PHOTOS: Rock The Garden 2018

Rock The Garden 2018 has come and gone. If you were there, you know it was hot, sweaty, and an exhaustingly fun time. If you missed it, or just want to reminisce, The Growler’s got you covered. Our photographer was there (regrettably wearing a black shirt, and black pants) and captured the tropically humid music … [ Read more]

Review: Grand Catch is a Mixed Bag

There’s no law against plucking a food from its roots and serving it to people who didn’t grow up eating it. Yes, that’s how you get gas station sushi, but it’s also how you get taco trucks, and if you deny the worth of those, you don’t have any business pretending to enjoy food. And … [ Read more]

Hive Minds: How bees are inspiring food purveyors, artists, and policy wonks

Rawest Form of Honey Making a Comb-Back From peanut butter toast for breakfast to a hot toddy for breakf… a nightcap, a drizzle of honey makes everything better. And while local honey farmers have built a cottage industry around that spoonful of sugar, one farm is harvesting something a little less refined. Ames Farms is … [ Read more]

Restaurateur Tom Forti on the Iron Range’s deep food cultures

The Iron Ranger is a small, independent restaurant located on the corner of Grand and Lexington avenues in St. Paul, and it has only been open for a couple of months. But its footprint is much larger than it seems. Its story ties into the four-generations deep heritage of Hibbing’s Sunrise Bakery, and is therefore … [ Read more]

Big Challenges for Small Dairy: Minnesota farmers seek creative solutions in the face of corporate competition

When I first rang Tom Portner to talk about his dairy farm Port-Haven, he told me to call back in a few minutes—he was in the middle of helping a cow give birth. The third in 24 hours, in fact. “Yesterday I had 24 due, now three of them have calves,” he says when I … [ Read more]

Superior Sounds: Great summer concerts along the shores of the greatest Great Lake

Summer in the Upper Midwest—so much to do, so little time! Like any other Minnesotan, I enjoy hopping a plane to somewhere warmer for a week or so in the winter, but summer is the perfect time to enjoy local offerings out on the open road. Some vacation for leisure; others for adventure. I always … [ 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]

Smoke and No Mirrors: The effort and integrity behind Northern Waters Smokehaus

I spent a couple decades in real estate, where I saw every kind of sales pitch, from the clumsiest—delivered by a transparently thirsty postgraduate sweating through the armpits of his big-boy sport coat—to the most sophisticatedly smooth. One thing I learned is that we are all selling something almost all of the time, even if it’s … [ Read more]

Make The Lakes Great Again

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative restores and maintains the largest freshwater system in the world For Ron Zalesny, a plant geneticist with the U.S. Forest Service, 15 landfills within the Lake Superior and Lake Michigan watersheds are places that hold promise. Promise for a better watershed, a better understanding of the ecosystem, and ultimately, a … [ Read more]

On the Shores of the ‘Great Water’: The Ojibwe people’s migration to Gichigamiing

To the Ojibwe people, Lake Superior is “Gichigamiing”—the “great water” or “sea.” Today, Ojibwe communities are scattered around the northern and southern regions of Gichigamiing, including throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario. The Ojibwe have a culturally and historically significant relationship to Gichigamiing going back hundreds of years, when they first migrated to the region.  … [ Read more]

Under the Freshwater Seas: Divers explore the otherworldy realm of Great Lakes shipwrecks

It’s a totally different world beneath the Great Lakes,” says Bob Thorpe of Scuba North, a recreational diving center based by Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. “You’re suspended in that cold water—weightless, nothing but darkness around you. The sheer scale of it is humbling. Being down there is how I imagine an astronaut feels, floating … [ Read more]

Microscopic Michigan: Dr. Emily Geiger is taming wild yeast on the shores of Superior

Walk along the shoreline of Lake Superior outside of the Upper Peninsula town of Hancock, Michigan, and you might stumble across a half-filled mason jar covered in a cloth. Don’t disturb it. It’s not a forgotten glass of beer from a picnic or beach party, but one of Dr. Emily Geiger’s carefully laid traps. Call … [ Read more]

Earth Rider Brewery’s Rule of Three: Allyson Rolph, Tim Wilson, and Frank Kaszuba

Earth Rider’s spacious brewery is filled with the typical elements: a mountain of grain bags stand atop pallets, next to a handful of beer-filled barrels stacked two-high. Looming over everything, the brewing system hums loudly, as one would expect out of an operation that can produce around 3,000 barrels annually. But the bustling brewery and … [ Read more]

Heirloom Muskie Lures: Supernatural Big Baits

The warehouse complex at 755 Prior Avenue North in St. Paul most famously houses entities like Can Can Wonderland and BlackStack Brewing. But in the northwest corner of the building sits Supernatural Big Baits, where founder and owner Duff Thury has been hand-making some seriously big baits for serious muskie anglers since 2013. Duff is … [ Read more]