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]

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]

The Waconia Wine Triangle: How a Twin Cities suburb became a hotbed for cold-climate wines

As a thunderstorm rolls across the prairie, Ben Banks rests a finished bottle flat and deftly hand-labels his new vintage release. Disturbing the zen of the moment, he looks up to give me a warm handshake. Banks leads the winemaking at Sovereign Estate, his family’s winery established in 2008 on the north shore of Lake … [ 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]

What We’re Drinking: June 2018

Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on recent remarkable beverages. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.   Brian Kaufenberg, Editor-in-Chief ■ Lakefront Fixed Gear American Red IPA Lakefront Brewery is Milwaukee’s stalwart craft brewery, and their year-round Fixed Gear is a reliable fixture of their … [ 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]

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]

Spirits Close Up: Sherry

There’s no doubt that sherry can be an acquired taste. Sipped neat, one might find it tangy and robust, or acetic and brash. But paired with the right spirit or sugar, it can be transformed to show more like toffee, hazelnuts, and salted caramel. Here’s how to mix it. Bit player: Sherry is an oxidized, … [ Read more]

What We’re Drinking: December 2017

Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on a recent remarkable beverage. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.   Joseph Alton, Editor-in-Chief ★ Modist Deviation 010 The most unique thing about Modist Brewing—and there are a lot of unique things about Modist—is the way they filter … [ Read more]

The best red wine region for your Thanksgiving dinner

Wines for the Turkey Day table should take into account the whole table, not just the bird. For me, November is all about Beaujolais. I know, I know, you may have heard this before. It is natural to think about gamay this time of year thanks to Beaujolais Nouveau, a wine made famous by its annual … [ 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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What We’re Drinking: November 2017

Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on a recent remarkable beverage. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.   Brouwerij Rodenbach Rodenbach Alexander – Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor Each Thanksgiving, I search for a bottle of something special to share with my family members who aren’t beer drinkers. … [ Read more]

White Wine 101: It’s all in the grapes

“I don’t like Chardonnay. They’re too oaky.” “Cabs are too dry.” “Merlots are…eww, merlot.” Everyone has an opinion on the wine they like and usually an even stronger opinion of the wines they don’t. That’s good. That’s great, in fact. But bear something in mind next time you hate on a particular grape: [pro_ad_display_adzone id=”35969″ … [ Read more]

What We’re Drinking: September 2017

Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on a recent remarkable beverage. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. HammerHeart Brewing Von Winterherz Verhasst – Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor Ever wonder what a smoked banana would taste like? While the Lino Lakes brewery is known for … [ Read more]