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 Local business

New Brew: Summit Union Series Southern Cape Sparkling Ale

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: June 17, 2014 - 9:39 PM

Head Brewer Damian McConn is the man behind Summit’s latest brew in the Union Series Southern Cape Sparkling Ale. For this small batch he sourced ingredients from all over the Southern Hemisphere including malts from Australia (Gairdner Pale), Chile (Sebastian Caramel), and hops from both New Zealand (Waimea) and South Africa (Southern Passion.)

Southern Cape Sparkling Ale is the third beer in the series following Meridan Session Ale and Rebellion Stout. The beer itself is very refreshing given the lighter malt and the high carbonation level. Tropical fruit comes alive in the nose and on pallet thanks to the Waimea hops from Down Under. This one is best enjoyed out on the deck while grilling and listening to your favorite tunes.

The Union Series was born with idea that their brewers will discover new ingredients and apply their creativity to create new and exciting beers brewed in small batches. You can find Southern Cape Sparkling Ale at many liquor stores throughout the Twin Cities.

Beer specs:

ABV: 4.4

IBU: 47

Malts: Gairdner Pale and Sebastian Caramel

Hops: Waimea and Southern Passion

Yeast: Australian Ale

Cheers!

Adam Turman and CHUX Print Garage Sale

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: June 12, 2014 - 2:35 PM

On Saturday, June 28th CHUX Print and Adam Turman are hosting a garage sale from 9 AM to 5 PM where you can find $5 prints and $10 test prints along with t-shirts (designs are yet to be determined) made to order. This is your chance to dress up that fancy home bar or living room with some cool stuff from the best print shop in town and one of the most talented artists out there.

Adam’s work can be seen all throughout the beer community (posters, shirts, etc) as well as on the side of local buildings such as The Butcher and Boar, 612 Brew, and Yamamoto. Check out his portfolio here.

CHUX Print has been a staple in the St. Louis Park community since 2005 working with many Twin Cities businesses, high school sports teams, food trucks, breweries, and artists. Check out some of their apparel work here.

Details of event below.

Where:

CHUX Print

3316 Gorham Ave.

St. Louis Park, MN 55426

Time:

Saturday, June 28th

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

What to Bring:

Cash or plastic

Cheers!

The Four Firkins Expanding

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: April 18, 2014 - 11:56 AM

The little store that started on Minnetonka and Texas has come a long way in nearly 6 years. Thanks to a dedication to customer service and the craft beer boom here in Minnesota, The Four Firkins is looking to bring their model to the east side of the metro (Woodbury) and beyond. 

Woodbury was chosen for the second store partially based off a zip code study that they conducted last year. “Years of study go into something like this, and our customers come from all over the metro,” said Four Firkins owner Jason Alvey. Another factor is that Woodbury is surrounded by largely populated areas such as Maplewood and Hudson, Wisconsin.

In order to accomplish this expansion, The Four Firkins is asking for help from the community in the form of a crowdsourcing campaign. The campaign is on Indiegogo, a platform similar to Kickstarter, where an individual makes a pledge toward a cause and gets something in return. Some of rewards offered are access to special release beers; a plaque with your name on it, which will be on display at the SLP store; in-store beer education classes; and even dinner with the owner.

Crowdsourcing seems to be the way of the future, and it also allows for someone to raise capital while retaining full ownership. The traditional way to raise capital is to invite investors in to take on ownership. This, however; was not what Alvey wanted. “Small businesses do not have piles of cash, it’s just not realistic,” said Alvey. Retaining ownership was a priority for him, whose store is the only one in town dedicated strictly to craft beer. When asked why they chose Indiegogo instead of Kickstarter he had this to say, “We didn’t know how it would be received so we didn’t want to risk a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is all or nothing where Indiegogo gives you the money even if the goal is not reached.”

They are looking to open 3 more locations in the future after the Woodbury store. This, however; is the only campaign planned—meaning that the second store will be able to help them raise the capital to open the third store and so on. So far, it has been well received by many, having already raised over $24,000 of the $50,000 goal, but there is only a week left in the campaign.

