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.

Autumn Brew Review 2014 Sneak Peek

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge under Beer, Food, beer, wine events, Beer Updated: September 25, 2014 - 8:40 PM

The sold out Autumn Brew Review is happening at 1 PM on Saturday and judging by the program it is sure to be a hit once again. For starters the ticketing and entry process looks to be much improved this year in that they will begin taking tickets and wrist banding starting at 11 AM. This means that you can stop in and get that part of the process out of the way before you head to brunch or whatever you are doing before the event.

Now here are five beers to look forward to at ABR.

1. El Guerrero Chilean Double Stout from Bent Brewstillery - This is described as a complex Stout featuring flavors of espresso, smoky peppers and wildflower honey. Bent Brewstillery just opened their taproom in Roseville and they are going to be making some great beer with the creative Kristen England over the kettle.

2. Dawn of Aurora Berliner Weiss from Schell’s - Anyone who has tried one or all of the beers in this series knows that there are some exciting things happening down in New Ulm. The fifth in Jace Marti’s series of sours was aged in their 1936 cypress wood tank and should be fruity and provide sour lovers that bit of funk and acidity to it as well.

3. Three Hour Tour from Town Hall Brewery - This Coconut Milk Stout is arguably one of the breweries most popular yearly releases.There is something unique about this velvety, delicious brew and it may just win Best of the Fest. This year Town Hall plans to bring this to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver this year in hopes of earning a medal.

4. Fulton Wet Hop from Fulton - Brewed with locally grown wet Cascades, this beer was meant to be shown off at ABR and is the first of its kind from Fulton. Fresh Hop beers are popular this time of year so you may want to get in line early for this one.

5. The Devils Twerk from Surly - Brewmaster Todd Haug has been a busy guy lately, traveling all over Europe and collaborating with world class brewers on some special beers. He even had a beer named after him recently. Well anyway Surly has been doing some pretty cool and unique stuff lately including this beer which is described as a Black Cherry and Licorice Porter aged on Oak and weighing in at 6.66 ABV. Get it?

Please remember to call for a ride after the event and always, always drink water between pours and support the local food trucks. Your body will thank you Sunday morning. Happy ABR!

Cheers!

The Four Firkins in Oakdale Sets October 11th Grand Opening Date

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge under Beer, Food, beer, wine events, Beer, Local business, Woodbury Updated: September 22, 2014 - 11:14 PM

The Four Firkins Oakdale location opened last Thursday at 4 PM after months of hard work put in by owner Jason Alvey and his herd of beer nerds otherwise known as The Four Firkins Crew. “It’s a hell of a lot of work” says Alvey. “It takes a lot of work to do this.” By his count he hasn’t had a day off since August, often working 14 hour days preparing for the new location to open.

The hard work paid off with a packed house on Thursday and the locals seemed to take a liking to the craft beer only store. “It’s been a great happy vibe” according to Alvey. “A lot of locals stopped in that didn’t even know about us.” Although the work is not complete (there is still more decorating to do) it feels very similar to the St. Louis Park location with deep red walls and dark woods with exposed ceilings. This was of course by design.

“It is branding and we understand the importance of branding” said Alvey. “This is all custom stuff. If you want the same feel you have to make it yourself. It doesn’t just come out of a box.”

When you go to the Four Firkins in St. Louis Park you expect a certain kind of experience—one where both beer geeks and newbies to craft beer feel welcome. The same experience will also be felt at the brand new Four Firkins location right next to Buffalo Wild Wings in Oakdale. Their “Oakbury” location (coined by Sales Manager Michael Wagner) will be staffed by some of the same people as the SLP location and yes they will be doing in store tastings as well.

To celebrate the crew plans to throw a Grand Opening shindig on October 11th where they hope  to serve food cooked on grills outside of the store. They also invited some breweries to pour beer (inside only) for thirsty beer shoppers who plan to celebrate with them.

Be sure to stop in and pick up something from Bauhaus Brew Labs or Steel Toe Brewing which aren’t currently available anywhere else in the area.

Location:

Four Firkins

8338 3rd St. N

Oakdale, MN 55128

Cheers!

Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub Celebrates Two Years

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge under Beer, Food, beer, wine events, Beer Updated: September 18, 2014 - 9:54 PM

The brewpub that offered investors free beer for life is turning two years old. Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub is inviting everyone to their celebration at the brewery on Saturday, September 20th which will feature a tap takeover that includes a bunch of special house brews.

They will also be giving away tickets to the always popular Autumn Brew Review put on by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild along with gift cards to the brewpub. Jamie Robinson and Amy Johnson take pride in their neighborhood establishment and that shines through in the product poured from the draft towers and the food that comes out of the smoker.

Be sure to check this out if you are in town this weekend. Below you will find a list of the beers you will find on tap Saturday.

Anniversary Ale 2014

Anniversary Ale 2013

Fresh Hop IPA

Wild Rice Amber

Bridge Hanger Belgian Dark Strong

Hot Box 2014 (collaboration brew with Indeed)

Hefeweizen

Clementine Infused Big Jim IPA

Vanilla Bean infused Smokehouse Porter

Big Jim IPA

Light Rail Pale Ale

Honey Wheat

Smokehouse Porter

Cheers!

News and Notes for September 2014

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge under Beer, Food, beer, wine events, Beer Updated: September 11, 2014 - 5:14 PM

Fall is typically a busy time of year for the local craft beer scene and this September is proof of that. First off, SurlyFest is taking place on Saturday September 20th from 2:00 PM until 6:17 PM at the current brewery. Tickets will run you $40 but you get a commemorative stein and four beers. The entertainment features The Bratwurst Brothers, DJ Shannon Blowtorch, Umbrella Bed, and The Pistol Whipping Party Penguins. Food trucks will be there as well and the list includes, NateDogs, Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen, Asian Invasion, Aki’s Backstube, Chef Shack, The Red Pig and Truffle, and Gastro Truck.

  • Bauhaus Brew Labs cans are hitting store shelves this week. The only variety that will be available for a couple weeks is their tasty Wagon Party Lager. They will then start rolling out the other 3 varieties going forward.
  • The Autumn Brew Review is coming up on September 27th from 1 PM to 5 PM. Stay tuned to the blog for my preview next week.
  • The Herkimer is hosting Oktoberfest on Lyndale on September 27th from 5 PM until 2 AM.
  • News broke this week that Bent Paddle of Duluth is facing a lawsuit from Long Trail Brewing out of Vermont over a trademark infringement. I am hearing that talks are positive between the two parties and that both sides are pushing for an amicable outcome. Stay tuned for further details.
  • The new Surly brewery is coming along nicely and their brewery equipment is being installed this week. They are still aiming for a fall or early winter opening. Check out some photos here.
  • Town Hall Brewery is offering brunch ($13) on weekends again before Gophers and Vikings games. Doors open at 9 AM and your first beer, mimosa, Bloody Mary, or screwdriver is on the house. Speaking of Town Hall, Wheat Week starts on September 15th where 11 infused Wheat Beers will be rotated every day to celebrate the end of summer.
  • Fitger’s Brewhouse recently conducted a vote to see which retired beer would make it back on tap and the winner was Wizard of Saaz IPA. Look for this to be released at the end of October.

That’s all for now but stay tuned for my ABR Preview next week.

Cheers!

New Brew: Summit Unchained #16 Herkulean Woods

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge under Beer, Food, beer, wine events, Beer, Local business, Locally-produced food, Local Updated: September 8, 2014 - 2:29 PM

The latest offering in the Unchained series, Herkulean Woods is an Imperial California Common Lager that utilizes some local ingredients such as maple syrup from Lutsen, spruce tips from a farm in Iowa, and even locally grown malts. This brew was created by Christian Dixon and this is his inaugural attempt in the Unchained lineup.

The beer sports a beautiful amber hue with bread and Belgian candy sugars in the nose. The flavor itself starts off a little sweet but finishes with some alcohol and bitterness from the hops and the slightly piney spruce tips. The complex flavors really benefit from about 15 minutes of warming up so don’t be shy in pulling this one out of the fridge a bit early.

Better yet grab this one on your way to a backyard fire and enjoy with friends outdoors under the beautiful stars.

By the numbers:

ABV: 8.2%

IBUs: 77

Malts: Harrington, Lacey, and Caramel

Hops: Hercules, Northern Brewer, and Exp 05256

Yeast strain: California Common

Kettle additions: Maple syrup and spruce tips

Cheers!

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