When Summit Brewing Company founder Mark Stutrud wrote to the Brewers Association in 1983 to apply for membership and notify them that he was exploring the idea of opening a craft brewery in St. Paul, the trade organization did their best to dissuade him.
Fortunately for craft beer fans in Minnesota and beyond, Stutrud ignored their warning and went on to establish Summit in 1986.
Now, 30 years and 46 different beers later, Summit is marking their 30th anniversary with a special lineup of anniversary beers, a series of taproom-only releases created by Summit employees, and some special twists for their annual Backyard Bash.
“During 30 years of Summit, we’ve maintained a passion for creativity, consistency, and community,” Stutrud said in a press release. “Along the way, great partnerships have become great friendships with suppliers, distributors, retailers, and, most importantly, our fellow beer drinkers.”
30th Anniversary Series
Summit will release four beers throughout the year that will carry the “30th Anniversary” label.
The first, 30th Anniversary Double IPA, highlights some of the most unique and experimental hop varieties on the craft-brewing scene today.
“The 30th Anniversary Series showcases the unique qualities and attributes that have helped drive Summit forward over the past three decades,” head brewer Damian McConn said in a press release. “They signify our belief in tradition and progress, innovation and heritage, and above all, an uncompromising approach to brewing great beer.”
Double IPA blends six different United States and New Zealand hop varieties layered above pale malts. At 101 IBUs at 8.5% ABV, its aggressive hop flavor comes with powerful aromas of tangerine, lemon, lime, papaya, and mango. The beer will hit store shelves in early March in four-packs of 16-ounce cans.
The other three 30th Anniversary Series beers will be Keller Pils (late spring), West London-Style Ale (late summer), and Barleywine (around the holidays).
Team Brew Series and Unchained
As a way of engaging all of Summit’s employees in the brewing process, one of Summit’s eight brewers will collaborate with a different team of employees each month of 2016 to create a unique beer on the brewery’s pilot system. These Summit Team Brew Series beers will be available only at the Summit Beer Hall.
“Beer is a universal beverage that helps draw people together,” McConn said. “The Summit Team Brew Series showcases this idea on a smaller scale, bringing employees of Summit together in order to have fun and share in the process of making great beer, while at the same time allowing their creativity and passion to truly shine.”
The first beer in the series, Spiced Winter Weizen, is available now.
— Summit Brewery (@summitbeer) February 6, 2016
Summit’s Unchained Series—which allows individual brewers to show off their creativity—will also continue this year with the release of Unchained Nos. 21, 22, and 23.
Brewer Gabe Smoley’s Us & Them: A Two Thread Brewing Experience, is the brewery’s first parti-gyled beer, a brewing method in which two beers are created from one mash. Us & Them will be released as a split six-pack with three American IPAs and three Session IPAs.
Try both new beers from Gabe Smoley’s Unchained 21: Us & Them Sat 2/20 Summit Beer Hall. (PS – They’re awesome!) pic.twitter.com/Sgkav7wdGA
— Summit Brewery (@summitbeer) February 16, 2016
This year’s Backyard Bash is scheduled for Saturday, September 10, at the brewery in St. Paul, and will serve as the brewery’s official 30th birthday party.
Other music events Summit will be a part of this year include Rock the Garden (Saturday, June 18, at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis), Music at the Zoo (ongoing throughout the summer at the Minnesota Zoo), and Eaux Claires (August 12–13 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin).
Summit is also holding an ongoing competition for up-and-coming local bands. The winner will get to open at this year’s Backyard Bash. More Bash details, including a full musician lineup, will be announced at a later date.