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 Beer

Surly Beer Hall Set to Open in December

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: October 17, 2014 - 8:52 AM

Dara Grumdahl of Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine and WCCO Radio reported on Monday that the new Surly Beer Hall will open in December. It sounds as if chef Jorge Guzman (who was on her radio show Saturday) will have a full menu ready to go but he did not reveal a whole lot about what will be on it. News also broke that Surly has hired another famed local chef to help out Jorge in Brian Hauke whom you may know from Spill the Wine.

The massive 300 seat hall will be permeating with the smell of pizzas and pretzels and plenty of new dishes (none of which he talked to Dara about) to pair with the bold Surly beer lineup.It will be located in the Prospect Park neighborhood right along the Green Line making it easy for commuters of all sorts to stop in for a pint and a bite to eat.

Events such as Darkness Day will remain at the Brooklyn Center location but the taproom there will close for good on Thursday, October 23rd so you may want to get there while you still can.

Speaking of Darkness Day, be sure to get there this year if you haven’t been. It takes place on Saturday, October 25th from 11:00 AM until 5:30 PM but if you want to buy bottles of Darkness you’ll want to get there much earlier. How early? Try the night before (camp out) otherwise known as Darkness Eve. Here you will witness what is essentially a giant bottle share where people play video games on big screen TVs outside of tents and imbibe with one another into the wee hours of the night. Trust me on this, you have to see it to believe it.


Six Minnesota Breweries Take Home Awards at GABF 2014

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: October 8, 2014 - 6:24 PM

Minnesota breweries achieved great success at the Great American Beer Festival this year. Six different breweries earned medals this year including Summit Brewing, Town Hall Brewery, Indeed Brewing, Badger Hill Brewing, Bent Paddle Brewing, and Steel Toe Brewing.

Just to show you how prestigious these medals are, 268 are awarded in 90 different categories covering 145 styles. There were 5,507 commercial entries this year from 1,309 breweries hailing from 50 states. The Great American Beer festival has been going on for 28 years and is considered the largest commercial brewing competition in the world.

Summit and Town Hall Brewery are no strangers to winning medals having earned 9 and 15 respectively while the others earned their first piece of hardware at GABF. Here is a breakdown of the beers that earned medals this year.

Indeed Brewing Mexican Honey Imperial Lager - Silver in the Specialty Honey category

Steel Toe Brewery Wee Heavy - Gold in the Scotch Ale category

Summit Brewing Extra Pale Ale - Bronze in the Classic English Style Pale Ale category

Town Hall Brewery Buffalo Bock - Bronze in the Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Beer category

Badger Hill Brewing White IPA - Gold in the American Belgo Style Ale category

Bent Paddle Brewing 14° ESB - Bronze in the Extra Special Bitter category

A big congratulations to all of the winners this year. Minnesota’s reputation for quality beer is on the rise.

Cheers to Minnesota Beer!

Photo Credit: Photo © Brewers Association

NorthGate Taproom Grand Opening

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge Updated: October 6, 2014 - 8:00 PM

After over two and a half years of brewing, NorthGate Brewing is opening a taproom in Northeast Minneapolis on Friday, October 10th from 4 PM until midnight. The brewery specializes in British Session Ales including a tasty ESB called Parapet, a Wee Heavy called Fiddle Smasher, a Sweet Stout called Maggie’s Leap, Pumpion which is a Pumpkin Spice Ale, and Wall’s End English Style Brown Ale.

The new taproom will be located at 783 Harding St NE and will house foosball tables (league play available) and will be referred to The Pub at NorthGate. During the Grand Opening you can expect live t-shirt screen printing, live music from the The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League (8 PM till 11 PM), and Tiki Tim’s Food Truck.

If you go:


4 PM until midnight on Friday, October 10th.


The Pub at NorthGate

783 Harding St NE

Minneapolis, MN 55413


Autumn Brew Review 2014 Sneak Peek

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge 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!


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

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge 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.


Four Firkins

8338 3rd St. N

Oakdale, MN 55128



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