So there I was, cruising down Hwy. 13 near the Rahr Malting facility when I drove by a Summit billboard ad. It was a simple ad asking the question (and I paraphrase), “If Minnesota can have a state flower, why not a state beer?” That got me to thinking. Would I want to see a state beer? More importantly, what criteria would one use to determine the state beer? Would you base it on consumption levels? Could it be produced out of state? Would longevity of the brand matter? Should other factors such as state employment by the brewery producing the beer be considered? What about hard to measure factors like the story of the beer and its history? Could it be focused on the brewery instead of the beer? Could you have the state beer change periodically versus sticking with the same one all the time?
Now, ignoring the fact that I’m opposed to pigeonholing Minnesota into ascribing its identity to things like a state beer, state flower, state motto, state bird, etc., it does make for an interesting discussion. I think Summit EPA would have a good case to make. I also think Schell’s and one of its products would fit the bill as well.
What beer reflects/represents/typifies Minnesota?
While it is another discussion whether or not Summit EPA would be the “best beer” Minnesota has to offer, I would support the sentiment of it being the “state beer of Minnesota”. The fact that it has become a standard tap offering beside the predictable macro-brews and Guinness is a testament to its foothold in the state.
By that measure, I wonder if Grain Belt Premium would be a better fit? It’s been around longer and may in fact be on tap in more locations than Summit.
Schell’s Deer Beer brand – I remember it fondly as a kid – from my beer can collecting days in the ’70’s
I’d say it would have to be a MN beer, widely available across the state. Production/sales numbers should probably be taken into account -which makes me wary because Cold Spring brewery actually out produces Summit and Schell and blows away Surly, Flat Earth etc (and I don’t particularly care for any Cold Spring beer I’ve tried to date).
Given these parameters, I’d vote for Summit EPA with Schell’s original or Grain Belt being a grandpa beer/mass appeal beer I could live with as the state brew.
I’ll admit it was long before my time in the state, but couldn’t Hamms Beer be argued to have had a bigger impact to date on the state (of beer drinking)? I don’t know how much of it was drunk, but folks from here seem to reference the bear and song a lot.
I think a guy could argue that Summit EPA is actually available more places then Premo even. Either way, I would vote for the EPA. It has been a MN craft beer staple for 24 years.
I would say no. As much as I am an avid lover and drinker of the many excellent brews produced within this great state of ours — hardly an evening goes by without a refreshing Schell’s, Summit or Surly happily in my hand — there is a categorical difference between all the other “state things” mentioned and a beer. None of those things are products of a single company. Most are natural: loon, wolf, wild rice, lady slipper. And the ones that are not — motto, song — well, no one is getting rich off those that I know of.
But a state beer would be nothing less than a legislative product endorsement, granting (if nothing else) an advertising advantage to one company over all its competitors. Is that really the business of our elected representatives? And is that a trend we want to start?
Aren’t these situations non-analogous? Wouldn’t Summit EPA as Minnesota’s State Beer be more analogous to Linderman’s Lady Slippers being the state flower? The current state flower is not sold by a particular vendor.
I think a better way to look for a State Beer would be to nominate a specific style. If this follows, I would think that American Adjunct Lager would be the most appropriate for Minnesota, with Extra Pale Ale as an alternate.
Ninja’d by mere seconds!
Aubrey: I don’t believe Cold Spring brews more BEER then Summit or Schell’s, I believe those brewing totals included energy drinks (they’re the largest producer of energy drink and specialty drink in the US) which listed them higher then Summit and Schell’s.
Ben: Ahh, that’s how they got higher on the production list! Thanks for the info.
Okay, this is the one! Schell’s Octoberfest. It’s from the oldest brewery in the state and actually has something to do with native Minnesota. Most communities that had breweries were set up by immigrants, especially Germans. It’s not a beer tied in Hops – like Furious (A Hoppy beer would be more at home in a west coast state) – it’s a lager that relies on malts (the grain of the heartland from which it’s born). And besides, I just LOVE IT!!!! Just my $.02.
Have to agree that rather then picking a specific beer, it should be a style of beer. Our state muffin is the blueberry rather then the Pillsbury Blueberry Muffin. We should get that 3rd grade class that got us the honeycrisp as our state fruit working on this at once. Sadly our state drink was chosen as milk in 1984 rather then beer.
Clever billboard ad. Got lots of people to think about Summit.
Rather than choose a state beer, why not choose a state beer style ie pale ale.
State muffin is the blueberry muffin because blueberries are native to northeastern Minnesota. State fruit is the honeycrisp apple since they were developed at the U of M. Wild rice as the state grain since for many years almost all the wild rice production in the world came from MN.
What beer style is very prominent here or originated here?
I think I’m thinking more hypothetically, I wouldn’t actually expect the state to select a “state beer” by a particular country. Hell, I wouldn’t expect Minnesota to select a “state beer” at all. We still have totally puritanical laws about beer and alcohol, they surely wouldn’t support drinking *gasp* at the state level.
Whoops, I meant “company” not “country”. Apparently, I’m on my last beer of the evening.
Grain Belt Beer, comes from here. (This little jingle I wrote when I was 6 years old comes with a visual element. Ask me to show it to you sometime.)
The title cannot be given, it must be earned.
FWIW I was too under the influence of Summit EPA last night to make the product endorsement comment for myself. I think it’s necessary to choose a style, rather than a brand name.
… so let’s make it Extra Pale Ale. Technically, there’s more than one 🙂
I think it should be something gimmicky.
There is not a single beer that has a richer history in Minnesota then Grain Belt!
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