Minnesota on Tap

Ryan Tuenge is an avid home brewer and craft beer lover who is not afraid to spend his last $5 on a pint of beer at the local pub. As a member of the Minnesota Home Brewers Association, Ryan has tried a wide variety of beers and has toured many of the local breweries. He also has a blog about craft beer in Minnesota. He likes to read, write and travel with his wife. Follow him on Twitter @lodgefather.

Posts about Food and drink

Food and brew pairings at Target Field

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: April 7, 2015 - 10:09 PM

The 2015 baseball season is here and the six-year-old Target Field went deep — adding some new, local options:

The most notable addition is Barrio, which is located by left field in a space formerly occupied by one of the Majestic Twins Clubhouse shops. The sight lines are great and the fresh, Mexican food is sure to be a draw on those hot, summer days.

Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen has moved into a more permanent spot next to Hrbek’s (by Gate 14); ditching their mobile spot, which was previously located along the third base line.

The Red Cow is now serving their fantastic burgers out by left field. Their lineup includes the Blues Burger, the Ultimate Red Cow Burger, and the 60/40 Bacon Burger. This is likely to be a regular stop for fans of the local burger chain.

Hot Indian Foods is now serving their tasty Chicken Tikka dish, over coconut toasted rice with slaw, near section 120. This was my personal favorite. They also have a Vegan Aloo Gobi for those who don’t eat meat.

DuNord Spirits and Panther Distillery are crafting cocktails at a stand near section 111. Skip the gimmicky “College Daze Bloody Mary” at Hrbek’s (complete with a cold pizza slice) and opt for a locally-made cocktail instead.

After sampling the new fare I put together some food and beer pairings to try out. (Most of these brews can be found at the Minnesota Brews stands in sections 126 and 320):

Order the slaw-topped Smoked Meat Sandwich at Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen and pair it with a Summit Saga IPA. The salt and the spice from the crust of the meat will work well with this hop-heavy brew from St. Paul.

Grab the 60/40 burger from Red Cow and pair it with Dandy Lager from Indeed Brewing, which can be found at Barrio. This crisp, hoppy lager will play nicely with the cheddar cheese and mustard on this beefy treat.

Steer clear of the typical ballpark fare by picking up the yogurt marinated Tikka Chicken at Hot Indian Foods and team it up with a Farm Girl Saison from Lift Bridge. Saisons work well with poultry and deeply spiced dishes. I can’t think of a better combo for a hot day in July.


Summit brews its first Double IPA

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: March 11, 2015 - 12:18 PM

The inspiration came from a trip out west to the Yakima Valley last fall. Brewer Eric Harper knew he was due to come up with a recipe for the Unchained Series, an ongoing project at Summit where brewers are allowed to tap into their creativity and bring the final product to market as a limited release. “I saw some good products out there and I knew I had to do an Unchained,” said Harper. “Why not be the first one to do a Double IPA?”

The result is Hop Silo, the 18th batch of the series, and one which achieves a couple of “firsts” for Summit. For one it is the very first Double IPA they’ve done in their nearly 30 years of business. Summit is known for brewing quality beers and they don’t often flirt with trends, but this series really encourages experimentation and Hop Silo fits that bill perfectly.

Another “first” is that this brew is packaged in a 16 oz. can and is sold in 4 packs. “It seemed like a cool idea” says Harper. “You tend to see a lot of Double IPAs in 16 oz. cans.”

Hop Silo is a beautiful, citrusy Double IPA with a healthy dose of UK malts that stand up to the hops. Lemon Drop, Azacca, Apollo and Cascade hops make up the hop profile which tests out at 101 IBUs for you “Hopheads” out there. The Simpsons Crystal Dark malt contributes to the rich amber color along with Crisp Best Pale, Simpsons Premium English Caramel. Weighing in at 8.3% ABV, this brew should be enjoyed in moderation and with a safe ride home if you are out and about. Pair this with some ribs for an early season cookout. You have no excuse now with this 60 degree weather.


