Ryan Tuenge

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 Beer

Town Hall Brewery Re-Opening with Barrel Aged Week

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: April 13, 2014 - 2:16 PM

The doors to Town Hall Brewery opened wide on Friday, just in time for the always popular Barrel Aged Week. The newly renovated space is beautiful; complete with stained glass, updated restrooms, and cozy booths. 

One of the greatest improvements was adding an event space in back, complete with a tribute to owner Pete Rifakes' mother who passed away last year. A photo of her is displayed on the wall just below her beautiful glass-encased, handmade tapestries recognizing some of their nationally awarded brews. “She didn’t even use a machine,” said head brewer Mike Hoops. “We decided to lock them in for life.”

The brewery itself gained more space, which is especially important considering all the house beer that needs to be produced to satisfy the other two sister locations. This added space allows Hoops and the brewing team to make more seasonal beers and one-off beers as well. “I’m really excited about the new space,” said Hoops. “The seasonals are super fun, and they keep the creativity flowing.”

The additional brewing space also allows them to continue their barrel aged program, which culminates on Monday with the beginning of Barrel Aged Week. The schedule looks like this:

Monday 4/14 5 pm Release

Twisted Trace- Town Hall's Twisted Reality Barley Wine aged in Buffalo Trace Oak Barrels. Recipient of 2013 Great American Beer Fest Silver medal honors Denver, CO

Tuesday 4/15 5 pm Release

Eye Wine -Town Hall's Eye of the Storm Honey ale aged in Gambling McDuck French Oak Cab Franc Wine Barrel from Napa, CA

Wednesday  4/16 5 pm Release

Manhattan Reserve - Town Hall's Belgian style Grand Cru aged with tart red cherries and finished in Woodford Reserve Barrels

Thursday 4/17 5 pm Release

Buffalo Bock- Town Hall's Weizenbock aged in Buffalo Trace Barrels 

Friday 4/18 5 pm Release

Big #7 - Town Hall's Strong Belgian Bruin Aged in Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey Barrels

Friday 4/18 5 pm Release

Project 3106- Town Hall's Strong Belgian Aged with Belgian Chocolate, kumquat, and finished in a Buffalo Trace Barrel

Saturday 4/19 **1pm Release**  

Czar Jack- Town Hall's Jack Frost Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey Barrels

Saturday 4/19 **5pm Release**  

Double Barrel Aged Jack Frost- Town Hall's Jack Frost Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey Barrel then aged in French Oak Red Wine Barrel

Of these releases the Manhattan Reserve aged on Woodford Reserve barrels (being released on Wednesday) is one not to miss. Tart cherries stand out in this one but subtle hints of plum and spice can be detected as well.

Others that were sampled and held true to Town Hall’s reputation were the Czar Jack, aged in a Jack Daniels barrel, and Buffalo Bock, which was aged in a Buffalo Trace barrel. 

The Czar Jack had some very nice vanilla notes to go along with a hint of smoke and plenty of chocolate. Buffalo Bock was quite nice with esthery banana notes from the yeast and caramel and toffee flavors that really come through as well.

To sum up the improvements you can expect:

  • The bathrooms are much better—this was probably the most needed improvement of all!
  • The brewery gained more space and 3 new fermenters, while the overall capacity shrunk by only 9 seats. Basically, they can make more beer without losing a whole lot of space.
  • The event space in back is very intimate and is complete with a drop-down screen and projector. Fantasy Football draft or home-brew party anyone?
  • The charming fireplace remains along with the leather chairs, which now face two brand new flat screen TV’s. 
  • Comfy booths now adorn the east wall of the bar area. A good use of space here, but has the potential to get crowded at peak times.
  • Exposed wood adds character to the ceiling in back and a steely blue paint job lends to a great modern look.
  • Stained glass throughout. Is there anything more aesthetically pleasing than stained glass? The design even incorporates the clock tower and a glass of beer.
  • Two nitro tap handles. Can you imagine Mango Mama on nitro? How about Three Hour Tour? This could very well happen.
  • Ten cider tap handles were added. This bodes well for those who love and appreciate cider. There will also be 10 guest beers on tap at any given time along with 15 house beers.