The campaign itself raised a stir on the Beer Advocate forum, where a thread was created, bashing the choice to go with crowdsourcing over traditional investors. The critics claim that The Four Firkins charges more for their beer than most stores in town already. “We sell our products for a fair price,” said Alvey. “We don’t believe in needlessly de-valuing local craft beer.” The store was the first to join the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild—a sign of their commitment to local beer—often giving breweries feedback on their products. Some stores around the Twin Cities will buy a large volume of beer nearing the end of its shelf life just to offer it at a discounted rate. At The Four Firkins, they don’t do this, “It’s incredible the stuff in some of the stores you see,” said Alvey.

Despite the fact that everyone has a right to voice their opinion, the arguments against crowdsourcing seem a bit harsh considering that other local businesses have used this model to fund things such as restaurants and coffee shops. Two, in particular, that come to mind are Travail and the Birchwood Cafe. Alvey noted, “Either way, we have to get the capital. This gives our customers an opportunity to be a part of something special.”

The Four Firkins crew prides themselves on selling only fresh beer. “Turnover is a big thing,” Alvey explained, “our inventory turns over two and a half times a month. This is because we are a destination store. We don’t ever have expired product on our shelves.”

The little destination store that began on the corner of Texas and Minnetonka is bringing their unique experience to the rest of the Twin Cities thanks to the community that has always supported them.

You can support the campaign here.

Four Firkins IndieGoGo Video from Limited Release Beer on Vimeo.

Cheers!

State Fair Preview—Land of 10,000 Beers Exhibit

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: August 23, 2013 - 9:54 AM

For the second year in a row, Minnesota craft beer will be on display in the Agriculture Building. You can learn everything about our local suds; from where the ingredients come from to how it is made and who produces it. The exhibit will feature local examples from some of the 40 breweries represented at the fair.

 

The response to this exhibit could not have been better during last year’s Great Minnesota Get Together, where flocks of people came to learn about and sample various local brews. “We had people knocking the door down at 9 AM last year,” said Clint Roberts, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild.

 

That success prompted the Brewers Guild to double the space for this year, which will include a wall dedicated to brewery art and two additional flights of beer bringing the total to six. “We don’t want people to just come in for a beer, we want them to take in the entire cultural aspect,” said Roberts. This year they are also introducing Firkin Friday. That means on Fridays they will switch out one of the typical beers in your flight with a special beer drawn from a firkin (basically a small keg). These are usually limited or rare varieties that the brewers don’t brew every day.

 

Once again the exhibit will feature speakers from all corners of the craft beer scene from brewers to educators. If you happen to be at the fair on Sunday, August 25th you won’t want to miss Doug Hoverson, author of Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota. Doug is well-versed in the history of brewing in Minnesota and is extremely interesting to listen to.

 

One of the best presentations last year involved both Mike and Dave Hoops—two brothers brewing at two different brewpubs here in Minnesota. Mike brews at Town Hall Brewery at Seven Corners in Minneapolis and Dave brews up at Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth. They will be presenting again this year on Tuesday, August 27th at 6 PM.

 

Another promising presentation in the lineup is Artifacts and Agriculture, which will cover a variety of topics such as old brewery memorabilia (Dave Wendl of Breweriana Collectors Club of America), the growing of hops (Charlie “Hop Star” Rohwher Ph.D.) and the malting/barley industry (Cargill’s Mark Ruark). 

 

Here is the full presentation schedule:

 

Thursday, August 22

  • 3pm – Getting to Know the Guild: Clint Roberts, Guild Executive Director
  • 6pm – Beer Tourism: Dan Justesen, Guild President, Vine Park Brewing Co.

Friday, August 23

  • 3pm – Member Showcase: 612Brew, Indeed Brewing Co.
  • 6pm – The Art of the Cask: Tony Digatono of Great Waters Brewing Co.

Saturday, August 24

  • Noon – Homebrewer Award Program
  • 3pm – Primary Fermenter Showcase
  • 6pm – Member Showcase: Surly Brewing Co., Fulton Beer

Sunday, August 25

  • Noon – A Historian’s Perspective: Craft Beer with Doug Hoverson
  • 3pm – Minnesota Hop Star: The U of M’s Charlie Rohwer, Ph.D.
  • 6pm – Member Showcase: Third Street Brewhouse, Boom Island Brewing Co., Flat Earth Brewing Co.

