Tag: MNBeer

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.

 

Cheers!

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!

Hygge Hoopla Virtual Beer Fest

This is a very strange time to be alive. We are asking everyone to isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19 which has been sweeping across the country at an alarming rate. While we’d love to be enjoying a beverage with our pals, we know that it’s not smart to be hanging in groups. The best part about uncertain times is the fact that we as humans find creative ways to navigate our current situation. Apps like FaceTime and Skype have been around for a while and were probably ahead of their time, but now more than ever we need to embrace such technology and be thankful for our ability to adapt to change.

Beer festivals are usually about gathering with people in person and sharing beverages but that is not possible during this time. The crew over at the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild has come up with an idea to bring people together virtually and they’re calling it Hygge Hoopla Beer Fest. This event will take place on Saturday, April 18th from 3 pm until 5 pm.

The cost will be $10 and will feature a whole lineup of speakers that will cover a variety of topics such as beer history, tasting notes, and food pairings. Your purchase will support the Silver Linings Fund which benefits industry workers in need. Below you will find the list of speakers for this event.

Featuring:

Jacob Schnabel, Spilled Grain Brewhouse
Linda Rae Holcomb, GLUEK BEER
Eric Harper, Utepils Brewing Co
Ryan Pitman, Eastlake Craft Brewery
Craig Richardson, Day Block Brewing Company
Derek Allmendinger, Unmapped Brewing Co
Ryan Mihm, FINNEGANS
Matt Schwandt, Bauhaus Brew Labs
Ryan Petz, Fulton Beer
Gabe Smoley, Pryes Brewing Company
Jen Fox, Spiral Brewery
Matthew Lange, Lake Monster Brewing
Mike Willaford, Tin Whiskers Brewing Co.
Andy Klockow, Klockow Brewing Company
Dave Hoops, Hoops Brewing
Jeff Zierdt, Lupulin Brewing Company
Brian Schanzenbach, Blacklist Brewing Co.
Tim Wilson, Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Jace Marti, Schell’s Brewery

To purchase tickets to the event, please visit this link. Be safe, take care of yourselves, and support your local Minnesota breweries. We hope to see you at the event, but if not we’ll have to grab a pint when this is all over.

Cheers!

Hoops Brewing set to Celebrate Two Years

Things were going to be different for Dave Hoops as he set out to start his own brewery after years of concocting beers over at Fitger’s Brewhouse and a year on his own as a consultant. His approach was different from many of his peers. His dream brewery was one that started small and would continue to grow only as he saw fit. Two years later he has few regrets, and is set to celebrate a second anniversary with an event called HoopLa 2 on Saturday, June 29th.

The brewery exists in Canal Park and has a reputation with locals as a place where they can bring their families and check out a hockey game, or as a place to relax after a hard day of work. “We’ve been happy with our beers and the heavy community support. Pop ups are huge right now and were some of the first to do that up here in Duluth. There’s been very little turnover here and we’ve received so much support from this community” Hoops says.

The first two years didn’t come without challenges though. “Limited distribution has been tough. I’ve turned down so many opportunities because we just don’t have the beer. We’re the only independent brewery left in the north and growing slow is a challenge” he says. But slowly he plans to increase their distribution footprint and possibly make their way into 12 oz. cans. Plans for a barrel program are in place, and you may even see some “true” sours coming out of the brewhouse.

Dave had been brewing at Fitger’s Brewhouse for nearly 17 years when decided it was time to leave back in 2015. He knew that there was a big risk in opening his own brewery, especially all the responsibility that comes with it. “The difference is that the brewing part is fun, but owning a brewery consists of putting out fires, stress, bills, and drama. On the plus side, every day is different and I don’t have a boss. My talents are now being used in the front of the house too” he states. Trendy beers are not something he gets excited about despite the rapid growth and popularity of breweries in the northland and across Minnesota. “I don’t like being ridiculed for not making a pop tart sour beer. Let’s make beer that we’re proud of. I think it’s important to support each other” he says.

The Duluth scene has grown quite a bit and Hoops attributes much of this to the community and the fantastic beer festival coming up in late July called All Pints North. He calls it the “center point” of our summer. “It rivals Madison and it’s the most beautiful beer fest in Minnesota. I love hosting all the breweries when they come into town” he says. Just call him what he is, the ambassador for quality beer here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

If you’d like to check either or both of these events. The details can be found below.

HoopLa 2
Free on Saturday, June 29th starting at noon.
Featuring live music from Father Hennepin , food from New Scenic Cafe, games, prizes, raffles, and beer specials throughout the day.

All Pints North
$45 on Saturday, July 27th from 3 pm until 7 pm.
Featuring 2 oz. pours of Minnesota beer, live music, food trucks, and a beautiful view of the water from Bayfront Park. Grab tickets here: https://www.tempotickets.com/AllPintsNorth2019

Cheers!

Brewing TV #38: None More Cask

Cask ale at home!? Mike and Jake from Brewing TV take what they learned about cask-conditioning ales from Damian McConn (Summit Brewing Company) and use it to make their own cask version of a Oatmeal Stout. Join the guys as they learn the steps to a great firkinfied homebrew, get jiggy with double espresso shots, and drink the finished cask ale with some work buddies. You’ll find there’s None More Cask. Blam!