The Mash-Up: Beers for the winter solstice, plus the return of some favorites

With well over 100 breweries now pouring their beer in Minnesota, there’s always something new to try. To keep you up-to-date, we present The Mash-Up—our weekly rundown of new beers and seasonal releases in Minnesota from your favorite local and national breweries. Visit every Friday for the latest or sign up for a weekly email.

It’s never easy to wrap up the beer scene in just a few words. It’s diverse, ever-changing, and full of surprises. This week’s new beers include a Super Bowl-minded beer by 612Brew, beers that celebrate the darkest day of the year at Inbound and Waconia, and new coffee beers at Steel Toe and Badger Hill.

Elsewhere, popular options like Town Festivus, Bemidji Double Porter, and Junkyard King Size are back, and Indeed’s Strawberry Fields is coming to cans.



Each week, The Growler’s editorial team will highlight five of the most tantalizing new beers hitting taps and store shelves that we’re most excited about.

Hoops #55 Wort Rally Oatmeal Stout

This robust and full-bodied oatmeal stout was brewed for the official Mashmaker Duluth Mash Rally  back on December 1. Based on homebrew guru and author Michael Dawson’s Motorboat Extra Oatmeal Stout recipe found in his first book, “Mashmaker: A Citizen-Brewer’s Guide to Making Great Beer at Home,” the team up at Hoops Brewing are releasing their version on draft at the taproom. 5.8% ABV, 27 IBU.

612Brew 52 by 612

612Brew teamed up with Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph on this Super Bowl LII–minded beer. 52 by 612 is a 5.2% ABV, American premium lager that is light and crisp with low bitterness and a clean finish. Now available in cans, proceeds from the beer benefit Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone, a state-of-the-art 2,500-square-foot patient- and family-centered space. Rudolph’s End Zone was designed to help children and teenagers find a place to play, relax, engage in healing therapies, and socialize with other patients and families in the hospital.

Bang Hive

Normally exclusive to Mucci’s, Bang Brewing has a limited supply of bottles of this honey ale for sale. Brewed from Ames Farm honey, Hive is available in 750-milliliter bottles that are returnable. Ames Farm is nationally recognized for producing single source honey. Each jar of their honey has the location, hive number, and floral source printed on the label. 5.0% ABV, 50 IBU.

Forager Brewing's Pudding Goggles Crowler // Photo by Aaron Job

Forager Pudding Goggles

This dessert porter with cocoa, coconut, and cinnamon is also now available in Crowlers and at the brewpub in Rochester. Pudding Goggles is thick, dark, and at 10.4% ABV is pleasantly boozy. It coats the palate with sweet coconut, chocolate, and honey flavors, before giving way to a cinnamon finish. Rich and decadent, Pudding Goggles is a beer we’re excited to bring to our next holiday gathering.

Hayes’ Public House Major Whittet’s English-style Barleywine

At Hayes’ Public House, owner and brewer Pugs Hayes is all about paying tribute to classic British and Irish beer styles. This holiday season, he’s keeping that spirit alive with Major Whittet, his take on an English barleywine. Clocking in at 9.8% ABV, expect this beer to be malt-forward, sweet, and a little boozy. Perfect for getting through the impending cold snap.

New beers available this week (December 18 – December 24)

HeadFlyer Beyond the Door Scotch Ale // Photo via HeadFlyer's Twitter

HeadFlyer Beyond the Door Scotch Ale // Photo via HeadFlyer’s Twitter


  • 52 by 612 – Top Flight Selection

Badger Hill Brewing Company

  • Hop Hill infused with tangerine – Available Saturday at the taproom.

Earth Rider Beer

  • Allouez Amber Ale – “Drier and roasty-er than most amber ales. Dark fruit, roasted coffee, and toasty flavors come out as it warms. Low hop presence balances the sweetness with a clean and spicy bitterness. Finishes dry,” says the brewery 5.7% ABV, 31 IBU.
  • North Tower Stout – This beer blends chocolate and roast aromas with malt-forward chocolate, dark fruit, and coffee flavors. 6.0% ABV, 28 IBU.
  • Valhalla Winter Warmer – This is a scotch ale with notes of caramel, prune, and raisin with a dry finish, the brewery says.

Eastlake Craft Brewery

  • Oostermeer Belgian Strong

Excelsior Brewing Company

  • ExperimentAle #2 – A session IPA pilot batch. “This one is packed full of hoppy goodness. Mosaic, Sorachi Ace and Citra hops added in mass quantities to this floral yet drinkable IPA,” the brewery says. 5.2% ABV, 81 IBU.

Flat Earth Brewing Company

  • Xanadu Orange Porter – Flat Earth is making a new porter each Wednesday until 2018. This version released on December 20.

The Freehouse

  • Infinity Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout – Tapped on December 14.

Giesenbräu Bier

  • Life Day – “A smoked dark ale named after the Wookiee holiday, this is the first in a series of smoked biers by assistant brewer, Tom Giesen,” the brewery says.
  • Novy Praha Med – Czech for “New Prague Honey,” this is a Russian imperial stout with 75 pounds of local honey. Some will be set aside in bourbon barrels for a future release.

