The idea behind the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s 10,000 Minutes of Minnesota Craft Beer is simple: There are 10,000 minutes in a week, so what better way to spend them than drinking beers from the Land of 10,000 Lakes?
From Brau Brothers Brewing Company in the plains of southwestern Minnesota to Gun Flint Tavern near the tip of the Arrowhead on the shores of Lake Superior, most of Minnesota’s 75-plus breweries and brewpubs have something special going on during the week of May 4–10. Limited beer releases, tap takeovers, sampling events, vertical beer flights: with more than 150 events scheduled, you name it, someone’s doing it.
“The idea behind 10,000 Minutes of Minnesota Craft Beer was to showcase all the great breweries and brewpubs in Minnesota,” said Dan Schwarz, Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild president. “This week is an opportunity for Minnesota craft-beer consumers to try something new, find a new brewery, take a trip to a new part of the state, and check out their craft-beer scene.”
A complete list of events can be found below. To learn a little more about some of the specific events taking place throughout the week, we checked in with three Minnesota breweries who have special events and releases planned.
Indeed Brewing Company
Indeed is digging into the dark corners of its cellar for 10,000 Minutes of Minnesota Craft Beer.
First up, starting at 5:30pm on May 4, is PINdeed at Grumpy’s Northeast, which will feature three pins (half firkins) of Haywire Double American Black Ale with brown chiles, Let It Ride IPA with el dorado and lemon drop hops, and 2015 L.S.D., in addition to the hard-to-find Wooden Soul #1, Wooden Soul #2, and Port Barrel-Aged BeCherry, which marketing coordinator Kelly Moritz said was a big hit at this year’s Winterfest.
At 4pm on May 5 is “Came in Like a Rec’ing Barrel” at Halftime Rec in St. Paul, a collaborative event between Indeed, Lift Bridge Brewing Company, and Surly Brewing Company. “Collaboration is a lot of what this week is about,” Moritz said. “We’re three breweries who came together and decided to do this.”
Indeed will be serving its Rum King Imperial Stout, which is aged in Jamaican rum barrels. Lift Bridge will be pouring barrel-aged Silhouette Imperial Stout. Surly will have barrel-aged Darkness Imperial Stout on hand. If you’re a stout fan, that lineup is hard to beat.
In addition to a couple tap takeovers throughout the week, Indeed will also be releasing its 2015 L.S.D., a spiced honey ale brewed with lavender, sunflower, and dates, at its Northeast Minneapolis brewery at 3pm on May 6. They will be serving vertical flights of the 2013, 2014, and 2015 L.S.D. iterations at the taproom from 3–6pm on May 7.
Urban Growler Brewing Company
For Urban Growler, participation in this year’s 10,000 Minutes of Minnesota Craft Beer is another first to be excited about in a year of many firsts following the brewery’s summer 2014 opening.
Deb Loch, Urban Growler co-owner and head brewer, said they decided to mark the occasion by either releasing a special beer or re-releasing a past favorite every day, including the Cinco de Mayo Jalapeño CowBell Cream Ale on May 5, for which jalapeños were added to the secondary fermenter.
“These were fresh, whole, organic, make-the-kitchen-cry, wear-safety-goggles-and-gloves jalapeños,” Loch said.
The seventh release in Urban Growler’s Plow to Pint series, which incorporates ingredients from local farmers, will be released on May 6, though Loch was tight-lipped on exactly what it will be. May 8 will see the release of a Coconut Porter, and May 9–10 will bring the return of some old favorites that haven’t been available for some time, including their Imperial Smoked-Chipotle Porter, Pumpkin Saison, and Endicott IPA.
Big Wood Brewing Company
Big Wood has a few fun events built around a spirit of healthy competition.
On May 6, from 4–10pm, “Ping Pong for a Pint” will give visitors to Big Wood’s White Bear Lake taproom an opportunity to take on co-owner Steve Merila in a game of ping pong; beat him, and you win a free pint.
According to co-owner Jason Medvec, Merila’s got some serious ping-pong chops, which are often on display on the table in the brewery’s cellar. “I beat him once in a while, but not much,” he said.
In addition to a tap takeover and a couple other special beers being released at its taproom, on May 9 Big Wood will host “Firkin Wars,” which will pit Medvec and Merila against each other. Both co-owners designed a special firkin for the event and visitors will be asked to vote for their favorite. “We have a little governors’ bet on the side between us,” Medvec said with a laugh.
Overall, Medvec said 10,000 Minutes of Minnesota Craft Beer is all about supporting Minnesota breweries. “I believe in Minnesota craft beer big time,” he said. “We’re on the map now. I want to help grow Minnesota craft beer, grow awareness, and get more Minnesotans drinking Minnesota beer.”
We couldn’t agree more.