Tag: barley john’s

Ten Iconic Minnesota Beers

Minnesota has a rich brewing history dating back to the mid 1800s. Breweries such as Wolf Brewing in Stillwater, Minneapolis Brewing Company, Schell’s Brewing, and Hamm’s in St. Paul paved the way for the many breweries we enjoy here today.


It’s really pretty incredible to think how large the brewing scene has become once again, especially amid a society so hell bent on counting every calorie they put in their bodies. But here we are in the middle of a pandemic—with nothing but time to reflect on what got us here.


Here are ten beers that have helped define what local brewers are capable of. Some have been around for over 50 years, and some were formulated and brewed within the last ten years.


Schell’s Pils – A classic version of what a German Pilsner should be. One could argue that this recipe was one of the better American-made versions in production the past 30 years. Clean, crisp, and refreshing—this beer could be found in most brewer’s refrigerators across Minnesota. The brewery has since dropped this from their lineup, but here’s to hoping it makes a comeback.


Summit EPA – This is the first craft beer that many Minnesotans were introduced to. Anything outside of a standard American Lager was hard to come by around here, even in the 90s when many across the country were drinking beer from Sierra Nevada, Anchor Steam, Deschutes and many others. Mark Stutrud brought this recipe to life back in 1986 and it’s still every bit as good today.


Surly Furious – Many were skeptical when they saw this beer in 16 oz. cans (thanks Linda Haug) on the shelves of liquor stores. A hoppy red ale in cans? This revolutionized the way people thought about packaging beer here in Minnesota. Oskar Blues had been doing this since 2002, but Surly had the foresight to put their boldest beer in larger cans for sale in four packs.


Dangerous Man Peanut Butter Porter – Often imitated, but never duplicated, this beer has converted plenty of “non-beer drinkers” to craft beer fanatics. This is literally Minnesota’s “dessert beer” and rightfully so. It tastes like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in liquid form, a gem amongst many imposters. Their recipe for success in Northeast is simple. Brew unique beers that people will love, and they will come and spend their money.


Minneapolis Town Hall Masala Mama – Ask any homebrewer, brewer, or beer nerd around town what their favorite IPA was 15 years ago, and they’d say it was Masala Mama. This was the best IPA recipe in the Midwest and was the brainchild of Mike Hoops who still runs the show over at their Seven Corners location. This is easily the most influential IPA ever to be born here in Minnesota.


Fulton Lonely Blonde – The craft beer for your dad, uncle, or cheap beer crushing friend. This beer is full of flavor but is approachable to all who try it. Minnesota patios sell a ton of this from April through October and year-round for that matter. This is your perfect boating beer, and one that I keep in my fridge on the regular.


Fair State Roselle – This is a perfectly executed Kettle Sour that is an ideal choice for any wine drinker or sour beer fan. Roselle is tart, fruity, and floral and it set the standard for what local brewers are doing within the sour beer category.


Steel Toe Size 7 – Before the “haze craze” people actually used to appreciate a good West Coast IPA. There is no better example of the style than the one made in St. Louis Park. This beer is far from balanced with big citrus notes and a clean finish. There’s a reason why this is their number one seller.


Grain Belt Premium – This was once brewed by the Minneapolis Brewing Company right after Prohibition ended. Now this clean, Minnesota classic adjunct lager is made by Schell’s Brewing Company who bought the recipe back in 2002. Corn and blueberry notes come through in this legendary beer which can be found at any dive bar across the Twin Cities.


Barley John’s Wild Brunette Wild Rice Brown Ale – A classic Brown Ale from one of the original brewpubs in town. Roasty malts and subtle chocolate and vanilla satisfy the palate in this classic Minnesota beer. Homebrewers in the Twin Cities have long admired this underappreciated offering, and it’s still being made some 20 years after being introduced. Find this one on tap at the brewpub located in New Brighton.



Barley John’s to Build Brewery in Wisconsin

barley_johns_frontNick Halter’s Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal article (Barley John’s Brew Pub plans Wisconsin brewery) rolled across my screen and brought up some truly mixed emotions. Barley John’s hosted one of MNBeer’s early get-togethers and I’ve been drinking their beer and enjoying their excellent food for years. I love those guys and that place. So while it’s awesome to hear that they’re planning to forge ahead with a production brewery, it’s really a bummer that it won’t be in Minnesota.

