Last Friday, country star Toby Keith flew into the Twin Cities for a two-hour visit to his namesake St. Louis Park megabar, where beer is served in Mason jars and deep-fried Twinkies are on the menu. In the rush of meeting a couple hundred lucky fans (before flying to Omaha for a concert), the singer gave a brief interview. Sitting backstage, we talked about -- what else? -- drinking.

Q Why drink beer out of a Mason jar?

A In the South, they drink a lot of things out of Mason jars -- moonshine, sweet tea, beer. And that's usually for lack of having glasses in your cabinet in the poor South. That's just an old tradition.

Q If you could share a couple rounds with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

A Roger Miller. My heroes growing up as a singer/songwriter were Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson and Roger Miller. Roger died before I got to town. And I've done everything with Willie and Hag -- everything! (Laughs.)

Q Do you have any favorite drinking songs?

A My favorite drinking song is probably "An Empty Glass" by Gary Stewart. It was just played a lot in the bars. I don't know how big a hit it was on radio. But in Texas and Oklahoma it was played a lot when I was cutting my teeth. It would always pack the dance floor.

Q You're a pretty good drinker, but is there any country star that can drink you under the table?

A No one's ever drank me under the table. I can go a long way. Most of them who think they could are probably already in AA. • 612-673-7909