Hayes’ Public House

  • Major Whittet’s English Style Barleywine
  • Raspberry Infused Porter

HeadFlyer Brewing

  • Scotch Ale – Released last Thursday.

Hoops Brewing

  • #55 Wort Rally (WR) Oatmeal Stout – Top Flight selection.
  • #81 Altbier – “A well-balanced beer with assertive hop bitterness. This beer is cool fermented for a clean and refreshing finish,” the brewery says. 5.3% ABV, 36 IBU.

Inbound BrewCo

  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout – Released on Winter Solstice.

Jack Pine Brewery

  • Blood Orange Dead Branch

LTD Brewing

  • Cranberry Brackett – “Using over 240 pounds of local honey for a wine-like taste with candied sweetness and over 200 pounds of cranberries for tartness and pucker,” LTD says. Available on tap and in 750-milliliter bottles.

LTS Brewing Company

  • Barrel-Aged Imperial Brown Ale – A full-bodied brown ale with caramel malt notes that are complemented by aging in a whiskey barrel. 8.1% ABV, 29 IBU.
  • Barrel-Aged Imperial Brown with Toasted Coconuts & Chocolate – “We toasted coconut flakes and added those and chocolate for a sweet, smooth finish,” the brewery says.
  • Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal with Cherries & Chocolate – This imperial oatmeal stout finishes with hints of chocolate, and an added cherry effect. 8.5% ABV, 51 IBU.
  • Barrel-Aged Imperial Oatmeal with Coffee & Chocolate – The coffee beans add a “mocha effect,” says LTS. 8.5% ABV, 51 IBU.

Lupine Brewing Company

  • Vienna Pale Ale – A juicy and hazy pale ale that debuted this week.

Oliphant Brewing

  • Invierno de Kittay – This cream ale is brewed with lactose, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, and orange peel. 5.0% ABV.

OMNI Brewing Company

At OMNI’s Hibernation Party last weekend, seven new beers debuted, some in extremely limited supply.

  • Bourbon Omnipotent – Bourbon barrel aged Scotch ale. 8.0% ABV.
  • Cabernet Omnipotent – Cabernet barrel aged Scotch ale. 8.0% ABV.
  • Chocolate Vanilla Sweetness – Sweetness stout infused with chocolate and vanilla. 5.5% ABV.
  • Salted Caramel Snowprint – This infused doppelbock, at 8.0% ABV, was also on tap this Tuesday.
  • Shanty Town Nut Brown – 4.3% ABV.
  • Super Scotch – Imperial Scotch ale. 11.0% ABV.
  • Unite Imperial Stout – 11.3% ABV.

Portage Brewing Company

  • Mad at Midnight – An imperial porter with Vietnamese cinnamon, toasted cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, and milk sugar, plus ancho, New Mexican, japones, and guajillo chilis. As a winter warmer, Portage says it’s “a comforting myriad of chocolate, coffee, cinnamon cake, and warming pepper flavors.” 8.5% ABV, 36 IBU.

Sociable Cider Werks

  • Spruce tip-infused, aquavit barrel-aged Freewheeler – Available in limited release 750-milliliter bottles.

Summit Brewing Company

  • Oatmeal Stout with Fuggle hops – On tap in a special cask last night at the Beer Hall.

Talking Waters Brewing Company

  • Pomegranate Gose

The Brewing Projekt

  • Dare Mighty Things: Galaxy

Venn Brewing Co.

Venn opened doors in south Minneapolis on December 16. In addition to the beers listed last week, they are also pouring these:

  • Pilsner – Bitter, hoppy and clean. 4.6% ABV, 45 IBU .
  • Porter – Notes of nuts, milk chocolate, and coffee. 6.2% ABV, 32 IBU.
  • Raspberry Sour – 5.0% ABV, 1 IBU.
  • Rye IPA – “Peaches, squishy, and light spice,” Venn says. 6.2% ABV, 55 IBU.

Waconia Brewing Company

  • Driftwood Russian Imperial Stout – Coming on winter solstice, December 21, this is a limited-offering beer aged in nine-year-old Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. Forty 750-milliliter bottles will be sold at the taproom.

Wild Mind Artisan Ales

  • Hug of Thunder – A juicy IPA out of Wild Mind.

Seasonal or rotating returns

Bang Brewing Company's Local Honey Ale called HIVE // Photo courtesy Bang Brewing's Twitter

Bang Brewing Company’s Local Honey Ale called HIVE // Photo courtesy Bang Brewing’s Twitter

Badger Hill Brewing Company

  • Imperial Macchiato Stout – A 10% ABV stout made with Camerons Coffee. Bottles are sold out, but it’s still on draft at the taproom.

Bang Brewing

  • Hive – Top Flight selection

Barrel Theory Beer Company

  • Chazz Michael Michaels – An all Simcoe IPA, tapped today. 7.5% ABV.
  • Drop Tops – A West Coast-style IPA brewed with Amarillo, Simcoe, and Columbus hops. 6.0% ABV.

