50 Things We’ve Learned in 50 Issues

50 issues of The Growler Magazine // Photo by Aaron Job, The Growler

50 issues of The Growler Magazine // Photo by Aaron Job, The Growler

Take a walk back in time with The Growler’s editorial team as we recount 50 of the most important and interesting pieces of information we learned from publishing our first 50 issues.

50 Things We've Learned

Issue 1

The Pint Law

The Pint Law

In 2011, the Pint Law changed everything for local beer.

Issue 2

Surly Bikes and Surly Beer

Surly Bikes and Surly Beer

Surly Bikes and Surly Beer are different entities, but friendly.

Issue 2

The Beer Scene is Getting Weird

The Beer Scene is Getting Weird

Beer should buoy the conversation at the table, not be the conversation.

Issue 3

The White House Homebrew

The Obama administration made the first documented homebrew at the White House, and shared the recipe with us.

Issue 3

Chris Kluwe

Chris Kluwe

Before Colin Kaepernick went unsigned because of his stance on race in America, Dessa talked with Chris Kluwe about the NFL’s less-than-spiffy reputation when it comes to LGBTQ issues.

Issue 5

A Sustainable BrewFarm

A Sustainable BrewFarm

Before breweries in the Midwest were focusing on going green, Dave Anderson and Pam Dixon built a “BrewFarm” centered on sustainability.

Issue 7

Growing Hops

Growing Hops

Hop Growing is becoming big business in the Midwest once again. The University of Minnesota is on the forefront of hops research.

Issue 14

Mushroom Valley

Mushroom Valley

Over 50 riverside caves in St. Paul held everything from nightclubs, cheese, and mushroom farms throughout the 20th century. That stretch along the Mississippi was called Mushroom Valley. 

Issue 19

A 152-foot-9-inch brat

A 152-foot-9-inch brat

Ptacek’s IGA in Prescott, Wisconsin set the world record for largest brat with their legendary 152-foot-9-inch brat on Labor Day 2013.

Issue 20

Gordy’s Hi-Hat

Gordy’s Hi-Hat

When driving south on Highway 33 from the Iron Range, a stop at Gordy’s Hi-Hat is mandatory.

Issue 24

Bartenders

Bartenders

Bartenders are physical laborers who need a bodily wellness regime to stay fit.

Issue 24

The Recession of 2008

The Recession of 2008

Layoffs and job scarcity during the Great Recession of 2008 provided many with the push they needed to follow their dream and open a brewery.

Issue 25

New American Gin

New American Gin

“New American” gin is whatever a distiller wants it to be, provided there’s a little juniper, and the style is making gin one of the most exciting craft spirits categories today.

Issue 25

Modern Moonshining

Modern Moonshining

Somewhere between 50,000 to 200,000 Americans are illegally distilling spirits in their homes.

Issue 27

Today’s Crap Craft Beer

Today’s Crap Craft Beer

Thanks to slipping standards, a lack of quality control, and the blind faith of consumers in the quality of local craft, a lot of today’s craft beer is crap. 

Issue 27

Why St. Paul?

Why St. Paul?

St. Paul is Minnesota’s capital city thanks to rogue representative Joe Rolette who stole the bill that would have moved the capital to St. Peter and straight-up ghosted for 123 hours.

Issue 29

Beerstones

Beerstones

When beer lines aren’t cleaned regularly, calcium oxalate can build up into “beerstones” that produce off-flavors. Calcium oxalate is also found in most human kidney stones.

Issue 29

Water Consumption

Water Consumption

On average, it takes seven gallons of water to produce one gallon of beer. At less efficient breweries, the ratio can go as high as 10 to one. 

Issue 30

Craft Brandy

Craft Brandy

Craft brandy has yet to take off because it occupies a strange middle ground – people think of the spirit as either bottom shelf swill or an expensive luxury. 

Issue 31

The Secret to Barbecue Brisket

The Secret to Barbecue Brisket

Heed Thomas Boemer’s advice: Don’t wrap a smoked shoulder or brisket in foil when it hits “the stall.” If you do, you’ll lose that crispy bark.

Issue 32

The Mississippi River

The Mississippi River

The Mississippi River has been dammed into a mangled series of long interconnected lakes. There are some who think the river should be released by removing the locks and dams, effectively restoring it to it’s wild, natural state.

Issue 32

Roarin’ Dan Seavey: Pirate of the Great Lakes

Roarin’ Dan Seavey: Pirate of the Great Lakes

Roarin’ Dan Seavey, pirate of the Great Lakes, might have once murdered somebody with a piano. 

Issue 33

A Tender Pork Chop

A Tender Pork Chop

If you slice a grilled or seared pork chop horizontally into a few skinny medallions before serving, like Paul Berglund, you’ll have cut across the grain of the meat, making it much more tender and delicious.

Issue 34

Cyclocross

Cyclocross

In cyclocross, heckling riders is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.

Issue 34

Psychology of Road Rage

Psychology of Road Rage

Psychologically, drivers tend to think of their vehicles as appliances, not as deadly objects. That dissociation is a major safety concern for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Issue 35

Cool Wine Facts

Cool Wine Facts

Wines from cooler regions—Germany, Austria, Northern France—spend more time on the vine, which develops complex flavors and maintains the level of acidity that pairs so well with food.

Issue 36

Going Pro in Video Games

Going Pro in Video Games

Whoever said you couldn’t make a living playing video games lied. The winner of the Street Fighter V tournament at the 2016 Evo Championship Series took home $50,000.

Issue 36

Chickens and Fly Fishing

Chickens and Fly Fishing

In the early days of fly fishing, before a huge feather-breeding industry existed, anglers purchased tackle feathers harvested from cockfighting pits.

Issue 37

The Problem With Speakeasies

The Problem With Speakeasies

The problem with running a real speakeasy is that people will show up and do cocaine in your bathroom, then just hang out and not buy drinks.

Issue 39

Tracing Back Food Cultures

Tracing Back Food Cultures

Some of your favorite Thai dishes are actually Lao, or Hmong, or… We have tons to learn about the cultural roots of Minnesota’s diverse food scene.

Issue 39

Red Wing: The Bread Basket of the World

Red Wing: The Bread Basket of the World

In 1873, Red Wing, Minnesota, became the world’s largest primary wheat market, exporting 1.8 million bushels valued at more than $2 million (nearly $40 million today).

Issue 39

Sameh Wadi’s Saffron Rice

Sameh Wadi’s Saffron Rice

Make saffron rice like Sameh Wadi: pour the saffron tea in a swirl, dousing some, but not all, of the partially cooked rice. When it’s done cooking, some grains will be more flavorful than others, making each bite more complex.

Issue 40

Homebrewing on Ice

Homebrewing on Ice

Homebrewers are making beer all over the world, even in Antarctica.

Issue 41

Rent-A-Goat

Rent-A-Goat

There are companies in Minnesota using goat grazing to combat invasive plant species.

Issue 41

GMOrganic?

GMOrganic?

GMO technology isn’t going away, but organic farming can work in tandem to create a more resilient food system.

Issue 41

Picking Wild Ramps

Picking Wild Ramps

When you pick wild ramps, only take one in every 10 mature plants you find, cut off the rhizomes, and rebury them. They’ll take years to grow back, but at least they will.

Issue 43

Micro-fishing

Micro-fishing

Micro-fishing is an established local subculture of catching and cataloging all the tiny species of fish.

Issue 44

Renaissance Man Michael Koppelman

Renaissance Man Michael Koppelman

Badger Hill’s head brewer Michael Koppelman is a Renaissance man. He played bass with Prince, earned a degree in astrophysics, and spotted a gamma ray afterglow from his home-built observatory.

Issue 44

NEIPAs

NEIPAs

NEIPA is tasty, and you can drink it if you like. But if you drink one you don’t like, you can’t complain about it, because how can you expect brewers to make something that’s perfectly faulted?

Issue 45

Hangovers

Hangovers

Twenty-three percent of people simply don’t get hangovers and science doesn’t know why.

Issue 45

Rapid-Aging Whiskey

Rapid-Aging Whiskey

“Rapid-aging” strategies in craft whiskey are less about trying to “accelerate” the aging process and more about trying to produce unique spirits in a crowded market.

Issue 45

Flavor Pairings in Food

Flavor Pairings in Food

Pizza and PB&J sandwiches are basically the same thing when it comes to flavor pairings.

Issue 43

Dorothy “The Root Beer Lady” Molter

Dorothy “The Root Beer Lady” Molter

At her peak, Dorothy “The Root Beer Lady” Molter was hand-bottling between 11,000 and 12,000 bottles of root beer at her BWCA home each summer.

Issue 45

Spontaneous Fermentation Isn’t Magic

Spontaneous Fermentation Isn’t Magic

Brewing spontaneous and wild beers isn’t magic. The process is knowable science, and sour beer brewers need to understand it better.

Issue 45

Quality Starts With a Culture of Excellence

Quality Starts With a Culture of Excellence

Quality is a discipline. Whether you’re making tomato soup or beer, quality has to be at the heart of what you’re doing.” – Rebecca Newman, Director of Quality at Summit Brewing Company

Issue 46

Krav Maga on Bikes

Krav Maga on Bikes

There are classes in Minneapolis that teach Krav Maga to bicyclists. 

Issue 47

Better Grains Make Better Spirits

Better Grains Make Better Spirits

Better grains make better spirits. Even though the arts of barreling and blending are important to a whiskey, the raw materials are just as important.

Issue 47

Stone Milling Wheat

Stone Milling Wheat

Stone milling wheat is not only a part of Minneapolis’ heritage, but results in a more flavorful and nutritious grain.

Issue 48

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

Will Shortz of the New York Times is the only person to earn a college degree in puzzles.

Issue 50

Coasters on the window ledge at Dangerous Man Brewing in NE Minneapolis // Photo by Aaron Davidson

Dangerous Man Brewing

Bigger doesn’t always mean better: Just ask Dangerous Man Brewing, winners of the 2017 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal award for best brewery.

 
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