John Garland

About John Garland

John Garland is the Senior Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in real life at various bar patios in South Minneapolis.

Craft Cocktail: Wilde at Bar Brigade

Drinking at Bar Brigade is all about rosé on tap and riffs on cocktails that were popular in fin de siècle Paris. We settle in a cozy nook, brimming with greenery, and pass on a pretty French wine list in favor of a cloudy cocktail to beat back the sweltering afternoon. Haden Riles is behind the … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Pastis

In the waning days of summer, you don’t want to be stuck inside muddling, shaking, and fussing over drinks for your guests. Not while the sun is shining and three friends on the bocce court are calling for a fourth. This month calls for a jug of ice cold water and a bottle of pastis. … [ Read more]

The Iowa pork loin at The Original on 42nd is Hawkeye-approved

Welcome to Plate Of The Week, a journal about memorable dining experiences in the Twin Cities. Which plate can’t you stop thinking about? Let us know @growlermag. One of the easiest things to love about the Hawkeye State is the regional sandwich quirks. Iowa is the home of Maid-Rites, also called loose-meat sandwiches, which are just crumbled … [ Read more]

Saint Dinette’s quail is St. Paul’s underrated fried bird

Welcome to Plate Of The Week, a journal about memorable dining experiences in the Twin Cities. Which plate can’t you stop thinking about? Let us know @growlermag. You’ve no doubt already gorged on a certain fried bird up on Cathedral Hill, and as well you should have. But next time the urge strikes you, there’s one … [ Read more]

StormKing Barbecue has the right mindset for brisket

Welcome to Plate Of The Week, a journal about memorable dining experiences in the Twin Cities. Which plate can’t you stop thinking about? Let us know @growlermag.  It’s a common refrain from Twin Cities diners, a problematic mindset, born of nostalgia for better plates in better cities. “The X in Minneapolis is nothing compared to the same in Y.” … [ Read more]

Plate of the Week: Artisan Sandwich at Rise Bagel Co.

A dreary Wednesday morning. Downtown Minneapolis clogged with diverted highway traffic fighting through lane closures on every street. And then the rain enters the mix—grinding the sluggish, honking mess of cars to a halt. The antidote: bagels. Real bagels. Not those puffy, bagel-shaped dough cakes that pass for bagels around here. I’m talking burnished on the top, close-textured, but … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Smoke

From midday brats to late-night s’mores, the flavors of summer are full of smoke. I say you should add a little to your cocktails as well. There are several ways to get a smoky flavor into drinks, but which ones are worth your time and effort? Don’t Bother With Liquid Smoke: Do you want your … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Campfire Rob Roy at Ngon Bistro

Most restaurants on University Avenue in St. Paul deliver excellent food at the expense of their ambiance. I’ll happily eat a banh mi from a grocery store or a bowl of pho in an unadorned plastic booth. But when it’s happy hour, I want to escape. I want to drink in summer as I drink … [ 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]

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]

RockFilter Distillery opens in June poised to make Minnesota’s best whiskey

The floodgates open and water rushes in. The entire building starts to tremble—cobwebs shake, beams shudder, a haze of flour shoots into the air. Turbines and belts from the 1870s are whirring just like they have for over a century. This is Schech’s Mill, the oldest water-powered mill with its original equipment in the state. … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Branch Water at Norseman Distillery

On the first beautiful day of spring, I was admiring the Wüsthofs at Eversharp when I noticed the patio at Norseman Distillery. A single table was bathed in golden sunlight, as if the heavens had sent down a reservation placard for me and my girlfriend. We skipped across the parking lot to that table and, … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Water

This month’s Craft Cocktail is the Branch Water at Norseman Distillery, a remarkably uncomplicated whiskey and water. So, for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we decided to take a look at how water can enhance the whiskey-drinking experience.  Are you telling us to water down our cocktails? You’re doing it already. Water is an important ingredient … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Back to base camp with J.D. Fratzke

J.D. Fratzke tucks a brown paper bag under a small teepee of sticks. It’s been raining here, last night and early this morning. He searches for drier kindling, finding only a little. The chef will make do. We’re perched at a campsite above the St. Croix River, surrounded by scraggly trees and a cool wind … [ Read more]

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