This was very tough to write considering all of the great brews that were to be had at the Autumn Brew Review. Although it was wet and the line to get in was long, beer lovers were rewarded with some of the best fall offerings around. Here is my top five list of beers from ABR:
5. Mole Midnight Ryder by Indeed Brewing - At first sip this one seemed to have a little too much heat, but the warm chocolate and cinnamon notes came through over time and helped this cask ale to achieve one of the top five spots.
4. El Hefe Negro by Surly Brewing - A very enjoyable and unique brew that was subtly sweet with that familiar banana clove flavor and kicked in the mouth with a dry hop addition. Something, it would seem, that only Surly could pull off.
3. Barrel Aged Saison Nourrice by Harriet Brewing - A slightly fruity and dry Farmhouse Ale aged in Chardonnay barrels with a subtle sourness to it that was certainly gratifying. This is sure to be a favorite of Harriet Tap Room goers.
2. Nitro Cold Press Black with Whole Bean Madagascar Vanilla by Bent Paddle Brewing - Certainly the best coffee beer at the festival and with a beautiful kick of vanilla beans. What really set this one apart from everything else was the velvety texture. Smooth and creamy from the nitrogen and wonderful roasted flavor from the Duluth Coffee Co. cold press coffee.
1. Royal Pale India Ale by Town Hall Brewery - The best use of hops at the festival goes to Town Hall for this brew. Citrusy Mosaic hops hit you in the face right away but the beer finishes nice and clean unlike some IPA’s out there. A world class beer, without a doubt.
A few notes from ABR:
The old Grain Belt brewery will once again play host to one of the top annual craft beer festivals (sold out) this Saturday from 1 PM to 5 PM. There are plenty of things to be excited about including musical entertainment, food trucks, beer education, and of course beer.
The Jack Brass Band will be performing as will the Southside Aces and we will again witness the Traditional Bagpipe Opener. At this point it seems to be a right of passage.
Highlighting the food trucks are Natedogs, Ngon Bistro, World Street Kitchen, Stanley’s, Foxy Falafel, Gastro Truck and more. For those of you who have not tried something from World Street Kitchen you really ought to try either the Red Curry Burrito or the Lamb Belly Tacos—both of which will be served on Saturday.
Beer Education will feature an Identifying Off Flavor Beers by Michael Agnew from a Perfect Pint, From Wort to Wonder, The Magic of Homebrewing by Northern Brewer, and A Blind Tasting Sensory Experience by Better Beer Society. All of the above instructors certainly have the credentials and experience to make all of these worthwhile.
The best part of course is going to be the beer. Here are just some of the many beers this writer is excited about:
Lunker Barleywine 2011 from Steel Toe Brewing- This one has been aging in Templeton Rye whiskey barrels and is sure to be heavy.
Ovila Abbey Saison Collaboration from Sierra Nevada Brewing- This one looks interesting, mandarin oranges and peppercorns in a Farmhouse Ale brewed by one of the best breweries in the country.
Black Forest Ale from Excelsior Brewing- A dry Black Ale infused with cherry. The interesting part is that it’s not supposed to be all that roasty.
Ghostface Fatha from Bent Brewstillery- A brand new brewery/distillery from Roseville is bringing this American Emperial Stout which is light in body and infused with ghost peppers. Midwestern palates be warned!
Lavender ESB from NorthGate Brewing- This Bitter style brew is apparently dry hopped with lavender. Sometimes lavender can be a bit overwhelming and perfume heavy in a beer but when done right it can be rewarding. We’ll have to see with this one.
Can Morning Wood from Big Wood Brewing win best beer for a third straight year? You will have to be here to find out. For more on this event check out the MN Brewers Guild site here.
If you are looking for something beer-centric to do on Saturday you may want to check out Rauchfest at Harriet Brewing. This Oktoberfest event will not only feature craft beer but also a good looking lineup of bands, local artists, and food trucks. The event is from 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM and is located at the brewery in South Minneapolis.
Some notable bands are The Boys ‘n The Barrels, the Duluth locals Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank, and folk rockers Molly Maher and Her Disbelievers from St. Paul. All of the bands are either regional or local here to the Twin Cities and should keep the crowd lively. As you may know, Harriet is very good about supporting local artists at every turn and this event is no exception. Where else can you see live painters or fire dancers while you sip suds?
Of course it wouldn’t be a celebration without Rauchfest (Smoked Lager) or any of the other seven Harriet beers that will be available on Saturday. The lineup features a variety of beer including a Sour Belgian beer called Saison Nourrice, an Oktoberfest, a German Dunkelweizen, a Belgian IPA and a few others.
Tickets to this event are going to be $15 and can be ordered here. See below for more details.
RAUCHFEST 2013 BEER MENU
Rauchfest Lager - German-Style Smoked Lager – 5.5% ABV • 25 IBU
Oktoberfest / Márzen - German-Style Lager – 5.0% ABV • 25 IBU
West Side – Belgian-Style IPA – 6.5% ABV • 40 IBU
Dark Abbey - Belgian-Style Dubbel – 7.5% ABV • 25 IBU
Divine Oculust – Belgian-Style Golden Strong – 8.5% ABV • 35 IBU
Woluptuweiss - German-Style Dunkelweizen – 5.5% ABV • 12 IBU
Wodan Weizen - German-Style Weissbier – 5.0% ABV • 14 IBU
Saison Nourrice “Sour” - Barrel Aged Belgian-Style Farmhouse Ale – 6.0% ABV • 35 IBU
Tickets: $6 or 4/$20
MIDWEST SUPPLIES MAIN STAGE
Boys ‘N The Barrels (7:30-9pm) ~ Bluegrass
Useful Jenkins (5:30-7pm) ~ Bluegrass. Funk. Rock
Dérobé Dance Band (3:30-5pm) ~ Afrobeat
The Blackberry Brandy Boys (1:30-3pm) ~ Cosmic Americana
PROMO ADVANTAGE TAP ROOM STAGE
Dead Larry (8:30-10pm) – Funk. Rock. Dance.
Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank (6:30-8pm) – Roots
Erik Koskinen Band (5-6pm) – Roots Rock
Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers (4-5pm) – Americana Roots
The Jolly Huntsmen (2-3:30pm) – Polka
Mark Andrew Duo (1-1:45pm) – Songwriter
BLICK’S ART ALLEY
DWITT - Tap Room Exhibit + Live Painting
Jeff Troldahl – Tap Room Exhibit + Live Painting
Chuck Hues - Main Stage Live Painting
SJ Gray – Alley Exhibit + Live Painting
Jesse Brodd – Tap Room Exhibit
Twisted Groove - Tye-Dye Exhibit
Shell Kelley – Live Painting
LLK Designs – Alley Exhibit
SaraCura – Henna & Jewelry
Archaic Aberrations – Natural & Handmade Items
Mobile Screen Printing by Wentworth Screen Printing
Harriet H Logo & Rauchfest 2013 Plates will be ready to press on any of your clothes. Come prepared!
KFAI - 90.3 FM Minneapolis – 106.7 FM St. Paul
Midwest Supplies - Main Stage in Big Top Tent
Promo Advantage – Taproom Stage
Blick’s Art Materials – Art Alley
The Growler - The Patio
MN Food Truck Association – Food Court
Zeke’s Unchained Animal - Backstage
Yelp! – Social Media
MJG Productions - Street Team
Secret Stash Records – Rauchfest Vinyl
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
Friday, August 23
Saturday, August 24
Sunday, August 25
Monday, August 26
Tuesday, August 27
Wednesday, August 28
Thursday, August 29
Friday, August 30
Saturday, August 31
Sunday, September 1
Monday, September 2
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.