About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the editor-in-chief of The Growler Magazine.

10 Years in Beer: Lift Bridge’s Dan Schwarz on lessons learned, the future of the brand, and Minnesota’s beer industry

Ten years ago, a group of homebrewers launched Lift Bridge Brewing Company in the historic river town of Stillwater, Minnesota, selling their first keg in September 2008. Since then, the company led by Dan Schwarz, Brad Glynn, Trevor Cronk, and Jim Pierson has planted itself firmly in the top 10 largest craft breweries in the … [ Read more]

Two Twin Ports brewery staples are getting a refresh

Two of the Twin Ports’ oldest breweries and brewpubs are getting a refresh with new faces in the brewhouse, new packaging, and a rebrand. After months of being without a brewer, Thirsty Pagan Brewing’s owner Steve Knauss tapped Kathleen Culhane, the founder and brewer at the now-defunct Sídhe Brewing in St. Paul, to fill the … [ Read more]

Soil Farmers: How A Renewed Focus On The Land Is Building More Resilient Farms

Peter Allen wants to bury a fence. Tucked within the rolling landscape of the driftless region, on a farm outside of Viola, Wisconsin, a barbed wire fence runs along the spine of a ridge separating a strip of pasture from the valley below. The noticeable three-foot drop between the fence and the field is the … [ Read more]

First Look: Pearl & the Thief brings Southern comfort to Stillwater

Executive chef Justin Sutherland and general manager Joseph Pirri of St. Paul’s Handsome Hog are opening their new Southern-inspired restaurant, Pearl & the Thief, in downtown Stillwater on Tuesday, May 29. Between the comfort food dishes and its striking design, Pearl & the Thief progresses the food and drink scene in the historic river town. … [ Read more]

Still in Stillwater: Lift Bridge secures site for new production brewery and taproom

After nearly a decade of brewing, Stillwater’s Lift Bridge Brewing Company has outgrown it’s home. But it didn’t have to travel far to find a site to build an expanded production brewery and taproom. Today the company announced that it has purchased a five-and-a-half-acre property, located less than a quarter-mile north of the current location, … [ Read more]

Back on the Beat: ‘Super Troopers 2’ director Jay Chandrasekhar talks crowdsourcing, cult status, and chugging

Mac, Thorny, Foster, Rabbit, and Farva are back in action and find themselves smack dab in the middle of an international border dispute between the U.S. and Canada. When the town of St. Georges Du Laurent, Quebec, becomes a part of America due to a surveying error, the Super Troopers are called in to set … [ Read more]

Beer delivery drivers, warehouse workers strike distributor J.J. Taylor

Delivery drivers for Minnesota’s largest beer distributor aren’t behind the wheel this week—instead they are behind a picket line. Ninety-three members of Teamsters Local 792, who work as delivery drivers and warehouse workers for J.J. Taylor Distributing Company of Minnesota, went on strike effective at 5am on Monday, April 9. Located in Northeast Minneapolis, J.J. Taylor … [ Read more]

Palmer’s Bar selling to longtime Grumpy’s NE bartender Tony Zaccardi

Palmer’s Bar in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside is an institution. Opened in 1906, the bar was owned by Minneapolis Brewing Company as a tied house, and it’s rumored that during Prohibition it operated as a speakeasy with a tunnel connecting Palmer’s to the 5 Corners Saloon (what is now known as the Nomad). In the 1930s, there … [ Read more]

So long Wild Onion, Red Rabbit is coming to Grand Avenue

After two decades on Grand Avenue, St. Paul’s Wild Onion Bar & Restaurant is closing its doors on March 31 and will be transformed into Red Rabbit, the second location of Luke Shimp’s Italian eatery concept. “It’s been a great run! In the restaurant business, to be successful for 20 years is quite an accomplishment,” … [ Read more]

Askov Finlayson giving 110% to fight climate change

As a teenager, Eric Dayton sat in awe as famed polar explorer Will Steger rolled out a map of Antarctica to show him the route of an epic transcontinental expedition. The moment fueled Dayton’s love of the outdoors and exploration, gained during summers paddling through the Boundary Waters as a camper at Camp Widjiwagan in … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: Jack Riebel

Chef Jack Riebel grew up just four blocks from an iconic St. Paul dining establishment: The Lexington. “My mom came in here all the time,” Riebel said in an interview with the Pioneer Press in January of 2017. “I remember eating the pot pie at the bar.” So perhaps it was no surprise that after … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: Lee Egbert

There are many ways in which people are contributing to the local craft spirits industry: at the production level in the distillery; at the retail level behind the bar; even as media covering the scene. Lee Egbert, though, is doing it all. As a founding partner of 11 Wells in St. Paul, Egbert worked alongside … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: Nate Watters & Tracy Jonkman of Keepsake Cidery

In spring of 2014, Nate Watters and Tracy Jonkman planted 2,400 apple tree saplings on their property in Dundas, Minnesota, with a singular goal in mind: make top quality cider from Minnesota-grown apples. Spanning 30 varieties of dessert and cider apples, the founders of Keepsake Cidery knew they were taking a big chance on the … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: University of Minnesota Grape Breeding and Enology

This January, when the mercury dips below zero and the snow is blowing across windswept fields in Minnesota, take a moment to consider—in spring, the grape vines at the state’s 60-plus wineries and even more vineyards will begin to bloom again. This fact is due in large part to the University of Minnesota’s grape breeding … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: Local Malt

  Malt is the backbone of craft beer. In fact, it can take three to seven times more malt to brew a craft beer than a domestic lager. That’s good news for the state’s few barley growers and maltsters. Up until two years ago, Minnesota was home to just one malting company, Rahr Malting Corporation. … [ Read more]