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]

Cider in the North: Two cideries add new flavor to Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District

Two more cideries will soon be added to Minnesota’s roster, and both will be located in a city that as of yet is without a cidery to call its own: Duluth. Not only will Duluth Cider and Wild State Cider both be in Duluth, but they’ll be located some 500 feet from each other on West Superior … [ Read more]

Draught Horses, Distillery Cats, and Hop Yard Sheep: How animals bring you your drinks

In the 1980s, Stroh Brewing Company in Detroit, Michigan, released a memorable series of commercials featuring Alex, a dog that would (with some mishaps) fetch bottles of Stroh’s beer. While this was a publicity stunt, there have been many real-life examples of animals helping to bring us alcoholic beverages throughout history and into the present … [ Read more]

In Ontario, Great Lakes Make Great Wine

Wine from the Great Lakes region can feel like a one-trick pony—mostly white and mostly sweet. But venture to the eastern reaches of the area and you’ll find microclimates well-suited to grow riesling, cabernet franc, chardonnay, and pinot noir. And in Ontario, these grapes not only grow, but are nurtured into finished wines worthy of … [ Read more]

Number 12 Cider House’s North Loop taproom, new head cidermaker named at Minneapolis Cider Company, and more Minnesota cider news

While not as explosive as the craft beer boom, cider has seen steady growth in recent years in Minnesota. And with opening of several new cider taprooms across the state this year, the oft-misunderstood beverage might just be approaching a renaissance of its own in the state. To help push cider into the limelight, Minnesota’s … [ Read more]

The Ultimate Guide to Cider Week 2018

Celebrating all-things cider, the annual Minnesota Cider Week is back and ready for sipping action. Running June 2–9, this week-long celebration, organized by the Minnesota Cider Guild, highlights our state’s locally crafted cider, as well as many of the establishments that embrace and support the fast-growing industry. The week is full of events, from special … [ Read more]

The Johnny Appleseed of South Minneapolis: Jeff Zeitler is planting a neighborhood urban orchard

Jeff Zeitler, co-owner of Urban Forage Winery & Cider House, isn’t your typical farmer. With a focus on what he calls “urban agriculture,” he strives to crowdsource all of his ingredients from the landscape around him. But urban areas have limited green space to grow fruit on a large scale, which is how he came … [ Read more]

Little Minnesota in the Willamette: Winemakers from the North have staked their claim in Oregon’s wine scene

Pinot noir that seduces with satin-and-lace elegance. Riesling worthy of her exalted status as Queen of the White Wines. Chardonnay that walks a tightrope with both energy and grace. These are the kinds of wines coming out of arguably the most exciting wine region in the United States today—Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Over the years, several … [ Read more]

Fire Cider: The DIY winter tonic that’ll punch you in the face

There’s no denying that fire cider looks bad. Its glow-in-the-dark yellowish hue is like a liquid version of hepatitis. But not to worry—it tastes much, much worse than it looks. What is it? This tonic/remedy/taste bud marauder is made by infusing apple cider vinegar with a heap of pungently healthful ingredients like garlic, ginger, hot … [ Read more]

Drink to the Contrary: Reach for white wines this winter

There’s an invisible line that we Minnesotans feel in our bones, and when the thermometer dips below, there’s no going back. I’m talking about the transition from the refreshing white wines or rosés we rocked all summer long to the hearty red wines that we stick with all winter long. Even if it warms up … [ Read more]

Red Wine 101: The 9 grapes you need to know

In the late 1970s, a historic pinot noir winery in Oregon had to make cabernet sauvignon from purchased grapes just to pay the bills because, at the time, no one was buying Oregon pinot. They hated doing it because it felt like selling out. But having had the opportunity to taste one of those cabs … [ Read more]

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