Chips On Their Shoulders, Parks In Their Hearts

The cast of characters who created Minneapolis’ parks could be their own mutton-chopped version of “Parks and Recreation” There’s a lot of green in Minneapolis—6,800 acres of parks, to be exact. Fifteen percent of the city is parkland and 96 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Minneapolis’ 180 park properties have … [ 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]

Bob Was There: From Town Hall to BlackStack, Bob DuVernois’ career spans Minnesota’s craft beer history

Ask any old-school brewer how their fire was lit and the answer will almost always be, “I started homebrewing…” This holds true for Bob DuVernois, head brewer at BlackStack Brewing. His spark came in 1979 when he tasted a dark beer made by a friend’s father. Not a fan of the macro lagers that monopolized the … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Cobblers Had a Bumpy Road

Sherry, sugar, ice, fruit. The sherry cobbler is simple and delicious but any hopes of knowing its origins remain as crushed as the ice on which the cocktail is built. Mentioned by notables from Charles Dickens to Queen Victoria, the sherry cobbler became the most famous libation in the 19th-century Western world because of three … [ Read more]

Ghosts of Maurer’s Saloon: The surprising history of Cuzzy’s in Minneapolis

The women in the Maurer family did not choose to become saloon keepers. It was forced upon them when their husbands committed suicide or were sent to prison. Elizabeth Maurer’s husband, Louis, was a German immigrant like her. In 1909, his saloon was a Gluek’s-connected establishment on Washington Avenue North in Minneapolis, a commercial stretch … [ Read more]

G.O.A.T. in MPLS: The two transcendent seasons of Elgin Baylor

In 1958, the once-proud Minneapolis Lakers, basketball’s original dynasty, the winners of five National Basketball Association championships, had fallen on hard times. The team was on the brink of bankruptcy, had the worst record in basketball, and didn’t even have their own arena. But their reward for falling lower than they’d ever fallen before was … [ Read more]

Boiling Point: The fiery Door County fish boil tradition has deep and native roots

It’s early June, and rain is falling near the tip of Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula. Despite the wet weather and a persistent wind, more than two dozen spectators are gathered together in a damp little community facing the water, awaiting the climax of a local ritual that dates back at least 350 years. At five … [ Read more]

Back From The Brink: Three near-extinct wine grapes that have received a mighty second wind

T he sheer number of wine grapes in the world is staggering. But while the varieties of Vitis vinifera number well into the thousands, the forces and trends driving the wine market have pushed many grapes to the edge of extinction.  It takes a great deal of commitment and dedication to produce a wine that … [ Read more]

Minnesota’s Most Famous Singing Trio: The Andrews Sisters’ inventive harmonies buoyed a nation at war and topped the charts

What comes to mind when you think of the Andrews Sisters? Maybe holiday classics like the Bing Crosby collaborations “Jingle Bells” and “Mele Kalikimaka.” You might remember the Andrews Sisters’ appearance in the comedy “Buck Privates” or the World War II-era hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” You might even know that the Andrews Sisters spent … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: The world’s an endless sea of collaging opportunity for Ben DiNino

Ben DiNino has an obsession with stuff. He says his partner would readily refer to his collection as a certified hoarding habit, especially after making frequent moves around the U.S. before settling down in Minneapolis six years ago. But to him, it’s just an endless sea of collaging opportunity.  “Recently I’ve been trying not to … [ Read more]

Mistaken Minnesota: The mapmaking errors that shaped our state’s landscape

It’s not hard to find Minnesota on a map. Drag your finger as far north as the continental United States goes. We are the one that looks like a bizarre “K.” So how is it that we live in a country with states that are tidy rectangles and squares, and then states that look like … [ Read more]

Roads to the Past: One man’s mission to document Minnesota’s historical highways

Andrew Munsch steers a blue late-model Honda Civic to the shoulder and stops beside a snowbank as tall as his car. He zips up his black jacket and slings a Canon EOS digital camera over his arm. After checking the laces on his boots and straightening a pair of black sunglasses, he kills the engine … [ Read more]

New book on Duluth and Superior’s brewing history sets the record straight

There are lots of stories that people want to believe about history,” says Tony Dierckins, publisher at Zenith City Press in Duluth, Minnesota. “Like the People’s Brewery ‘creation myth,’ for example. It was supposedly started as this socialist movement of tied house saloon-keepers that revolted against the corporate breweries, and all this other stuff, but it turns out that … [ Read more]

Brewing Relics: Archaeologist Patrick McGovern uncovers the secrets of ancient ales and wines

The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer.” While this sounds like an adage uttered by an 18th century figure like Ben Franklin, it is in fact an inscription found in Dendera, Egypt, dating back to 2200 B.C. Egyptians drank beer on a daily basis. Furthermore, getting drunk was the norm during … [ Read more]

The Inimitable Robert ‘Fish’ Jones: The dandy zookeeper of Minneapolis

You’re walking down a busy street in Minneapolis in the late 1800s. You have a list of items that you need to purchase, are juggling the parcels you have already picked up, and you are scanning your list to figure out the next place you need to stop. With your head down, ready to fall … [ Read more]