The Most Important Beers in Wisconsin Brewing History: A 12-Pack of Leaders & Legends

Few places on earth are more synonymous with beer than Wisconsin. Names like Pabst, Schlitz, and Miller spread the fame of the state worldwide while many amazing beers were seldom available beyond a 50-mile radius of the brewery. Ranking the most important beers in Wisconsin history is only slightly less controversial than ranking its “best” … [ Read more]

The Most Important Beers in Minnesota History: A 12-pack of taste and influence

Since the beginning of commercial brewing here in 1849, Minnesota has produced all types of beers. Many were ordinary and some were renowned, but a small few have become true icons. These were brands that left a mark on the industry, the culture, and even the landscape of beer. Assembling a list of the most … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Yoerg Brewing Co. Saloon in St. Paul

Anthony Yoerg started Minnesota’s first commercial brewery in 1849 at a spot near what is now the parking ramp for the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. (A few later accounts place the founding in 1848.) While he was soon surpassed in volume by other brewers, demand was still strong enough to encourage Yoerg Brewing Co. to … [ 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]

When Grain Belt went dark: Minnesota beer in the year 1996

This Saturday, Minnesotans will gather along the shores of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis near Nicollet Island to celebrate the relighting of the Grain Belt sign. Erected in the 1940s and moved to its current location in 1950, the iconic sign has been dark since 1996. Take a step back in time with us as … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery

The longest gap between beers in Minnesota brewing history (154 years) is ending this fall. After eight years of planning and tens of thousands of hours of research, legal work and build out, the only known remaining example of a pre–Civil War lager beer saloon is being reincarnated as Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery. Having successfully … [ Read more]

The Stone Saloon: One man’s quest to resurrect a Civil War-era lager house in St. Paul

When Tom Schroeder bought the small, vacant limestone house at 445 Smith Avenue, a block from his family’s home in St. Paul, he really didn’t know what he was going to do with it, except save it from demolition. As he began taking apart the interior with architect John Yust, he uncovered a piece of … [ Read more]

Glass from the Past: Champagne Velvet

The Terre Haute Brewing Co. was founded in 1855 and grew to be one of the largest breweries in Indiana. In 1902, Terre Haute brewmaster Walter Braun created a lager called Champagne Velvet (CV) that quickly became the flagship beer of the company. While the beer helped the brewery spread its market and fame during … [ Read more]

Straight from the Source: Montgomery Brewing Company

Czechs moved into the Upper Midwest in force in the late 19th century. In Minnesota, these European émigrés created settlements in places like New Prague, Veseli, and Montgomery, bringing with them the secrets of baking kolacky and brewing lager beer. Matthias Chalupsky started the first brewery in Montgomery in 1882, though it was the Handschuh … [ Read more]

America’s Ice Box: How the frozen lakes and rivers of the North transformed the nation’s brewing industry

Today, “ice harvest” means grabbing a few cubes from the tray in the freezer. But in the 19th century, before modern refrigeration, ice harvesting from frozen lakes and rivers was a major Midwestern industry that required hard labor and careful planning—all to preserve food and lager beer across the country. When immigrants reached the Upper … [ Read more]

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Straight from the Source: Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery

Behind the shopping center and suburban sub-development in Waconia, Minnesota, Airport Road changes from asphalt to gravel and offers a reminder of how steeped in agriculture Carver County was even a generation ago. Amidst the farmland is a patch of land on the north shore of Reitz Lake. The southern-facing slope is ideal for growing … [ Read more]

Straight from the Source: Great Waters Brewing

Photos by Aaron Davidson With all the well-deserved excitement about Minnesota’s new breweries, it is easy to get caught up in the latest opening or the newest exotic style. However, it’s always worth revisiting the veterans of the local scene. It seems any brewery that has been around for more than three years is a … [ Read more]

Straight from the Source: Sisyphus Brewing

Photos by Doug Hoverson The architecturally-minded drinker might think there was something a bit unusual about both the taproom and the brewhouse at Sisyphus Brewing in the Loring Park neighborhood. It’s not the exposed brick, or the large windows—these are common enough in taprooms located in historic structures. The exposed rafters look normal, but wait! … [ Read more]

Destination Potosi

A drive through southwestern Wisconsin takes travelers over bluffs, past farms, and into villages that have maintained much of their character from the pre-bypass era. Even Highway 61 goes right through Lancaster, Boscobel, and Fennimore. The region was at the center of the lead rush of the 1820s and 1830s. But as the ore played … [ Read more]

Straight from the Source: On the Road in Delaware

Even a column intended to celebrate beers of the Midwest region only available at the brewery has to go on vacation occasionally. So when looking for a seminar to advance my scholarship for the day job, I found one in Lewes, Delaware. The name sounded familiar and, sure enough, it was right down the road … [ Read more]