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Win MN Craft Beer Week Shirts & Passports!

Minnesota Craft Beer Week is May 13th – 21st. No doubt you’re already familiar with all of the great happenings, prizes and more. Hell, there’s even a homebrew competition! Be sure to check it all out.

Wanna’ win an event passport and Minnesota Craft Beer Week t-shirt? We’ve teamed up with the organizers to give away a few! In the comments, we want the story of your “craft beer epiphany.” What opened your eyes to the world of craft beer? Was it Summit Altbier back in the day? Or were you a more recent convert? Either way, we want to hear your story. Try to limit it to a couple of paragraphs. The best entries will win a shirt & passport. Be sure to share your story – we’ve got several to give away!

Be sure to include your email address with your post so we can contact you. It won’t be published, but we’ll have it on the backend of the site so we can get ahold of winners.

Cheers. Get writing!



  1. Brandon Rahn says:

    My craft beer journey started recently after watching the Brew Masters series about Dogfish Head about three months ago. I never really cared for beer, but I had only tried the usual Miller and Budweiser. So I thought I would give it another run after seeing all the effort put into the beers from Dogfish Head. I must say I was blown away when I took a trip across the border to Casanovas to see all the different beers on the wall. I grabbed as many different Dogfish Head beers that I could. I got home and started to sample some of the different beers they offered: 60 Minute IPA, 90 Minute IPA, Namaste and etc.

    Dogfish Head really got me started on craft beer, I would end up heading over the border to Casanovas almost weekly to buy mix six packs. I found many new brewers that I enjoyed like New Glarus, Victory, Bells, Furthermore, Surly and many more. I then ran into this site and saw all the events surrounded by a new found love of beer. I have been trying to get to as many new tastings as I could and have found some new favorite bars to check out like The Happy Gnome. I was able to check out the Stone sampling which opened my eyes to darker beers, like one of my personal favorites in the Stone Smoked Porter. I went to the Brooklyn tasting and found a new lager to replace my lacking in taste Red Stripe and recently I was able to sample some great beers from Alaskan Brewing thanks to the site.

    One of my fondest memories of craft beer was when I went to Casanovas Beer Cave Festival last month to sample from the 100 or so beers offered. Probably the best $30 I have spent in quite a while. I enjoyed being able to try from some new brews from my favorite brewers as well as beers from brewers I have never head of. I compiled all the data from the beers at the festival and from tastings I have had with my friends on our Wisconsin beer trips into one of my new favorite sites, RateBeer. I enjoy sampling any beer now and have practically put all of my other drinks of choice on the back burner. I hope to complete the Old Chicago beer tour this year and look forward to rating some new beers during the Craft Beer Week in Minnesota.

  2. Chuck P says:

    My craft beer journey started around a year ago when I tried Surly Bender at The Triple Rock. I wasn’t a big beer drinker more of a hard liquor guy but once I tasted that Bender my taste buds couldn’t go back to plain liquor I needed to taste more craft beers. I went to my local liquor store and picked up a couple four packs of Surly one being Abrasive Ale and the other being Coffee Bender. I absolutely fell in love with Surly beers and have tried them where ever I can get them. From there I started to look around at the other local breweries such as Fulton, Harriet, Brau Brothers, and Crispin. I kept trying new beers and expanding my palate. I try and keep local but also love beers from other craft breweries like Stone and Great Divide. I use Mnbeer to keep up with the local events and I try to go to events to keep up with the breweries, but being a college student I havent been able to afford to go to all the events I want. Other then that I have found myself also trying new things like cider which I have a fondness for. I keep looking forward to trying new beers and meeting new people through this strong craft beer group we have in Minnesota.

  3. Bill Hopkins says:

    Awakened one cold dreary Saturday, October morning at 6am by my little brother from Sconnie, who said, “Get Up! You are coming with me to Darkness Day!” All I could say was, “huh??? Eclipse or something?”

    Many hours later after having kicked my macro virus, I am now an official “beer rube”. Surly, Summit, Town Hall, Flat Earth, Fulton…. Ahh we have it so good in Minnesota!

  4. Ben says:

    A couple days after turning 21, after a Timberwolves game, my dad took me over to Rock Bottom to get a free beer with our ticket stubs. Todd at Surly was the brewer there at the time and the Eric The Red opened my eyes to craft beer. I soon got my name on the barrel (drink 120 pints) there twice. Now Barry McCockener’s name also has it’s place on the barrel there.

  5. Ryan Tuenge says:

    My love for Craft Beer began almost 10 years ago when I enjoyed a Summit EPA for the first time. I continued to try new beers gaining a pallet for hop heavy beers such as Two Hearted Ale by Bells, Hop Slam also by Bells, and Hop Devil from Victory Brewing. I also developed an obsession with dark varieties including Stouts and Porters and in the past 3 years I have been into Belgian Ales. I have to say that I am very proud of the local beer scene and where it’s going and I think we have some of the best breweries right here in Minnesota.

    Beer is more than just a beverage. It’s an open window to the entire community that tells a story about the people that drink it and the people who brew it. I think Surly has proven this here in Minnesota and I am so greatful to not only be able to drink beer, but also to write about it.


