About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the managing editor, writer, and photographer at The Growler Magazine. His column "Now Open (Or Damn Close) keeps you up to date on the newest breweries in Minnesota.

Craft beer gets ‘small’: Breaking down the Brewers Association’s 2016 growth report

The Brewers Association (BA) released its annual craft beer statistics report Tuesday morning, outlining the latest data on craft beer production and its overall market share in the beer category. One of the takeaways? Craft beer is growing steadily, but getting “smaller.” Let’s dig into the data to uncover what this means. The U.S. saw […]

Brewer Profile: Andy Ruhland of Bad Weather Brewing

It’s 9:30am and I’m sipping my first cup of coffee of the morning as I pull up to Bad Weather Brewing on West 7th Street in St. Paul. Inside, standing behind the half wall separating the taproom from the brewery, Andy Ruhland is also sipping from a coffee mug, but it’s apparent that this is […]

Fulton to release new Hopstar Session IPA at Gran Fondo 2017

Riders and spectators of Fulton Brewing’s annual Gran Fondo will be tipping back a brand new beer in celebration. The Northeast Minneapolis brewery is introducing an all new summer seasonal, Hopstar Session IPA, on Friday, May 5 as part of the Gran Fondo 2017 festivities. Hopstar is the beer Fulton has been “testing not-so-secretly in the taproom for the past […]

Brewers Association releases Top 50 Craft Breweries of 2016 list

The Brewers Association released their annual Top 50 Craft Breweries list for 2016, which ranks America’s breweries by annual production. Three Minnesota craft breweries made the list in 2016. New Ulm’s August Schell Brewing, which opened its new Starkeller in early March, jumped three spots from 27 to 24. Summit Brewing, which celebrated its 30th anniversary […]

PHOTOS: Minnesota United FC’s memorable 2017 home opener was a snowy affair

Photos by Dan Murphy Minnesota United FC may have dropped their home opener 6-1 to fellow expansion team Atlanta United FC at TCF Bank Stadium this past Sunday, but the game was a memorable one for the Loons’ supporters. With temperatures in the low-20s, 35,000 fans filled the lower bowl of the stadium. With a light snow covering […]

Lupulin Brewing expands, starts canning

Hundreds of bright green cans clink together as a vibrating stainless steel table funnels them down into a single file line, before the rollercoaster conveyor belt corkscrews them into a canning machine. After a quick rinse, five thin plastic straws plunge into a row of empty cans and purge them with carbon dioxide before the […]

Brewer Profile: Dicky Lopez of NorthGate Brewing

It’s a sleepy Tuesday afternoon at NorthGate Brewing. The taproom is closed and chairs are stacked upside down on the tables. NorthGate’s head brewer Dicky Lopez strolls in from the brewhouse floor and shakes hands with a strong grip. He’s sporting a heavy buffalo red flannel over his burly frame, a wild black beard, and […]

The West Side Brewers Collective: Eight breweries, one barleywine

How much does water and brewing equipment affect the taste of a beer? A new collaboration from eight West Metro breweries may hold the answer. Brewers from Lupine, South Fork, Schram Vineyards, Birch’s on the Lake, Wayzata Brew Works, Excelsior, ENKI, and Waconia joined forces and traveled to each other’s breweries to craft the same […]

South Pole suds: A glimpse into Antarctica’s unlikely beer culture

The ice-covered continent of Antarctica is a frozen desert with no indigenous human population. And understandably so: With winds gusting up to 200 miles per hour, temperatures capable of dropping to record lows (the coldest recorded temperature was minus 128.56 degrees Fahrenheit on July 21, 1983), and frequent blizzards, Antarctica is one of the most […]

Brewer Profile: Jerrod Johnson and Ben Smith of Surly Brewing Company

When Surly announced Todd Haug’s resignation as head of brewing operations last October, it set off a blaze of social media speculation from the brewery’s followers and from writers, who pondered the future of the decade-old brewery. What was behind the move? Could Surly have done something to keep him? Would Surly still be Surly […]

Supatra’s Thai Holiday: The longest month of the year

It happens at the same time every winter, but it always feels like a shock. Supatra’s Thai Cuisine, located at 967 West 7th Street in St. Paul, locks the doors, turns off the lights, and a posts a sign in the window that strikes fear and hunger into the hearts the entire staff of The Growler: “Supatra’s Thai […]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Roets Jordan Brewery

Not even a 40-ton landslide of mud, rock, and tree roots could keep Tim Roets from opening his brewery in Jordan, Minnesota. In his shoes, many would have been discouraged when heavy rains in July 2014 caused the hillside to slam into the historic Jordan Brewery where Roets was working to open a three-barrel brewery. […]

Brewer Profile: Steve Finnie, formerly of Grand Rounds Brewpub

To Steve Finnie brewing beer is a privilege, and not one to be taken for granted. The basis for his belief becomes obvious as we sit at his favorite table, a round booth in the corner of Grand Rounds Brewpub, and he explains how a Scottish physical therapist ended up in Rochester, Minnesota, brewing beer. […]

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Trailblazers 2016: Mike and Gretchen Perbix of Sweetland Orchard

Minnesota’s cider scene is flourishing. In 2015, cidermakers made 100,000 gallons of cider from 33,333 bushels of Minnesota-grown apples. By 2019, they are projected to make upwards of 400,000 gallons of cider, which would require an additional 100,000 bushels of apples. Though the demand for cider apple varieties is rising, Minnesota apple growers are reluctant […]

Trailblazers 2016: Colin Mullen, Laura Mullen, Bryon Tonnis, and Karen Tonnis of Bent Paddle Brewing

When we talk about blazing trails in the drinks scene, few people are doing it quite as literally is the four founders of Duluth’s Bent Paddle Brewing Co. Bryon and Karen Tonnis, and Colin and Laura Mullen partnered with Duluth-based outdoor furniture company Loll Designs in 2015 to create Lollygagger Pale Ale, a West Coast-style pale ale […]