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 Holidays

Beer-centric ideas for Valentine’s Day

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: February 11, 2015 - 12:14 PM

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be limited to a fancy dinner and bottle of wine. Here are some date ideas for beer-loving couples who are looking to do something a little different this year.

Take Friday off and enjoy a weekend trip up North starting at Bent Paddle Brewing in the West End neighborhood of Duluth. Then swing into Canal Park Brewing to take in the lake view while enjoying a late-afternoon beer or two. Follow that up with a romantic sunset walk to Fitger’s Brewhouse to enjoy a wonderful dinner and stay for the beer and music. Wake up on Saturday and take a cruise up to the gorgeous, frozen Gooseberry Falls. Swing into the new Castle Danger Brewing taproom in Two Harbors on your way back to Duluth and explore their selection of beers by ordering a flight.

If you want to stay closer to town, take a day trip out to Stillwater and swing into The Wedge and Wheel for a cheese flight and ask owner Chris Kohtz to help you pair it with a beer or cider. For dinner, walk over to LOLO American Kitchen for a tasty meal and sip on one of the many craft brews or fancy cocktails available on their menu.

Host a fun couples evening where each duo brings a different beer and appetizer pairing to share with the group. A nut brown ale would pair nicely with an aged gouda and a big, hoppy IPA with a blue cheese.

For a more intimate night-in take your date to one of the many local bottle shops around town and pick out a mixed six pack to pair with a home cooked meal. Pair a nice IPA such as Hop Dish from Lift Bridge with a spicy Thai dish, a vinaigrette salad with a Saison such as CynicAle from Surly, and a nice Stout such as Foundation from Badger Hill Brewing with a rich raspberry chocolate cake.

There’s nothing more romantic than creating and learning something new together and brewing beer would surely fit the bill. Start by heading to Midwest Supplies or Northern Brewer and picking out one of their starter sets. Then pick out a pre-made beer recipe kit (instructions will be included) and “hop” to it! You can celebrate again in a couple weeks with a bottling date and keep the love alive next month when your beer is finally ready to drink.

Cheers to all the “hoppy” couples out there!

Holiday Gift Ideas For The Beer Lover 2014

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: December 11, 2014 - 8:06 AM

The holidays are here and many of us still need to do some shopping. Here are some ideas for those beer loving friends and family members of yours. Prices are current as of the posting of this blog and are of course subject to change at any time.

BACtrac Vio Breathalyzer $52.02 on Amazon

This is one the better purchases I’ve made in recent memory. This device works with a free app via bluetooth using either Android or iOS. Guess your blood alcohol content checking it periodically and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you actually get to the legal driving limit. Be sure to drink responsibly and never drive intoxicated.

Wooden Six Pack Holder from B.Y. Arcand of Minneapolis available at The Four Firkins for $32.99

Tired of all those empty cardboard six pack holders hanging around the house?  Check out this beautiful hand crafted wooden beverage transportation device available at The Four Firkins. The built in bottle opener is a nice feature for those sick of asking for one. These are available in both cherry wood red hue stain, and teak dark wood stain.

Spiegelau Beer Classics Connoisseur Gift Set available on Amazon for $45.99

One of the best beer related gifts I have ever received. I got this set at the Beer Bloggers Conference a couple years ago and I can’t get over how great these are. High quality and made of thin crystal, these four different glasses give you a unique beer drinking experience. The one and only Garrett Oliver (author and brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery) explained to us that the glass you use matters, especially when it comes to tasting beer. These vessels are designed for you to stick your nose in and explore the many aromas, flavors and colors that beer has to offer.

A Perfect Pint’s Beer Guide to the Heartland available from A Perfect Pint website for $25

About 4 years ago local/national beer writer, Cicerone, educator and overall good guy Michael Agnew set out to visit every brewery in the region and live to write about the experience. As he found out it was a tough task and after a few revisions it was finally published this year. I keep this well written reference guide on my coffee table and guests seem to enjoy paging through and checking out the local breweries. Michael offers his favorite choices at each brewery (over 200 of them) along with notes and brewery info such as contact information, hours, and nearby attractions. I don’t even want to see that four year credit card statement.

Brewed in MInnesota T-Shirt available at brewedinminnesota.com for $20

Surely you have see this shirt around town. First printed by CHUX Print shop in St. Louis Park, this classic bottle cap log shirt is now being made by the Minnesota Craft Brewer Guild. There is something iconic about this logo set against a black background and it’s worn proudly by brewers and beer geeks alike.

