Culture of Excellence: For the betterment of beer, every brewery must invest in the science of quality assurance






Riley Seitz grew up right along with Minnesota’s craft beer industry. In 1989, her dad took a job at a fledgling Summit Brewing, then located on University Avenue, where she’d drink 1919 Root Beer and get rides up and down the ramp of the keg cooler. But the highlight for Seitz was heading down to … [ Read more]

I’m never drinking again: The science behind hangovers






Jonathan Howland is in the business of giving people hangovers. A professor of emergency medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Boston Medical Center Injury Prevention Center, Howland got into what he calls “the hangover business” when he and colleague Damaris Rohsenow, an alcohol and drug abuse researcher at Brown University, … [ Read more]

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Artist Profile: Gordon Purcell






The Incredible Hulk, in its human form as Bruce Banner, is a nuclear physicist. Chemistry lover Barry Allen, aka The Flash, works as a forensic scientist for the Central City Police Department. And in “Star Trek,” 23rd century adventurers take off in a powerful interstellar spacecraft to explore the far reaches of the galaxy, using … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Travail cooks traditional with Bob Gerken, James Winberg, and Mike Brown






So they arrived, the guys from Travail Kitchen & Amusements. Or rather two of the three guys. The third guy might swing by later. The two guys, Bob and James, got out of their white pickup. Introduced themselves. We smiled at each other. Bob had kind eyes and a scruffy black beard that failed to … [ Read more]

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Urban comedy takes center stage in Twin Cities






On a Friday night in St. Paul, the newest comedy club in town, Baddie’s Comedy Co., is packed to capacity. On stage, comedian KJay is absolutely destroying, and the laughter is so loud that you’d think there were well over 130 people inside. Since opening back in February of this year, Baddie’s has created a … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Hoops Brewing






It’s been over one-and-a-half years in the works, and is the culmination of a highly-successful career in the craft beer industry, but master brewer Dave Hoops is set to open the eponymous Hoops Brewing brewery and beer hall, in Duluth’s Canal Park, in late June. It’s the first foray into brewery ownership for Hoops, a six-time Great … [ Read more]

Finding Marcel: The letters that brought a WWII love story to life for a Minnesota font designer






Carolyn Porter, a graphic designer based in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, found a stack of beautifully hand-scripted French letters in a Stillwater antique store. She bought a few thinking they would make an ideal base for designing a new font. It was only after her curiosity led her to translate one of them that she realized the … [ Read more]

Paul Simon and Wilco shine through the storms at Eaux Claires Troix






“This is a festival based on improvisation and collaboration,” weekend narrator Michael Perry said to the Eaux Claires crowd this Saturday, before headliners Paul Simon with yMusic and Wilco capped the two-day festival with epic performances despite apocalyptic weather permeating the sky. From impromptu pop-up stages along the grounds to weather-driven rescheduling, Bon Iver’s Justin … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Barrel Theory Beer Company






At Barrel Theory Beer Company, Lowertown St. Paul’s new brewery, it’s all about the wood. Hardwood floors, a long, woodburned bench seat stretching along the wall, weathered wooden tap handles, and exposed wooden ceiling joists dominate the taproom, located next door to Dark Horse Bar & Eatery. Perhaps it’s fitting that the long wood bar … [ Read more]

Fooling Father Time: “Rapid-Aging” and the Future of Craft Whiskey






The standard formula for whiskey, the way it’s always been done, is this: you fill up an oak barrel with a clear spirit and then you wait. And wait. And wait. Inside that barrel, things slowly unfold. Alcohol seeps into the toasted oak, degrading the polymers that make up its structure. The lignin and hemicellulose in … [ Read more]

The Growler’s Homebrew Con visitors guide






Thousands of homebrewers are gathering in Minneapolis June 15–17 for the 39th Annual National Homebrewers Conference, better known as Homebrew Con. The three-day conference will include a massive show floor, speakers, educational seminars, parties, and more. It’s also the site of the final round of judging for the National Homebrew Competition, which saw 7,962 entries from around … [ Read more]

After ‘Scaffold’ controversy, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to reopen this weekend






After a dramatic course of events over the past two weeks, the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are set to open the newly renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden this Saturday, June 10th. Originally scheduled to open on June 3rd, the Walker and the park board delayed the opening after outrage over … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Swedezerac at Fika






It’s a splendid May afternoon and I’m gazing up at turrets and spires, relaxing in the courtyard of a castle. Inside, there’s a stark white cafe where I found a bitter and spicy cocktail that feels just right for the season. “I’ve been playing with infusions lately, and specifically, my newfound love of Skaalvenn Aquavit,” … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Aquavit






This month’s Craft Cocktail: Swedezerac at Fika uses anise-infused Skaalvenn Aquavit to complement to the fennel note that dominates the spirit, so for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we’re diving into locally-produced aquavits to learn more. Bourbon has Kentucky. Absinthe has New Orleans. But aquavit has no spiritual center in the United States. Minnesota could be on … [ Read more]

Craft Culture: Preserving the magic of motion pictures with Bob DeFlores






When the lights in the room dim and the silver screen lights up, Bob DeFlores doesn’t watch the animated characters that spring to life. As the old film starts to run, he turns his attention toward the hundreds of people sitting in plush theater seats before him. He stares at each face in turn, gauging … [ Read more]