Bemidji Brewing

  • Double Porter – This award-winning Double Porter came back to the taproom for a limited time on December 8 and inspired a themed tap takeover night tonight. Double Porter is big and bold, pouring pitch black and full of chocolate and dark fruit flavors.

Also available on Friday:

  • 2016 Double Porter
  • Coconut Vanilla infused Double Porter
  • Espresso Double Porter
  • Raspberry Sour – Tapped on Tuesday, December 19, this batch of sour ale was made with more locally grown raspberries so you can expect a more robust berry note, says the brewery.

Eastlake Craft Brewery

  • Kirby Pucker No. 8: Beet Generation – The sour beet beer returns after debuting in 2016.

Forager Brewing

  • Backdoor Santa – An oak-fermented winter warmer, now on tap and in Crowlers.
  • Pudding Goggles – Top Flight selection.

Junkyard Brewing Co.

  • Barrel-Aged King Size – Released on Tuesday.
  • Peanut Butter Bandit – Released on Wednesday.

Steel Toe Brewing

  • Dawn Juan – Steel Toe’s strong dark coffee ale is back, as of today. Taproom only, the brewery says, “Big coffee aroma is met with dark chocolate, hints of black cherry, malted cream and roasted malt.” 9% ABV.

Town Hall Brewery

  • Festivus – The Seinfeldian holiday is already over, but Festivus is still on tap. It’s a sweet brown ale with chestnuts.

Waldmann Brewery

  • Dunkel – St. Paul’s historic lager house has revised their Dunkel recipe. “This unfiltered lager has enough Cluster and modern German noble hops to balance, but lets the Czech & German maillard malts do most of the talking,” Waldmann says. 5.2% ABV.

Beers just announced

Copper Trail Brewing Company's newest equipment, a barrel from Panther Distiller // Photo courtesy Copper Trail Brewing Company Facebook

Copper Trail Brewing Company’s newest barrel from Panther Distiller // Photo courtesy Copper Trail Brewing Company Facebook

Bad Weather Brewing Company

  • Czech-style Pils – Batch 200 has been brewed, using whole leaf Saaz hops.

Birch’s on the Lake

  • Bohemian Pilsner – 5.3% ABV and brewed with Weyermann floor-malted Bohemian Pilsner malt and Czech Saaz hops.
  • Doppelbock – This dark Munich-inspired lager is coming soon. 8.0% ABV.

Brewery Ommegang

  • Hand of the Queen – As Game of Thrones nears its conclusion, Ommegang will release four new beers in the Royal Reserve Collection in 2018. The first is Hand of the Queen, a bold barleywine inspired by Tyrion Lannister, coming out in April. on draft and in 750-milliliter bottles. The rest of the series releases in July, October, and December.

Copper Trail Brewing Company

  • Recently-acquired whiskey barrels from Panther Distillery for aging an unnamed beer.

Earth Rider Beer

  • Duluth Coffee Pale Ale
  • Royal Bohemian Pilsner

Giesenbräu Bier

  • Russian Imperial Stout – On December 11, this beer went into bourbon barrels for a future release.
  • Spaceballs – Coconut milk stout.

Hayes’ Public House

  • Barrel-Aged The Morrígan Black IPA

Indeed Brewing Company

  • Strawberry Fields Sour Ale – Indeed’s one-time collaboration with New Belgium has become a regular offering. With fruity sweetness and tart citrus, Strawberry Fields will be available in cans on the week of January 22.

LTS Brewing Company

  • Wake Up Call – A hazy American pale ale with wheat. “Light lemon citrus notes and subtle hop character make for a refreshing balance in this beer,” says the brewery. 5.9% ABV, 37 IBU.

Surly Brewing Company

  • Mango Habanero Todd the Axe Man – A Cask Tuesday release special for the day after Christmas, Dec. 26.

Surly celebrates New Year’s Eve with a host of specialty casks, infusions and a new taproom only kettle sour. (Hours: Sunday, December 31, 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Monday, January 1, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

  • Madagascar Vanilla Bean Darkness
  • Thai Cynic with ginger, Thai chilies and lime
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate Smoke with chocolate, ancho chili and cinnamon
  • Moe’s Bender


  • Mango Habanero Todd the Axe Man
  • Passion Fruit Sardonic

New (Beer Hall only)

  • Surly Kettle Sour – “Surly says: “Per our brewers, a fruit bomb with no fruit. Dry-hopped on heaps of Mosaic hops and finished on Brett, expect funky, fruity-pineapple character underneath huge waves of tropical fruit, mango, and peach aromatics.”

Wild Mind Artisan Ales

  • Réveillon – Wild Mind is throwing a New Year’s Eve bash that includes the release of this cider ale made with Champagne yeast and refermented on white wine grapes.

Curious about recent releases? Peruse our Mash-Up archives. Did we miss a beer release or announcement? Email us at [email protected] to let us know about new beers from this week and beyond. Or let us know what new beer you’re enjoying by using #TheMashUp on Twitter and Instagram.