Ellen Burkhardt

About Ellen Burkhardt

Ellen Burkhardt is a freelance writer. When she's not writing, editing, or interviewing, chances are she's on the road seeking out good food, drink, and fodder for her next story.

In the Land of Peat & Whiskey

Minnesota is rich in peat and distilleries. So when will a Minnesota peated whiskey become a reality? The ground beneath me gives way slightly as I place my full weight on my foot. I wholly expect to be staging a rescue mission of my shoe at any moment and wait for it to be swallowed by … [ Read more]

A Quick Guide to Cider Styles

You know your beer styles and wine varieties, whiskey vs. whisky, and what you want in a gin. But what about cider? By no fault of its own (we blame the Prohibitionists who torched America’s once-plentiful cider-apple orchards) cider has fallen by the wayside for many drinkers, often being shunned due to misconceptions that it’s … [ Read more]

Bringing Berliner Back: Jace Marti gives the traditional German beer a second life at The Starkeller

A battering ram of carbon dioxide punches me in the face and leaves me coughing for air. It’s been trapped inside its wooden tank prison for a little over two years now, the byproduct of a long, slow Berliner weisse fermentation, and it’s not wasting any time getting the hell out. “Yeah, it’s no joke,” … [ Read more]

Stuart Long Brings Southern California to Northern Minnesota at Voyageur Brewing Company

It’s not Grand Marais’ cold snaps that trip up Stuart Long. Or the solitude. It’s the seagulls. “What the hell is a seagull doing in Minnesota?” the head brewer of Voyageur Brewing Company quips. “I don’t know; it’s weird, man.” Stuart moved to Grand Marais two years ago after spending the majority of his 31 … [ Read more]

Jace Marti and Nate Gieseke opening Black Frost Distilling Company in New Ulm

Few people know more about fermentation than Jace Marti. The 35-year-old assistant brewmaster and sixth-generation brewer officially started working at his family’s brewery, August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm, Minnesota, when he was 18 years old, but had been doing odd jobs around the brewery long before that. In 2017, he opened Starkeller Brewing Company, the Schell’s … [ Read more]

It’ll Fit: A Master Course in Packing

You never need as much as you think you will when traveling. A travel pillow, your electric toothbrush and charger, that cute outfit you swear you’re going to wear that needs matching shoes: it’s all extra, and it’s all going to add up in weight and bulk.  Successful packing starts with a few considerations:  Check … [ Read more]

Eight Travel Must-Haves (and Two You Should Ditch)

It’s easy to slip into “what if” mode when packing for a trip. What if the temperature does a nose dive and I didn’t pack anything appropriate? What if I lose my cell phone? What if my luggage gets lost? While there are some things, like the weather, that you simply can’t control, there are … [ Read more]

Craft Culture: Northeast Tattoo & Fadeaway Laser Removal

Matthew Krofta stands perfectly still, his bare back covered in a smear of purple ink. Jack Gribble, Matthew’s coworker and, today, tattooer, holds up a sheet of stencil paper to Matthew’s back and makes minute adjustments to get everything just so before securing the sheet—again. This is take three of the process—arguably the most painstaking … [ Read more]

Tina Spurr: Mother of Barrels at Indeed Brewing Company

Walking around Indeed Brewing Company’s barrel house, tucked just off Territorial Avenue between MN-280 and University Avenue, assistant brewer Cristina (Tina) Spurr points to chalk markings on a few of the hundreds of barrels racked four high and two deep along the walls. The numbers and letters are arranged in what look like unsolved algebra … [ Read more]

There’s Something About Hallock: One town’s pitch for why you should want to be their neighbor

The gurgling shriek of a milk steamer and smell of fresh pour-over coffee fills the air of Bean and Brush Creative Coffee. Vintage-inspired asterisk-shaped chandeliers illuminate the art on the walls. Four children chase each other, dodging brightly colored chairs and glancing every so often at their moms, who are relaxing in armchairs in the … [ Read more]

Bold sound and set design elevates the Guthrie’s ‘Frankenstein’ to new heights

The creak of shifting ice and horror-film undertones are the first sounds welcoming audience members into the Wurtle Thrust stage at Guthrie Theater. A gleaming black, sloping mound dominates the set; a black disk of a sun glows ominously in the upper-left corner of the stage. The sounds, composed and designed by Cliff Caruthers, and … [ Read more]

Har Mar Superstar is opening a bar in Moorhead with fellow musicians

Plenty of people dream of opening a bar with their closest friends. Even more people dream of being successful full-time musicians. Few people actually make either dream become reality. Even fewer do both. Welcome to the story of Eric Odness (bassist for Primitive Weapons), Rob Pope (bassist for Spoon), and Frank Bevan (former frontman for … [ Read more]

The Growler’s Field Guide to Cider, Chapter 4: Science and Definitions

You’re reading Chapter 4 of 7. For the complete contents of The Growler’s Field Guide to Cider, click here. Good cider starts with good soil. The acidity, porousness, organic matter, microbial activity, and structure of soil all impact what types of trees will grow and the quality and characteristics of the fruit those trees will … [ Read more]

A lesson in drag at Guthrie Theater

It takes more than putting on a dress and squeezing into nylons and high heels to be a true drag queen. You have to know the history of it, the community of it, the art of it. You have to know who you are and who you’re hoping to become. You have to commit to … [ Read more]

Cider in the North: Two cideries add new flavor to Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District

Two more cideries will soon be added to Minnesota’s roster, and both will be located in a city that as of yet is without a cidery to call its own: Duluth. Not only will Duluth Cider and Wild State Cider both be in Duluth, but they’ll be located some 500 feet from each other on West Superior … [ Read more]