beers they produced that first year would pioneer a movement toward beers with a little more flavor, beers that would challenge palates on many levels. Those two beers of course are Summit Extra Pale Ale and Great Northern Porter.

media_resources_pic

Summit EPA seems to be the most established and well-known variety that they make and the beer itself was born with a local touch. “The ‘extra’ in EPA was a reference to the love that we put into our beer [the overused word passion wasn’t in fashion in 1986]. The flavor profile of projecting a malt structure with a definite hop balance was a direct reference to the fact that we live in ‘barley country.’  We didn’t realize at the time that we were creating and establishing a specific style.”

mark_124x124_resized

Great Northern Porter was a complete gem of a beer upon its arrival. Even storied beer journalist Michael Jackson loved it. It was so good that it earned Summit a Gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in its first year. “Great Northern Porter was the second beer that we introduced in late 1986” says Stutrud. “At that time, we were one of five breweries in the WORLD that produced a porter. Great Northern Porter received a Gold Medal at the 1987 Great American Beer Festival. Michael Jackson had a deep respect for our beer” he stated.

old-altbier

If there’s one thing that’s true about Summit back then and now, it’s that quality always comes first. People can say what they want to about Summit not making a crazy one-off beer that sets beer fans abuzz, but the fact of the matter is that they want to make beers that they know how to make—and they make them great every time.

They started the Unchained Series as well as the Union Series to allow their brewers to experiment a little with different ingredients, and to inspire their creativity. All of the beers they make are brewed on a state-of-the-art system that is admired by many across the country. In fact, it’s what separates them from the other local breweries and from those across the country. “No other brewery in the region takes quality assurance to the deep level that we do. These attributes and qualities not only separates us from local breweries, but it distinguishes us on a national level” he says.

When he’s not drinking a Summit, Mark enjoys Pinot Noir, margaritas, the Noble Star Series from Schell’s, Anchor Steam, and Liberty Ales, an occasional Steel Toe, and a Budweiser from his neighbor.

unspecified

Summit is celebrating 30 years with a Backyard Bash at the brewery (910 Montreal Cir, St Paul, MN 55102) headlined by local punk legend Bob Mould (formerly of Hüsker Dü and Sugar) and taking place on Saturday from noon until 8 pm. You can grab tickets ($30) online here or at Electric Fetus in Minneapolis. There will be plenty of music and food trucks where you can purchase food. Part of the proceeds will go to Minnesota Music Coalition, an organization that Summit is proud to support. “The originators of this relatively new non-profit organization asked me to serve on the Board of Directors to an entrepreneurial and business perspective.  MMC has become an effective change agent for the independent music scene in Minnesota” says Mark. The band schedule (descending order) is as follows:

6:00 pm – Bob Mould
4:40 pm – Bully
3:35 pm – Dem Atlas
2:30 pm – Bad Bad Hats
1:25 pm – Apollo Cobra
12:20 pm – Nooky Jones
12:00 pm – Hotpants Minneapolis Minnesota (and between all live sets)

Food trucks on site include: The Anchor Fish & Chips, the Black Forest Inn, Bennett’s Chop and Railhouse, Pizza Lucé, Signature on Wheels, World Street Kitchen, FrioFrio MN and PoppedCorn.

unspecified

Summit has 30 years under its belt, and they are taking the appropriate amount of time to reflect while still moving forward. Their 30th Anniversary beers are some of the best beers they’ve come up with in recent years and they are not going to stop anytime soon. “Several individuals have asked me if I ever stop and look at what ‘I’ve’ created…There is an awesome and overwhelmed look on their faces when they tour the brewery.”

A brewery that will most certainly live to see 60.

Cheers!

News and Notes for September

SUM_BYB_709x709_-_CopySummer may be coming to a close, but in the beer world there is still plenty going on. Here are some notes from around town.

Summit Brewing is hosting Backyard Bash on Saturday, September 10th which will also commemorate 30 years of making beer in St. Paul. Local legend Bob Mould will be headlining the event with his guitar shredding skills and Summit will be pouring a couple of legendary beers. Great Northern Porter and Summit EPA. Stay tuned for our piece coming next week with some insight from founder Mark Stutrud himself. Tickets will cost $30 and can be purchased at Electric Fetus Minneapolis, the Summit gift shop, or right here on the interwebs. The event runs from noon until 8 PM.