  6. Eric says:

    My appreciation for craft beer began about 2 months ago after I decided to brew my first batch. I am a recent transplant to Minneapolis – I moved from wine country, CA last spring. I’ve been a wine geek most of my life (I grew up in Central America where the drinking age was… well, less policed), having developed a taste for it early on. In CA, I enjoyed some serious wines and soon started making my own. When I moved here, I thought I’d pick up my winemaking where I’d left off. Well, the short growing season and cold temps make for less than ideal grales (despite valiant efforts by the U) . So, on a cold weekend, I swung by Midwest Supply to pick up some ingredients and 5 hrs later, my first batch was fermenting away in a closet. I’ve since devoured 5 or 6 books on the topic (including two by my new hero, Sam Caglione of Dogfish Head). I actually obsess about beer now. That’s all I drink anymore (wine? What’s that?) and I’ve recently joined a homebrewers club

  7. Dude Beer says:

    It was summer, and I was at my friend’s apartment. He offered me a beer, a crummy pale ale, and I hated every single sip of it. Struggling to nurse the bottle, I listened to him revisit childhood memories of his father drinking a beer for enjoyment. Up until this point, throughout high school and college, I was weened on the coldest-tasting, highest-grossing brands, and, having grown up with parents that rarely drank, the concept that beer could be legitimately yummy was foreign to me. A few months later, at 21, fate repelled me away from Minneapolis to the bleakness that lurks just beyond our state’s southern border. On a whim, I purchased a few Samuel Smith oatmeal stouts for a BYOB poker party at a work buddy’s house. Admittedly, I aimed to impress my coworkers, all older than me, by sharing these “dark,” English, golden-foil-wrapped beers. That night, despite this flagrant attempt at pretense, my taste buds explored something that I found to be both incredibly original and inspiring. Just like the first time you heard your favorite album, it was one of those moments you strive to revisit but obviously cannot. From this point forward, propelled by ignorance and boredom and a vague concept of what it meant to be an adult, I set off to try as many unique brews as quickly possible. Fuller’s and Three Floyd’s and Anchor were just some of unexpected treasures found buried in a shipwreck of a liquor store located adjacent to the local supermarket. Several years later, my taste buds are still chasing the fresh flavors that were discovered in what was otherwise a time filled with regret and ambivalence. Perhaps my experience with craft beer is actually an apt analogy to how I am poorly squeezing into this age of responsibility. Or maybe this is just the fifth beer talking. Maybe.

  8. My other brother Eric says:

    My craft beer epiphany began several years ago, as I stopped in to Party Time Liquors in Maplewood. Approaching the counter with my suitcase of Genuine Draft (shudder), I was stopped by what I can only assume was a representative of Summit. He handed me a ‘mislabel’ bottle of Winter Ale, and went on to explain some of the finer points of non-fizzy-yellow-water beers. One taste, and it was a parting-of-the-clouds, choir-of-angels moment.

    My step into homebrewing was similarly by accident, after I purchased a Mr. Beer kit at a garage sale. After returning the enclosed ‘Happy Anniversary’ card to the previous owner (in front of his wife – sorry bro…), I quickly learned anyone who can boil water can make decent beer. Having recently made the leap into all-grain brewing, I learned this is not necessarily true……

  9. rob says:

    In college (and high school) it was all about cheap. Although, it was often our local beer Cold Spring. On special occasions I would allow myself Summit or Leinenkugel. I was intrigued by beer and the different styles so I joined Beer Across America. Wow. Two different six packs from two different breweries each month. It was a long, hazy time ago (around 1991) but I still remember Geary’s Pale Ale, Brooklyn Brown, Bully Porter, Full Sail and there were so many more. I liked it so much, a subscription to Beer Across America was my go-to gift when I needed to give something nice. I started home brewing and have done a bunch of batches over the years.
    Ever since I realized how many great beers there are, it has been my quest to sample every beer that is out there.

  10. Quinn says:

    Going to college in Minnesota, my idea of craft beer was Leinie’s Honey Weiss. After graduation, I moved to Minneapolis and a friend invited me to join her on a tour of the Surly brewery. On that fateful Friday evening in the summer of 2008, I brought home a growler of Furious (yes, before they got too big to sell growlers) and the rest is history. The absolute hop kick to the mouth opened my eyes to just how great beer could taste.
    Since then, I’ve become a homebrewer, made two treks to Denver for GABF, taken a vacation to PDX/SEA strictly to tour the great breweries and attended countless tastings and release events at the great MSP bars and liquor stores. Had it not been for that Furious, I might still be punishing my palette with BMC and macro-crafts.

  11. Tina says:

    I’ve had a lot of beers in my day, but nothing that ever truly made me a beer lover until about six months ago when I attended my first Beer Dinner at the Tavern in St. Cloud. I believe it was Summit that was hosting this fine event. The food was amazing, but the beer was too! There was a special tapping of a firken keg and other amazing beers I had never even thought of trying until that night. Ever since, I’ve been to more of these dinners and special tappings in my attempts to find the best. No more light beers for this gal, it just isn’t worth my time. Each time I am out at one of our great watering holes in Cloud town, I check the taps and try anything new or go back to my now favorites from Descheutes (first tried at Tav’s Beer Dinner), Stone Brewing Co. (first tried at a special tapping at the Tav) and Alaskan Red Ale (haven’t tried their others yet) which I just tried for the first time last night. Many thanks to the Tavern on Germain and The White Horse in St. Cloud for having so many great beers for me to try and enjoy!

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