Beer flights at the fair

The brewpub law passed in the last legislative session means that brewpubs can pour at the Minnesota State Fair. That’s given a boost to the Land of 10,000 Beers exhibit with almost 60 breweries and brewpubs, hosted by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild in the Agriculture-Horticulture Building. Visitors (21 and over) can choose from among six beer flights: “Belgian/sweeter,” “lighter,” “darker,” “hoppier,” “Minnesota Mix,” as well as a new “brewpub” flight. Each flight consists of four 5-ounce samples for $10, which can be purchased with cash or card, although buying advance tickets that get you into an express line is recommended. Order at

There also will be daily education programs (see the full schedule at and more. So if you’re wondering about a Wild Rice Brown Ale or Jalapeño Cream Ale, here’s the place to explore, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Labor Day.


Women in Brewing panel

Check your calendars in September for the Women in Brewing panel discussion, featuring female trailblazers in what some have considered a “boys only” club.

The Herkimer Pub and Brewery, 2922 Lyndale Av. S. in Minneapolis, will host the event from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 17. Panelists include: Deb Loch of Urban Growler in St. Paul; Laura Mullen of Bent Paddle in Duluth; Kelsi Moffitt of Better Beer Society in Minneapolis; Tara Alcure of Green Flash Brewing in San Diego; Jacquie Berglund of Finnegans Beer in Minneapolis; Amanda Buhman of One Simple Plan for the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, and Rita Skamser-O’Neil of Herkimer Pub and Brewery. The panel will be moderated by East Coast-based journalist Tara Nurin, a women-in-beer columnist, beer judge and certified server. Topics will include insights into how they began, whether there’s a glass ceiling and the best ways to succeed.

The event also is a kickoff for a new Minnesota chapter of the Pink Boots Society, founded to help female beer professionals advance their careers through educational workshops and scholarships. Twenty percent of ticket sales will benefit the society’s scholarship fund. Tickets cost $30 plus tax and will include beer samples and hors d’oeuvres. To purchase, visit ­


All about cheese curds

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has a whole new website devoted to cheese curds. Yes, indeed, at ­, you can learn how cheese curds are made, why they squeak, how to keep them fresh and where to find them. An interactive map includes listings for creameries, retail stores and restaurants that offer fresh curds in Wisconsin, as well as mail-order sites that ship curds across the country. The site also includes recipes such as cheese curd corn relish and cheese curds with blueberry preserves. You also can win a 1-pound cheese curd package, awarded daily through Sept. 22, at


Mmm, minidonut lip balm

The secret’s out. This year’s flavored lip balm at the Star Tribune booth at the Minnesota State Fair is minidonut. (Are those hints of cinnamon we detect?) Get your free tube while they last; supplies are replenished at the booth each day at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The minidonut version is part of an ever-changing annual roster of flavors that at the very least can be called “interesting.” They have included, in past years, bacon, buttered corn, ketchup, mustard, pickle, bratwurst and fresh-cut grass. Find the booth in front of the grandstand at Carnes Avenue.


Check back for winners

There are more food-related surprises at the Minnesota State Fair than the new foods being marketed. For a look at the prizewinning cookies, cakes and breads, as well as jam, pickles and much more, head to the Creative Activities Building, at Cosgrove Street and Dan Patch Avenue.

In next week’s Taste, we will list the first-place winners of those food competitions.