Be sure to check out the new space and try out the new food menu while you are at it.


Aesthetic Apparatus Scratch and Dent Sale

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: April 10, 2014 - 10:22 PM

Aesthetic Apparatus is holding their annual $5 Scratch and Dent Sale on Saturday, April 12th at noon. Here you will find a bunch of cool prints and posters (some of which are beer related) that would normally run you around $20 for only $5. All of these items are scratch and dent but are in near perfect condition.

After the sale a party will commence (at about 7 PM) where you will be able to enjoy beer from  Lake Monster Brewing and live music by The Bombay Sweets. Check out the full details below.


Saturday, April 12th at noon

Party starts at 7 PM


Aesthetic Apparatus

2215 Snelling Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55404

Minnesota Brewer's Ball Benefiting Cystic Fibrosis

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: March 24, 2014 - 11:12 PM

On Friday, March 28th from 7 PM to 11 PM Chris Reuvers from ESPN 1500 will be hosting an event benefiting research for Cystic Fibrosis in the DQ Club at TCF Bank Stadium. Present will be many regional brewers pouring samples of their handmade brews.

Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. In the 1950’s many children didn’t live to attend elementary school but thanks to medical advances, it is now possible for people to make it into their 30’s and 40’s. With more research, the foundation seeks to find a cure for this chronic disease.

General Admission tickets are $95 ($44 of this amount is tax-deductible) and will get you unlimited beer and food samples, a tasting glass, $20 off an UBER ride and access to live and silent auctions.

The VIP package will cost $150 ($76 of which is tax-deductible) and includes unlimited beer and food samples, special beer pours exclusive to VIP guests, a dinner reception with local sports celebrities and ESPN 1500 radio personalities, a tasting glass, official Brewer's Ball t-shirt, access to live and silent auctions, and $40 off an UBER ride. Tickets can be purchased here.

For further details on this event follow this link to the event website.


Are Sunday Sales in Minnesota a Possibility in 2014?

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: March 16, 2014 - 10:57 PM

Ask just about anyone on the street here in the Twin Cities how they feel about Sunday Sales and, unless they own a liquor store or work for a distributor, they will likely say they support the selling of alcohol on Sunday. This, of course, is not true of all liquor store owners as it is estimated that at least 30 - 40% are in favor of a law change.

Daniel Mays of Stinson Wine Beer and Spirits is a big supporter of Sunday Sales and believes that his business will increase if the legislation were to pass. “We want the choice to be open because our customers want it and we believe we will do more business not just spread it out,” said Mays. “Between tourists who are flocking to the Twin Cities for the craft beer/craft distillery revolution, sporting and special events, last minute plans, and simply convenience we will sell more and the costs to us are negligible.”

Mays also points out that liquor stores “[A]re already paying rent and heating/cooling whether [they] are open or not,” and goes on to say that the, “[N]ew sales which will happen will off set labor easily and this is for a store that pays a living wage. We want the choice to be open and in Minnesota 2014 that just seems like common sense.”

Andy Schmitt, who runs Minnesota Beer Activists has been busy drumming up support for a bill that would make Sunday Sales legal in Minnesota for the first time since prohibition. He believes that legislation in support of this bill would bring more revenue and jobs to Minnesota. “If a bill like Sunday liquor sales that would undoubtedly bring money and jobs to Minnesota doesn't pass then Governor Dayton’s ‘unsession’ is the same as every other session,” said Schmitt.

You might wonder why, after 80 years, nothing allowing Sunday sales in Minnesota has passed. The answer is money from opposing lobbies, not just in our state, but also in North and South Dakota and Wisconsin. It makes sense that Wisconsin and the Dakotas don’t want Sunday Sales to be legalized here as it would take away valuable business from border stores in these states. So much so, that according to an unnamed source, their Sunday business “keeps the lights on, and the rest of the week is all profit.”

