Apparently two brewers are better than one. The first big local beer news of 2014 broke last week when Twin Cities breweries Pour Decisions Brewing Co. and the newly launched Bent Brewstillery announced a merger. The two have joined forces under the name Bent Brewstillery.

The hybrid brewery and distillery commercially released its first two beers in December, but has been contract-brewing at Pour Decisions’ Roseville facility for some time. With the newly formed partnership, Bent Brewstillery 2.0 plans to beef up bottle production, expand the existing taproom and begin distilling. The Brewstillery’s website reports the beer lineup will feature “traditional PDBC concepts, a large expansion of sour beers and all-new Bent beers.” Pour Decisions founder Kristen England will serve as head brewer, while Bent’s Bartley Blume will handle the distilling.

Ngon closed for repairs

University Avenue is a little less tasty, after St. Paul pho favorite Ngon Vietnamese bistro announced it is temporarily closing. According to its website, last Saturday a pipe above the Frogtown restaurant’s dining room burst, damaging the ceiling. The restaurant will be closed for two or three weeks for repairs. It’s not clear from the post if the burst was weather-related, but that night St. Paul experienced subzero temperatures.

799 University Av. W., St. Paul,


Mankato beer fest

On Saturday, 45 breweries and the beer lovers who drool over them will gather in the Verizon Wireless Center for the Mankato Craft Beer Expo, which reportedly drew 1,400 fans last year. This year’s lineup features a number of local and national heavyweights — from Minnesota’s own Surly and Summit to West Coasters including Ballast Point and Green Flash — plus educational programs, music from Big Wu members and food from Natedogs, Pub 500 and Pagliai’s Pizza. VIP ticket holders get an extra hour of sampling before general-admission entrance begins at 3 p.m.

2-6 p.m. Sat., $30-$40, $10 designated drivers, 21-plus, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato, 612-234-1430,

Stocking food shelves

It’s hard not to love a beer festival that comes with a shot of benevolence. Saturday’s Hops for Hunger II, held in northeast Minneapolis’ Solar Arts Building (also home to Indeed Brewing), benefits the Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) food shelf. Last year’s inaugural goodwill brew bash helped SACA buy 70,000 pounds of food, and expectations are even higher this year. The 16 participating local breweries include the nearby 612Brew, NorthGate, Sociable Cider Werks and Indeed, Excelsior, Barley John’s and St. Paul newbie Burning Brothers.

5-8 p.m. Sat., $40, 21-plus, 711 15th Av. NE., Mpls.,


Michael Rietmulder writes about bars, beer and night life.