Surly Beer Hall Set to Open in December

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: October 17, 2014 - 8:52 AM

Dara Grumdahl of Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine and WCCO Radio reported on Monday that the new Surly Beer Hall will open in December. It sounds as if chef Jorge Guzman (who was on her radio show Saturday) will have a full menu ready to go but he did not reveal a whole lot about what will be on it. News also broke that Surly has hired another famed local chef to help out Jorge in Brian Hauke whom you may know from Spill the Wine.

The massive 300 seat hall will be permeating with the smell of pizzas and pretzels and plenty of new dishes (none of which he talked to Dara about) to pair with the bold Surly beer lineup.It will be located in the Prospect Park neighborhood right along the Green Line making it easy for commuters of all sorts to stop in for a pint and a bite to eat.

Events such as Darkness Day will remain at the Brooklyn Center location but the taproom there will close for good on Thursday, October 23rd so you may want to get there while you still can.

Speaking of Darkness Day, be sure to get there this year if you haven’t been. It takes place on Saturday, October 25th from 11:00 AM until 5:30 PM but if you want to buy bottles of Darkness you’ll want to get there much earlier. How early? Try the night before (camp out) otherwise known as Darkness Eve. Here you will witness what is essentially a giant bottle share where people play video games on big screen TVs outside of tents and imbibe with one another into the wee hours of the night. Trust me on this, you have to see it to believe it.


State Fair Preview 2014—Land of 10,000 Beers Exhibit

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: August 21, 2014 - 8:06 AM

For the third straight year, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild is hosting the Land of 10,000 Beers exhibit in the Horticulture/Agriculture Building daily (Aug 21-Sep 1st) from 9 AM till 9 PM. The exhibit has been a huge hit over the past couple years which has been attributed to the educational nature of the hall and thirsty crowds of people.

There will be four different flights available for purchase including Belgian, Hoppy, Dark, and Light with special cask releases on Fridays throughout the fair. There will be a stage in the exhibit hall where a host of different people from throughout the industry will speak about various topics such as distribution, brewery expansion, marketing, ingredients, contract brewing, and more. Check the schedule below.

Thursday, August 21 

3:00pm  Member Profile: Behind the Beer, John Klick & Bob DeVernois of Excelsior Brewing Co.

6:00pm Barrel-Aged Beer and Cask Beer, Frank Kaszuba of Fitger’s Brewhouse and Matt Hall of Lift Bridge Brewing Co.

Friday, August 22 

3:00pm Running a Brewpub, Tim Nelson of Fitger’s Brewhouse and Pete Rifakes of Town Hall Brewery

6:00pm Beer Tourism, Dan Justesen, Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild Board Member

Saturday, August 23 

3:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Dustin Brau of Brau Brothers Brewing Co. and Dave Hoops of Fitger’s Brewhouse

4:30pm Brotherly Brewing: Dave Hoops of Fitger’s Brewhouse and Mike Hoops of Town Hall Brewery

6:00pm Homebrewing 101: Jeff Merriman of Northern Brewer

Sunday, August 24 

12:00pm The Craft Beer Consumer, Michael Wagner of the Four Firkins

3:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Jamie MacFarlane of Castle Danger Brewery and Robert Kasak of 612Brew

6:00pm What It Takes To Open a Brewery, Dane Breimhorst of Burning Brothers Brewing Co. and Adam Sjogren of NorthGate Brewery

Monday, August 25 

3:00pm Beer Distribution 101, Joe Falkowski of JJ Taylor and Griffin Lewis of Dahlheimer Beverage

6:00pm Marketing to the Craft Beer Consumer, Brad Nelson of Fitger’s Brewhouse, Bartley Blume of Bent Brewstillery and Ryan Widuch/Tom Boland of Elevated Beer Wine & Spirits

Tuesday, August 26 

3:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Mark Stutrud of Summit Brewing Co.

6:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Jim Diley, Brian Hoffman and Ben Flattum of Fulton Beer

Wednesday, August 27 

3:00pm Brewery Expansion and Beer Styles, Broc Krekelberg of Badger Hill Brewing Co. and Tim Tupy of Mankato Brewery

6:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Franco Claseman and Bob Roepke of Flat Earth Brewing Co. and Jeff Moriarty of Tin Whiskers Brewing Co.

Thursday, August 28 

3:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Joe Pond of Olvalde Brewing and Jace Marti of August Schell Brewing Co.

6:00pm Family Business: A History of Beer, Ted and Jace Marti of August Schell Brewing Co.

Friday, August 29 

3:00pm Liquor Laws and Big Breweries, Justin Weinberg, Briggs & Morgan

6:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer and Contract Brewing, Doug DeGeest of Third Street Brewhouse

Saturday, August 30 

12:00pm Malted Barley and Beer, Chris German of Brewers Supply Group/Rahr Malt

3:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Spencer Anderson of Surly Brewing Co. and brewers from Dangerous Man Brewing Co.

6:00pm All You Need to Know About Hops, Eric Sannerud of Mighty Axe Hops

Sunday, August 31 

12:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Duluth Beer City, Colin and Laura Mullen of Bent Paddle Brewing Co.

3:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Jason Medvec of Big Wood Brewery

6:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Business Side of Brewing, John Hayes of ENKI Brewing

Monday, September 1 

3:00pm Member Profile: Behind the Beer, Canned Beer 101, Tom Whisenand of Indeed Brewing Co.

6:00pm Craft Beer in Minnesota, Clint Roberts, Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild

The Ballpark Cafe will once again be pouring craft beer from many of the local breweries including Lift Bridge, Lucid, Bauhaus, Indeed, Surly, Excelsior, Badger Hill, Steel Toe, Third Street, Summit, and Bent Paddle. Mini Donut Beer from Lift Bridge will again be available this year and the supply is much larger than it was last year.

New to the fair this year is the Shell’s bar and stage at the West End Market. There you will be able to purchase the fair exclusive Grain Belt Blu which is a Blueberry Radler style beer (a gallon of blueberries per half barrel) and a fun twist on one of Minnesota’s most beloved brews.

You will also be able to try one with frozen foam (called Frozen Blue) which is supposed to keep your beer colder longer. Oktoberfest with blueberry foam will also be available and will be called Black and Blu.

One final note, Summit will be offering a fair exclusive brew called The Villian this year. This is a Black Lager brewed up by Gabe Smoley and it will only be available at their Summit on a Stick booth located in the International Bazaar.

Stay tuned to my Twitter handle @lodgefather for the latest craft beer news from the fair.


Hopped Up Beer Festival

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: July 2, 2014 - 7:22 PM

Grab a ticket and pack your car for this popular beer fest held at Caribou Highlands in Lutsen. It’s happening July 11th through the 13th with a great looking beer lineup and a promising food menu. The food (with premium tickets) at this all weekend event is definitely high end featuring Stout soaked oysters, duck, crab, clam with IPA butter, caribou burgers and much more.

This festival is also a favorite of some local brewers including Dave Hoops from Fitger’s Brewhouse. When asked about it, Dave had this to say. "Yes, for a number of reasons, the amazing treatment of the brewers, the high quality food, the intimate setting to really talk to people, and the beauty of Lutsen. It is one of my faves for sure.”

The smaller crowds are better for festival goers but they are also appreciated by Carmody brewer Jason Baumgarth. "I'm looking forward to spending the whole weekend up there this year, “ said Baumgarth. “The smaller crowd is nice, it allows the brewers more chances to talk with attendees and other brewers,”

With the premium ticket package, this event is more of a weekend getaway than a typical beer fest. On Friday night there will be an Hors d’ oeuvres reception followed by Saturday morning breakfast concluding with the beer fest itself. Ticket prices vary depending on if you want the full package or just festival tickets. They can be purchased here.

The brewery list includes :



Fitger’s Brewhouse

Town Hall



Lake Superior

St. Croix

Castle Danger



Third Street

Bent Paddle

South Shore

These tickets are selling fast so you will want to grab them as soon as possible.



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