SurlyFest, Not-a German-Style-Oktoberfest-Bier is now available in stores in all of their markets. This year, the event will take place on September 24th at the destination brewery. This year the party will not require tickets and it’s expected to go for 11 hours. There will even be German inspired food for purchase. Music will go from 11 am until 9 pm and will feature The Red Daughters, The Gleam (with Surly lead brewer Ben Smith), and Shannon Blowtorch. Check their site for packages that include commemorative steins, t-shirts, and VIP access.

One of our favorite food trucks is opening a small takeaway spot located inside of Sunny’s Market in Northeast Minneapolis. Bark and the Bite will be serving favorites from the food truck along with a few new surprises (please serve your ribs…) that chef Noah is cooking up. They will open next Friday and Saturday and they plan to extend their hours in the following weeks.

I’ll be making an appearance tomorrow on Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s radio show called Off The Menu—which airs on WCCO live from the fair at 11 AM. We’ll most likely be chatting about all of those gimmicky beers at the fair.

 

That’s all for now.

Summit 30th Anniversary: West London-Style Ale

wlsa

Well this doesn’t suck. Our friends at Summit Brewing Company have announced the third beer in their 30th Anniversary Series: West London-Style Ale. Come celebrate with Summit on Sunday from 10am-4pm at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis if you’d like to toss this beer down your gullet before anyone else gets a chance to do so. They’ll also have a smattering of other Summit offerings and lie music from Freddie Manton & The Southsiders and Hard Day’s Night Beatles Tribute Band.

If you can’t make the event, look for West London-Style Ale on tap and in six- and 12-packs of cans the second week of August.

Beer details? Okay. Brewer Damian McConn dreamed up a British-Style Best Bitter making use of the classic Maris Otter malt (Crisp? Simpson’s?) with some traditional and more modern hop varieties, Endeavour (UK), Cascade (US) and Motueka (New Zeland). The fine folks at summit describe the beer as “medium-bodied with toasty, graham cracker malt flavors, complemented with hop flavors and aromas of loganberry, redcurrant, grapefruit and lime.” Sold. I’ll drink some.

“The 30th Anniversary Series showcases the unique qualities and attributes that have helped drive Summit forward over the last three decades,” said McConn. “We kicked off the series early in the year with a powerful Double IPA, followed up in late spring with a classical German Keller Pils, and now we’re staying across the pond as we enter August with a thirst-quenching session ale packed with flavor. West London-Style Ale presents complexity, character and drinkability in a low ABV beer with an assertive hop profile that doesn’t overwhelm beer lovers.”

West London-Style Ale Deets:

ABV: 4.6%
IBU: 40
Color: Light Amber
Malts: Maris Otter
Hops: U.K. Endeavour, U.S. Cascade, New Zealand Motueka
Yeast: Multi-strain yeast comprised of private collection U.K. ale strains formerly utilized by an old British Brewery

Food Pairings: Cotswold cheese, traditional fish and chips, ploughman’s lunch, Cornish pasty, roast beef, Cumberland sausages

Beer and Food Options at US Bank Stadium

Gone are the days of the humble Dome Dog and a Budweiser, after all it is 2016. The inaugural lineup of food options at US Bank Stadium are gonna be a hit, especially the local options. The beer….well that wasn’t available today. This is most likely due to the MillerCoors sponsorship which I’m guessing doesn’t allow for them to showcase the wonderful craft beer we have here in Minnesota.

But we were given a list of the local beer options that will be available. Summit, Surly, Fulton, Lift Bridge, Bauhaus, Castle Danger, Fair State, NorthGate, 612 Brew, Lake Monster, Sociable Cider Werks, Insight, and Finnegans will all be sold at the stadium in its first year of operation.

Local food partners featured at the stadium will be AZ Canteen, Be Graceful Bakery and Catering, Cinnie Smith’s, Curds and Cakes, Ike’s Food and Cocktails, Kramrczuk’s Sausage Company, Lola’s Cafe, Prairie Dogs, R Taco, and the much anticipated Revival Restaurant.

