The ancient battle at Troy might have ended a little differently if, instead of a giant wooden horse, Odysseus and his army had rolled into town with a 20-foot-long beer barrel on wheels outfitted with a disco ball, stereo system and several draught lines pouring craft beer.

While Deschutes Brewery's intentions here in the Twin Cities are far less nefarious than those of the gift-bearing Greeks, the crowd that turned out last week at Longfellow Grill's patio in Minneapolis to welcome the newest craft brewery to enter the local market appeared to be willingly overtaken with what was pouring from Deschutes' mobile bar, affectionately named Woody.

"Woody is mad genius, a party on wheels," said Deschutes lead cellar operator Ryan Schmiege. "There's only one in the country, and there will never be another like it."

Founded in 1988 in Bend, Ore., Deschutes is the sixth-largest brewery in the United States, according to the Brewers Association It pumps out more than 200,000 barrels annually to 15 states, primarily in the West. Minnesota is as far east as Deschutes has ventured to this point.

At the Longfellow event, the brewery showcased several of its year-round and limited-release beers now available in draught and in 22-ounce bottles. Those beers included Mirror Pond Pale Ale, a nicely balanced American-style pale ale that took medals last year at the World Beer Championships and Great American Beer Festival; Black Butte Porter, the best-selling porter in the country and considered by many to be a standard-bearer of the style, and Hop Henge IPA, which gives the term "heavy-handed" a wonderfully bitter new meaning.

"We're sort of known as a hop-forward brewery, but we really run the full gamut in the wide variety of beers we produce," said Schmiege. "We have a very highly educated brew staff, and a tremendous brewmaster who helps us innovate and push the boundaries in all sorts of directions, including oak-aging and sour beer production. We like to do a little bit of everything."

With the addition of Deschutes to the coterie of local and national craft brands dotting the Twin Cities beer landscape, there is a growing list of high-quality offerings available here. The trend is reinforced at a national level, with craft beer sales in 2009 growing by 10.3 percent, despite overall beer sales dropping by 2.2 percent. Clearly, craft beer continues to slowly gain ground. This could be good news, bringing a dazzling wealth of new choices for the local craft beer lover.

"I went to school here for a short while, but haven't been back in some time. Quite frankly, the craft beer scene here is awesome," said Schmiege. "The tap handles I've seen at the local bars are very impressive, and people really care about what's in their glass. The Midwest is ready for craft beer, and the Twin Cities is ready for Deschutes. We're very glad to be here."


Kitchen Window's pie bake-off takes place 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the store's Calhoun Square location, featuring local bakers battling it out for a $500 prize package. Guest judges include Jacques Henry, the fifth-generation family member to run Emile Henry, a prominent French ovenware company.

The Heavy Table team writes about food and drink in the Upper Midwest five days a week at