According to Schmitt, the time is now for people to act and to get involved. In fact, he explained that this week is crucial and if the hearing doesn’t happen this week, the issue could be dead for 2014. Supporters of Sunday Sales can go to sundaysalesmn.org to send emails to their representatives, but calling them is most effective. The direct link to find your Representatives is right here.

This is a current list of Minnesota establishments who support Sunday Sales:

Village Wine and Spirits in Lakeland

Fifth Street Liquor in Winona

Merwin Liquors in Falcon Heights

East 7th Liquor in St. Paul

Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub in Minneapolis

Chicago Lake Liquors in Minneapolis

Dinkytown Wine and Spirits in Minneapolis

Stinson Wine Beer and Spirits in Minneapolis

Dangerous Man Brewing in Minneapolis

North Loop Wine & Spirits in Minneapolis

Merwin Liquors in Minneapolis

Boom Island Brewing in Minneapolis

Shakopee Wine Cellars in Shakopee

Southbridge Liquor in Shakopee

Princess Liquor & Tobacco in St. Paul

Arbor Pointe Liquors in Inver Grove Heights

Booze Mart in West St. Paul

Diffley Square Liquors in Eagan

Old Vine Wine & Spirits in Bloomington

Pairings Food & Wine Market in Minnetonka

The Four Firkins in St. Louis Park

Steel Toe Brewing in St. Louis Park

Liquor Boy in St. Louis Park

Maddie’s Market in St. Paul

Merwin Liquors in Maplewood

Barley John’s Brewpub in New Brighton

Domacin Wine Shop in Stillwater

Hansen’s Liquor in Stillwater

On the Rocks Wines & Spirits in Hugo

Haye’s Public House in Buffalo

JT’s Corner Bar and Grill Liquor Store in Houston

Day Block Brewing in Minneapolis

La Crescent Wine & Spirits in La Crescent

Bissen’s Tavern in Brownsville

Fetketter Family Bar and Grill in Eitzen

Don’t Remember in Harmony

Shellhorn Roadhouse in Brownsville

Peterson Off Sale in Peterson

Southside Corner in La Crescent

3rd Street Liquor in Winona

Golfview Liquor Store in Winona

Kato Liquor Ltd in Winona

Bergies Bar and Grill Liquor Store in Houston

J & B’s Liquor Store in La Roy

Kinney Creek Brewery in Rochester

Hometown Wine & Spirits in Wanamingo

Wenonah Brewing Co. in Goodview

Red Wing Brewery in Red Wing

Jack Pine Brewery in Baxter

Sawmill Saloon Liquor Store in Virginia

Leech Lake Brewing Company in Walker

99 Bottles in Moorhead

Bridgeview Liquors in Moorhead

Boathouse Brewpub in Ely

Rock Bottom Brewery in Minneapolis


Sunday Sales Concert at First Avenue

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: March 13, 2014 - 6:39 PM

Have plans for St. Patrick’s Day? On Monday, March 17th First Avenue will host a concert to raise funds for the Sunday Sales push led by Minnesota Beer Activists. Tickets are very reasonable at $10 pre-order or $15 at the door and the band line up looks really good.

Playing at the show which starts at 8 PM will be Mark Andrew (who you might know from NBC’s The Voice), Romantica, Silverback Colony, White Iron Band, and hosting will be Ian Rand from Drinking With Ian. As you may know, the Minnesota Beer Activists have been trying to repeal an old law here in Minnesota that prohibits liquor stores from selling you beer on Sunday.

“The mission of the MN Beer Activists is to raise awareness of alcohol-related issues that are outdated or harmful to consumers,” said MN Beer Activists director Andrew Schmitt. “The biggest of these is the prohibition on Sunday Sales, which literally sends money over our borders every single week. This concert is the highest-profile event we’ve ever done, and it should also be the most fun!”

You can pre-order your tickets here or find them at these fine locations around town:

Day Block Brewing

The Four Firkins

Dangerous Man Brewing

The Beer Dabbler

Event Details:

Monday, March 17th at 8 PM (doors open at 7 PM)

Ticket cost is $10 pre-order or $15 at the door

First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North

Minneapolis MN, 55403



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