So how was the food? Well let’s dive in to some of today’s winners:

First up were the Lemongrass Meatballs from Rainbow Restaurant. These were tasty and will be a welcomed treat for those trying to avoid typical stadium fare.

CnLPJGsWYAEj2nR

Next were the Smokey Nachos from Icehouse Minneapolis. A nice take on a stadium staple that would pair well with a Lonely Blonde from Fulton. Smokey meat paired with real cheese sauce. If the price is right, this might the item to get if you’re planning to share.

CnLPqXoWYAAON-h

The Jerk Bacon Sammie from Smalley’s Caribbean might go overlooked with all of the options. Our advice, don’t sleep on this slaw topped, thick-cut bacon sandwich. One of the best items on the menu today. Pair this spicy treat with a either an EPA or Saga from Summit.

CnLQNHRW8AAPDkK

Prairie Dogs is offering a Chicago Dog and a Skol Dog. The Chicago Dog (pictured below) was pretty standard while the Skol Dog (topped with purple potato chips and bacon jam) impressed with its presentation and the smoke infused jam. Go with the Skol Dog and pair it with a Farm Girl from Lift Bridge.

CnLRB5CWcAAA9cQ

Kramarczuk’s makes amazing sausage so these (Andouille, Cheddar Wurst, Bratwurst) are a no brainer if you’re looking for standard stadium food. Get the standard brat topped with kraut and pair it with a Wonderstuff from Bauhaus. This is guaranteed to make any Packer fan jealous.

CnLSkvuWEAAxxxn

The Italian Porchetta Sandwich from AZ Canteen is something you don’t wanna miss. A top 3 menu item today. Perfectly seasoned and topped with enough greens to make up for the saturated fat. This would pair up nicely with a Parapet ESB from NorthGate.

CnLTsf7WcAAmmMe

The much anticipated Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich from Revival is the real winner today. This juicy chicken sammie is delightfully crunchy, and is plenty spicy for those who have a palate for that sort of thing. Pair this up with a Surly Furious which will stand up tall to the heat. Be sure to order the mild if you are sensitive to spicy foods.

CnLWGGnW8AAKxPZ

Now for the not so great:

The Murray’s Short Rib Sandwich was a bit disappointing. This was tasty but was fairly dry. Dry enough where the coleslaw it was topped with couldn’t save it. The cost is probably also going to be a factor with this one.

CnLXW0LWcAU3cJm

The R Taco is a good option if you are looking for something a bit lighter, but this thing is messy. The last thing you want to deal with while rubbing elbows with drunk strangers is pulling shredded pork and diced onions out of your beard. If you do go with this, wash it down with a Hell Chicken from Insight. The citrus from the yuzu fruit will play well with the shredded pork and accompaniments.

The Gramsky’s Italian Grinder Sandwich was served at room temperature and was very heavy on the bread. By the time we got to this it was rather soggy and aside from the meat, was fairly bland.

IMG_1463

All in all, these were the best offerings of a stadium in town. Pricing will also be a determining factor when purchasing these menu items so you’ll want to keep that in mind, especially if you’re bringing a family of four. So what was missing? I think there are a few vendors out there that would be nice little additions to the lineup. All of them would be a great branding fit as well.

Vikre Distillery out of Duluth. Aquavit cocktails showcasing flavors of cardamom and caraway seed would be a welcomed addition to the nordic themed stadium shaped like a viking ship.

HammerHeart Brewing out of Lino Lakes makes bold, smoky beers that would take fans out of their comfort zone and introduce them to an old-world method of beer crafting. A crowd people head banging to Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song with a Hammerheart beer in hand would be a sight to behold.

Northern Waters Smokehaus from Duluth. Imagine being able to order smoked fish and charcuterie made right here in the north country. It seems silly that we always go back to the standard stadium fare when these ingredients are sourced and readily available on the local level.

Whatever your tastes are, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious heart stopping food on the menu at US Bank Stadium. But just know that nothing will stop your heart faster than a field goal that goes wide left.

Thanks Gary…

Cheers!