What are some items on your wish list? Share them in the comments below.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Bauhaus Introduces Jingle Fever

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: November 18, 2014 - 6:28 PM

On November 19th, Bauhaus is introducing their first winter seasonal offering Jingle Fever. This 8% ABV Baltic Porter will be available in bombers (22 oz bottles) and is described as smooth with flavors of chocolate, dried fruit, licorice, earthy spice, and toast.

Why did they choose a Porter? “We really want to make our seasonal releases special, not just beers that could be part of our year-round lineup” said President and Head Brewer Matt Schwandt. Most of their beers are sessionable lagers and this one will definitely stand out.

It was also announced that Bauhaus will be expanding by 50% in the next few months which is a sign that they have struggled in keeping up with demand for their unique local brews. “We can’t put our beer in cans fast enough,” said Schwandt. “But when we get the additional fermenters and a second brite tank, we’ll be able to keep pace with demand and experiment even more with seasonals and one-off batches.”

Be sure to stop in at the taproom if you haven’t been there yet. They definitely have one of the coolest taprooms in town and it would be a good excuse to try Jingle Fever on tap.


Festivus at Town Hall Brewery

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: December 16, 2013 - 11:35 PM

Today at 5 PM Town Hall Brewery at 7 Corners will be hosting it’s annual Festivus event complete with a bonfire, Festivus Ale (an Imperial Wit) along with Glug (a Swedish Spiced Wine) and a Fesitvus Pole. Also available will be the annual Grinch’s Grog, Elves Elixr, and New Zealand Red Ale.

Attendees can also partake in the Airing of Grievences and Feats of Strength while enjoying a few of these brews. Get ready to harness your inner Frank Costanza tonight!

When: Tuesday, December 17th

Time: 5 PM

Where: Town Hall Brewery

1430 Washington Avenue South

Minneapolis , MN 55454



Holiday Beer Guide

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: December 22, 2011 - 12:56 PM
Having trouble finding that perfect beer to bring to holiday gatherings? Fear not, many of the local liquor stores are now carrying a wide variety of brews to choose from. Here are my picks for the season:
Jubelale from Deschutes Brewery of Bend, Oregon has a festive red hue and the flavors are very well balanced between bitter and sweet and a subtle spice. This beer is definitely a winter warmer and is sure to please those looking to stray from the norm. You can find Jubelale at Chicago Lake Liquors for $8.99 a six pack.
Another option is Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. This amber colored, hop forward, fresh hopped offering is a hop lover’s delight—made with Chinook, Cascade, and Centennial hops. Strong pine and citrus flavors come through due to the copious amount of hops used to make this beer. Sierra Nevada has been brewing this 5-time award-winning ale to celebrate the holiday season since 1981. You can find it at The Four Firkins or at Chicago Lake for $7.99 a six pack. Chicago Lake even sells a 12 pack for the everyday low price of $10.99.
Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale was available at The Four Firkins for $10.99 a six pack but it sold out quickly and is no longer available. If you can find it, you are in for a real treat. It is basically an apology beer for the fans of Brown Shugga Ale, which is their perennial holiday offering. Lagunitas ran out of brewing capacity this year so they decided to concoct a holiday treat from 4 different grains and plenty of hops. This ale is packed with citrus and pine flavors and balanced slightly by malt and alcohol flavors. What really stands out about this beer is the intense grapefruit smell when you first pop the cap off.
Some other holiday beers available around the twin cities are:
Goose Island Christmas Ale
Snow Day and Framboise from New Belgium
Bells Christmas Ale
Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Anchor Steam Christmas Ale
Alaskan Winter Ale
Bells Winter Ale
Summit Winter Ale
Schell’s Snowstorm
Remember that your local brewpubs have also been working hard to create their take on holiday beers such as Town Hall’s Festivus, Raspberry Porter, and Wee Heavy. Great Water’s Brewing is selling Yuletide and Belgian Bruin. Barley John’s is offering a Northern English Brown Ale, as well as an Imperial Stout, and a Smoked Porter. The Herkimer Pub is offering a Dopplebock as their seasonal.
Those of you with decision making issues may want to consider creating your own mixed 6 pack at a place such as The Four Firkins. Since they are a beer-dedicated store, their employees are the best in the business at recommending certain beers based on your preferences and their advice does not include that pretentious ego sometimes associated with beer snobs.
For those on a budget (especially after the shopping season) you may want to hit up Cellars in the Eastern suburbs or Chicago Lake Liquors if you are in Minneapolis. Both of these establishments offer great prices on beer and a pretty good selection. You really can’t beat the everyday 12 pack prices on Sierra Nevada and Summit at Chicago Lake ($10.99 each).
Happy Holidays and remember that beer was meant to shared.


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters