Now Open (Or Damn Close): Wild State Cider in Duluth

Duluth’s local cider scene is continuing to grow this spring with the arrival of Wild State Cider, situated in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, home to Duluth Cider, Ursa Minor Brewing, and Bent Paddle Brewing Company. Wild State Cider is a collaboration between longtime friends Adam Ruhland and Andrew Price, who first met in 2008 as … [ Read more]

Portable Potables: Traveling With Booze

Your feet are sore, your camera card is full, and you’ve checked off all the places on your sightseeing list. Yep, you can chalk this vacation up as a grand success. But now it’s time to pack your bags again and head back to the daily grind. Thankfully, being the wise person you are, you … [ Read more]

Leaves of Change: Verdant Tea champions China’s unheralded family farms by going straight to the source

The future of tea is a new generation—one of thoughtful drinkers who have developed their palates by selecting pour-overs from lists describing coffee beans’ origins and consuming spirits in the same building in which they were distilled. Developing that same relationship between tea farmer and tea drinker is where Verdant Tea has staked its mission, … [ Read more]

12 Women Winemakers to Toast this International Women’s Day

At the turn of the century, an article touting fabulous wines made by women would have been depressingly short. Not because great wines weren’t being made by women but because there were so few women winemakers. Today, as women are helming the tanks at more and more wineries, it takes a lot of paring down … [ Read more]

Wine can be honest and authentic without being “natural”

Most grocery stores, chain liquor stores, and national restaurants sell wines made by the millions of cases—wines made with a recipe, a process more akin to making soda than wine. In contrast, “natural” winemakers have staked their claim as the antithesis to corporate plonk. While “natural wine” is a loose stylistic description, it is generally … [ Read more]

The Great Debate: Is The 51 Percent Rule Good For Minnesota Wineries And Cideries?

In Minnesota, cideries and wineries with a farm winery license are required by state law to use enough Minnesota-grown fruit to constitute at least 51 percent of their product. The same goes for cideries and wineries with a wine manufacturer license if they want to sell their product on-site, say, at a taproom. Our question: … [ Read more]

Seven Sparkling Wines to Ring in the New Year

New Year’s Eve. It’s a time for reflection and reminiscing, celebrating and cheer. The drink that pairs perfectly with all of these things: sparkling wine. We’ve combed our archives from the past year to bring you our top bubblies to help you ring in 2019. They’re fresh, they’re fun, and they’re full of personality—just like … [ Read more]

Make Merry with These 9 Winter Wines

Cool Canadian winds have whisked in the holiday season, and with this churn comes a shift in wines to the more savory and layered. Many choose to jump directly into the depths-of-winter wines, like cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel. Instead, try something more transitional this month—something that honors the elements, pairs with a variety of foods, and piques … [ Read more]

2018 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners

Each year, we ask our readers to nominate and vote for the best of the best in Minnesota beer, spirits, food, and arts and culture. This year, a record number of readers cast their ballots to determine the winners of the Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards. These are the breweries and bars serving up great craft … [ Read more]

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Now Open (Or Damn Close): Duluth Cider

For enthusiasts of everything craft, Duluth is living up to its name as the Zenith City. Breweries and distilleries are flourishing and have quickly become fixtures of the city’s cultural and nightlife scenes. With all of these great beers and spirits available, it seems only natural to ask: Where’s the cider? Duluth will soon be able to point to the … [ Read more]

3 Lodi wineries offering authenticity and intrigue in the bottle

The Lodi region of California has grown wine grapes for over a century. This history has both burnished and oxidized its reputation. Lodi has some name recognition, but for a specific niche: high octane zinfandel and bulk filler for the kings, queens, and princes to the west, nearer the cool coast. Both because of and … [ Read more]

Wassail! The pagan origins of a Yuletide cider festival

Reprinted with permission from “Ciderology” by Gabe Cook, Spruce 2018 If you happen to be in the West of England during January, you might catch sight and sound of some rather unexpected activities. Some rather pagan activities. For one month a year, an area famed for its tranquility and gentle nature packs away the tea … [ Read more]

Wine of, by, and for the People

Real wine is hard to find. The charade that populates most store shelves is a group of elixirs, created to poke and tickle the right taste buds. Made in the vein of Pepsi or Fritos, these commodity wines typically showcase excessive fruit, residual sugar, and serious chugability. These are circus wines with circus labels, and … [ Read more]

The Growler’s Field Guide to Cider

Cider seems like a straightforward drink. We’re all familiar with apple juice and the concept of fermentation, and, at its core, cider is just a combination of the two. But in practice, the beverage is far more complicated. Because what about pear cider? Or rhubarb cider? What are those drinks? And what about those ciders … [ Read more]

Six local standouts from the 2018 International Cold Climate Wine Competition

The International Cold Climate Wine Competition yesterday celebrated its 10th year of honoring the finest examples of cold-climate wine in North America. The judging was held at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and The Growler was among 24 judges charging through hundreds of wines made with grapes that can withstand our extreme climate, several varieties of which … [ Read more]