A guide to beers available at the State Fair.
We’re just going to come out and say it: Most of the somethings-on-a-stick you’re going to try at the Minnesota State Fair this year will taste like breaded compost. The Great Minnesota Eat Together has spawned a wealth of artery-clogging innovation resulting in Cocoa Puff cheese curds and new places to put bacon.
It’s disgusting. And we love it.
But why should chefs have all the fun? The best part about the fair is walking around with a beer, gawking at the other 100,000-plus weirdos stuffing their faces (well, that and the Giant Slide). It’s only fitting that that beer be as eccentric as the corn-dog pizza you’re eating.
Alas, Minnesota breweries are still catching up to their batter-dipping counterparts. But we’ve compiled a mini-guide to beer at the fair based on three categories: weird beers, specialties and blue-ribbon brews. Most are subject to availability, but cruise by the Ball Park Cafe anytime and they should have something for you.
612Brew: Rated R on Sour Patch Kids
Where to get it: Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s Land of 10,000 Beers – Agriculture/Horticulture building
It sounds goofy. But this isn’t the first time 612Brew has made this candy-laced version of its standout rye IPA. Its hop profile is dialed down, and the beer rests with a pound of the puckering chewable treats for two to three weeks in a 10-gallon firkin. Look for it during the Guild’s “firkin Fridays.”
Lift Bridge: Mini Donut Beer
Where to get it: Ball Park Cafe
Pioneers in State Fair beer gimmicks, this Stillwater brewery dreamed up a doozy last year when it launched this mini doughnut-inspired ale. As advertised, the sweet microbrew served with a cinnamon and sugar rim tastes like the micro pastries in liquid form. With any luck, it will pave the way for a deep-fried chocolate ice cream stout (patent pending).
Grain Belt Blu
Where: Schell’s pavilion in the West End Market
OK, maybe this one’s not that weird. It’s often been said that Grain Belt Premium has hints of blueberry, and Schell’s — the modern-day maker of the sugary lager — is releasing a bona fide blueberry version of this iconic beer for the State Fair. Who knows, maybe you’ll fall in love (with the beer or a toothless carny after having one too many).