Monday, August 26

  • 3pm – Member Showcase: Excelsior Brewing Co., Lucid Brewing Co.
  • 6pm – Exploring Beer Artifacts: Steve Ketcham

Tuesday, August 27

  • 3pm – Discussing Different Brewing Styles: Damian McConn from Summit Brewing Co., Jace Marti from August Schell Brewing Co., and Todd Haug from Surly Brewing Co.
  • 6pm – Brotherly Brewing: Mike Hoops (Town Hall Brewery) and Dave Hoops (Fitger’s Brewhouse)

Wednesday, August 28

  • 3pm – Member Showcase: Castle Danger Brewery, Lift Bridge Brewery
  • 6pm – Member Showcase: Dangerous Man Brewing Co., Big Wood Brewery

Thursday, August 29

  • 3pm – The Flavor Profiles of Beer: Michael Agnew
  • 6pm – Member Showcase: Lift Bridge Brewing Co., Town Hall Brewery

Friday, August 30

  • 3pm – A Veteran Perspective on Minnesota Craft Beer: Mark Stutrud of Summit Brewing Co., Ted Marti of August Schell Brewing Co.
  • 6pm – The First Family of Minnesota Craft Beer: The Marti Family of August Schell Brewing Co.

Saturday, August 31

  • Noon: Local Flavor: Artifacts and Agriculture: Dave Wendl, North Star Chapter, Breweriana Collectors Club of America, U of M’s Charlie Rohwer, Ph.D. (hops), Cargill’s Mark Ruark (barley/malt)
  • 3pm – Duluth Beer City: Tim Nelson, Frank Kaszuba, and Dave Hoops from Fitger’s Brewhouse
  • 6pm – Exploring the World of Barley and Malt: Chris German from Brewers Supply Group

Sunday, September 1

  • Noon – From Farm to Glass: Joe Pond (Olvalde Farm and Brewing Co.) and Dustin Brau (Brau Bros. Brewing Co.)
  • 3pm – Member Showcase: Excelsior Brewing Co., Third Street Brewhouse
  • 6pm – The Craft Beer Consumer: The Four Firkins

Monday, September 2

  • 3pm – Homebrewing 101: Jeff Merriman of Northern Brewer
  • 6pm – Another side of craft beer.

 

Be sure to check out the Minnesota Brewers Guild site for the rest of the details and remember to ask questions while you are there.

 

Cheers! 

 

 

Castle Danger Brewing

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: July 11, 2013 - 11:37 PM

 

The North Shore is home to some great breweries, most of which are located in Duluth. But you’d be missing out if you didn’t head a half hour north to a little town called Castle Danger where Clint and Jamie MacFarlane own and operate Castle Haven Cabins and Castle Danger Brewery.

 

 The cabins alone would make the trip worthwhile but it’s the beer brewed on site (since 2010) that makes it extra special.

 

It could be argued that Castle Danger Brewery has the best view of any brewery in the state and Clint does not take that for granted. Operating in what appears to be the cleanest brewery around, Clint and lifelong friend and brewer Mason Williams churn out a wide variety of beers including their year-round offering—Danger Ale.

 Danger Ale is a Pale Ale that you can tell Clint spent some time formulating. This flagship beer comes in at 6% ABV and is nicely balanced between the bready malt and the hops.

 Gale Force Wheat is their early summer seasonal brew, which packs a hop punch of 77 IBU’s due to the addition of Cascade, Citra, and Hallertau hops. True to the Hefeweizen style, it also has that distinct banana clove touch and is topped off with some orange zest.

 Double Crossing IPA is a monster of a beer at 9.1% ABV, but you would never know by taking a sip as it sneaks up on you rather quickly. It is loaded with hops, four pounds per barrel to be exact, giving it a nice grapefruit flavor. Double Crossing IPA was created in honor of the two-year anniversary of the brewery.

 What’s really exciting is that Castle Danger Brewing has plans to open a taproom just south of their current location in Two Harbors, Minnesota at 17 7th Street. The plan is to do most of the brewing at the new location where they will operate a canning line, while still brewing special or experimental batches at the original brewery. It should be noted that when the taproom opens growler sales will no longer be available at the original brewery, only at the taproom.

 Many of their beers are currently available at the brewery in a growler for $15 (filled) or $10 for refills. You can find them on tap at many locations along the North Shore, and they will also be pouring at All Pints North this weekend up in Duluth. Go here to purchase your tickets to this event.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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