Fifty years ago Minnesota passed legislation that would protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and make it a destination for future generations looking to escape chaotic, everyday life. Well, it worked, and the Friends of the Boundary Water Wilderness (FBWW)—a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting this sacred area—are seeking beer entries from local Minnesota craft breweries that capture the spirit of our wilderness.

“We are excited to see and taste how Minnesota’s best breweries capture the spirit of the Minnesota outdoors,” said Paul Danicic, executive director, FBWW. “Brews and Canoes is an easy and fun way for Minnesotans to learn more about the Wilderness Act and take an active role in helping preserve the Boundary Waters for future generations. We hope breweries and outdoor lovers across the state will join us in raising a glass and commemorating this historic anniversary.” Below are the categories:

·       Best Northern Lights (Light-bodied, light-colored beers including, but not limited to lagers and pilsners)

·       Best Night Skies (Heavy-bodied, dark-colored beers including, but not limited to ales and stouts)

·       Most Pioneering Brew (Local, interesting ingredients and flavor profiles)

·       Best Representation of the Spirit of the Boundary Waters (Name, label design, back story)

·       Star of the North (Best in show)

Breweries can submit an application here. The entry period goes through June 2nd with beer being ready for judging by August 1st.

Beer and the outdoors seem to go pretty well together. “People who enjoy craft beer are the same people who are going to plan an outdoor trip,” said Aaron Klemz, communications and engagement director of FBWW. Because of this, the judges will be made up of people from both the craft beer world and the outdoors community.

FBWW is no stranger to the local beer scene, having worked with breweries such as Indeed and Bent Paddle in the past. The fit between craft beer and the outdoors is a natural one and according to Aaron, “You even see it coming out in the branding. Bent Paddle Brewing has a paddle right in their logo.” 

There will be a ticketed event for the public in early September, featuring samples of the commemorative collection of brews.

The importance of preserving our beautiful wilderness here in Minnesota seems obvious to most. As Aaron explained, it even goes beyond our generation, “You feel a connection to previous generations. Every generation puts their own foot print on it. We need a place to unplug and it is important to be able to escape from everyday life.”

Here’s to 50 more years of appreciating the outdoors and our wonderful array of craft breweries.


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