Barley John’s John Moore has made no bones about the fact that he wants to expand and that he’d go to Wisconsin if we didn’t change our laws in Minnesota. Under current state law, he can’t package and sell his beer to a distributor, retailer or bar. True to his word a Barley John’s production brewery will open in the spring in New Richmond, Wisconsin. The 13000 sq/ft location will include a taproom and an overall capacity of 10000 bbl. According to the article, Moore plans to produce around 7000 bbl in the first year.

“I would rather have done it here, two minutes away, but that’s not the way it is,” Moore said. “The law is not in favor of brewpubs. It’s in favor of breweries.”

Barley John’s still won’t be able to distribute beer in Minnesota, but will sell in Wisconsin. Moore said Minnesota residents will be able to buy his beer in border towns.

Brewpubs have been fighting this fight in Minnesota for years. Long before anyone ever thought the Taproom Bill would ever be a reality, legislation to allow brewpubs to distribute was moving along nicely, and may have even been railroaded by the desire to sell pints at the brewery. (To read a little more about unique brewpub legal issues, check out this article by Elliot Ginsburg and Erin Conway.)

In 2006, a fairly politically active Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild was very close to making this happen. Shouldn’t we change things before we lose another brewery and it’s associated employees, taxes & revenue to another state? What happens when Minnesota’s two largest brewpubs reach the cap of 3500 bbl/year?

Folks, let’s not lose another brewery to Wisconsin.

Barley John’s 13th Anniversary Celebration

Barley John’s is celebrating 13 years and giving you presents like growler and pitcher specials. Check out all the details.

It is our 13th Anniversary, and we’re ready to party with you! (Who said 13 is an unlucky number?)

This year we’re starting the celebration on Tuesday the 12th with a growler sale that lasts through Saturday.

Saturday, the actual day of our anniversary, we will have a special Irish menu available in addition to our regular menu. Also, all pitchers of our Pub-Brewed Beer will be $13. (or less)

Sunday the 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, we are doing something truly special: We’re opening our doors! Starting at noon and going until 9pm we will be serving our Irish Menu. We will be open until 1am. Party with us on a rare and auspicious OPEN SUNDAY! Happy Hour all day if you’re wearing green!

Growler Sale – Get $3 off a Growler of the following Pub-Brewed Beers:
Stockyard IPA
Wild Brunette
Steam Train
Sour Mash Rye
Kaffir Pale Ale
And starting Friday: 13th Anniversary Ale

Get $1 off: Little Barley Bitter

When you purchase any 3 growlers, get an extra $1 off

Growler Wednesday at Barley John’s

Barley John’s is switching up their Wednesday game plan for the rest of February starting today. Cask Wednesday is transitioning to Growler Wednesday. All day long you can get $2 off selected growler fills by buying a pint (limit one per person). Cask lovers need not worry as this is only a temporary change and casks will be returning in March.

Oktoberfest Bier Tasting and Dinner at St. Paul’s on the Hill

On Saturday October  20th at 6pm, St. Paul’s on the Hill (an Episcopal Church, btw) will host an Oktoberfest beer tasting with Brian Lonberg, a chef, and the head brewer at Barley John’s Brew Pub in New Brighton.

There will be a beer tasting and lecture covering most major styles of beer, and at least a dozen samples, followed by a Q&A with the brewer. Learn about how to best pair beer with meals, cheeses, desserts, and how to use beer in your own cooking. Find out how the major beer styles developed and what to expect to find in your glass, what it takes to get from the field to the Stein, and what you need to know when you go to a bottle shop. After the tasting enjoy appetizers, a short performance of German music by St. Paul’s Organ Master and select choir members, followed by a German themed dinner, silent auction, and of course, more beer.

Tickets are $30, and all proceeds benefit the the church.

Enter through the office doors on Saratoga St., St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the Hill – 1524 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

Ticket link

— Make your donation in increments of $30 per ticket desired. In the second box put your name and number of tickets you’re ordering.