To Age or Not to Age?


All over this country good beer is dying. These are not dramatic or heroic deaths, not the explosive demise of dropped bottles nor the panicked jerk of clumsily overturned pints. These are slow, invisible deaths, stretching over weeks, months, and years, hidden out of sight and mind in dark basements and cramped closets across the [...]

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Harvest Season: Minnesota’s Fresh Hop Beers

Fresh Hops // Photo by Jamie Schumacher

The fall hop harvest has all but come to a close, but the fruits of those labors are just now ready for enjoyment. Fresh hop ales are hitting shelves and taprooms all across the state to ring in my personal favorite season of the year—autumn. Fresh hops possess more intense aromas and flavors than their [...]

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Sneak Peek: NorthGate Brewing’s New Brewery

NorthGate Featured Image

Photos by Brian Kaufenberg The Growler gets a sneak peek of NorthGate Brewing’s new brewery and taproom Nearly two two years after pouring their first pint, NorthGate Brewing has officially moved its operations from the minuscule 780 square foot space where it all began to a 7,400 square foot warehouse on Broadway and Harding in [...]

Vote for the Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Awards 2014


Vote in the 2014 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Reader’s Choice Awards. This survey is powered by SurveyGizmo’s online survey software. Please take my survey now Return to Top

Chasing the Beer Scene in Alaska


Even if you’ve never been, Alaska needs no introduction. With dark, impossibly bitter winters, majestic spruce forests, and countless lakes, streams and marshes, it’s like an uber-Minnesota. Of course, Alaska also has thousands of miles of saltwater coastline and several towering mountain ranges that make the North Shore’s Sawtooth Range look like a collection of [...]

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Style Profile: Barley Wine


We explore barley wine, an often misunderstood style that warms the throat—and heart. Illustration by David Witt As much as many of us wish it weren’t so, winter is on its way. Already there is a chill in the air and the long days are quickly losing their battle with the night. But the inevitable [...]

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A Town Hall Meeting with Brewer Mike Hoops


In our latest Brewer Profile, we rap at Town Hall Brewery’s Mike Hoops. Photos by Aaron Davidson Name: Mike Hoops Hometown: Glencoe, MN Works at: Town Hall Brewery, 1430 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454 Turn-Ons: Integrity, a daybreak in the woods, and ladies driving motorcycles Turn-Offs: Gutterballs, brewery floors, -20°F The Growler: What’s in [...]

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Now Open or Damn Close, Fall 2014

Insight Brewing Now Open Feat

In this edition of Now Open (or Damn Close), we take a look at four very different breweries. Insight Brewing There’s Insight Brewing, the latest addition to Northeast Minneapolis’s burgeoning brewery scene. It’s a “globally inspired” establishment that blends styles from east Asia, northern Europe, North America and everywhere in between. Even in the Twin [...]

The Packaging of Craft Beer, Part II: Retailing


Last issue, we discussed how breweries approach their package design. In Part II, we find the beer on shelves. But where? In the cooler or on the warm floor? How does a package influence what a retailer will stock? “Every brewery wants you to put all their beer in the cooler,” says Todd Taylor. “It [...]

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Woodchuck Hopsation Hard Cider


Woodchuck Hopsation Hard Cider 6.9% ABV Beer drinkers, your cider is in. Yep, Woodchuck hopped up some cider for you. It pours a light straw-yellow, much like a pilsner, but the head does not linger long. Tight tiny champagne like bubbles continue to be released as you sip and agitate your glass. On the nose it [...]

Sand Creek Brewing Oscar’s Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

BACCHUS_Sand Creek

Sand Creek Brewing Oscar’s Chocolate Oatmeal Stout 4.5% ABV I love when you can get a big, full bodied stout under 8%—that way you can enjoy a few with reduced guilt. Sand Creek from Black River Falls, WI, has a 4.5% chocolate oatmeal stout that is deep black with a luxurious tan head. Roasted malt, cocoa nibs, [...]

The Secrets of Surly


The last year has been a busy one for Surly Brewing. Obviously, the company’s biggest project has been its new brewing facility, which is scheduled to open next fall in Minneapolis’ Prospect Park neighborhood. The new brewery alone would be enough for most companies. But, as founder Omar Ansari once said, “The Surly way is [...]

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Straight from the Source: On the Road in Delaware


Even a column intended to celebrate beers of the Midwest region only available at the brewery has to go on vacation occasionally. So when looking for a seminar to advance my scholarship for the day job, I found one in Lewes, Delaware. The name sounded familiar and, sure enough, it was right down the road [...]

Deschutes Brewery Conflux Series #3 Dopple Dinkle Bock


Deschutes Brewery Conflux Series #3 Dopple Dinkle Bock 10.7% ABV Pour this bomber into a good, clean glass and marvel at its deep reddish-Amber hue underneath the caramel-blonde head that is as thick as cool whip. I would call it a “Big Ol’ Frothy” head. Inhale and your nose is filled with intense aromas of banana, bubble [...]

Insight Brewing in Northeast Minneapolis


Ilan Klages-Mundt, head brewer and co-founder of Insight Brewing, describes the new 30 bbl brewery located on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis as globally inspired. A look at their beer list, which features beer styles originating from Japan, Denmark, the UK, and the US, confirms this on a surface level—but there is more behind the beer [...]