Trailblazers 2016

What’s the value of a brewery’s stance on mining? Why be concerned with obscure English apples? What’s so important about a chicken sandwich at a stadium? Why does it matter if a basketball team weighs in on current events? The answer to all those questions is the same: it makes a difference. There are people … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Danielle Cusack

Rock ‘n’ roll has always been about youthful energy, but right now the Twin Cities music scene is having an especially youthful moment, with artists like Lexii Alijai blowing up on SoundCloud and an all-ages scene burgeoning at venues like the Garage. At the nexus of what’s next is 20-year-old Danielle Cusack: drummer, bassist, singer-songwriter, … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Mike and Gretchen Perbix of Sweetland Orchard

Minnesota’s cider scene is flourishing. In 2015, cidermakers made 100,000 gallons of cider from 33,333 bushels of Minnesota-grown apples. By 2019, they are projected to make upwards of 400,000 gallons of cider, which would require an additional 100,000 bushels of apples. Though the demand for cider apple varieties is rising, Minnesota apple growers are reluctant … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Jorge Guzman of Surly Brewing

Brewery taprooms have become one of most significant cultural developments in the Twin Cities in recent years, but most lack in one clear area: food. Food trucks get the job done, but they rarely take dining to the next level. That’s where Jorge Guzman separates Surly from the pack. Guzman spent years as lead chef … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Louise Erdrich

“Louise Erdrich has portrayed her fellow Native Americans as no contemporary American novelist ever has, exploring—in intimate and fearless ways—the myriad cultural challenges that indigenous and mixed-race Americans face.” These words, spoken by the previous Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, addressed the literary and virtuosic impact that Erdrich exudes, as she was awarded the … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Tracy Singleton of Birchwood Cafe

The Birchwood Cafe isn’t a restaurant. I mean, sure, in the sense that it serves some of the most delicious waffles known to mankind, it’s a neighborhood cafe all right, and certainly one of the finest we have in these parts. But in the course of the last year, it has become obvious that the … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

Ever since taking office as the mayor of St. Paul back in 2006, Chris Coleman has been tasked with being the voice of a diverse community, presiding over the capital of Minnesota, and making a case for himself as the cooler of the two mayors in the Twin Cities. And no better case can be … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Dave Hoops of Hoops Brewing

There are many reasons we consider master brewer Dave Hoops a Trailblazer in the world of beer here in Minnesota. His resume runs deep: educated at Siebel Institute of Technology; 16-plus years leading the brew crew at the iconic Fitger’s Brewhouse; founding member the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild; and regular beer judge at the annual … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Tim Niver of Mucci’s Italian

Mucci’s Italian is among the unquestionable new bright spots in local dining this year. And to know why is to know Tim Niver. Reflecting on the last 12 months in Niver’s restaurant tenure, a lone, unmistakable question emerges: when was the last time anyone ordered lasagna in a restaurant? Niver recognized a huge blind spot … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Leslie Barlow

One might consider U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis a piece of art in and of itself. But when the doors opened for the start of the football season this year, Vikings fans were greeted with a true array of museum-quality artworks and installations, including six portrait paintings of iconic Vikes from Leslie Barlow. Primarily … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Sour Beer

I will never forget my first sip of Duchesse De Bourgogne. That fateful moment opened my eyes to a whole new world of what beer could be. More than a decade and countless sour sips later, I’m excited to watch as the wild/sour/mixed-fermentation category becomes one of the fastest growing segments of American craft beer. … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone of Revival and Corner Table

When Nick Rancone and Thomas Boemer transformed Corner Table in 2013, they connected with a zeitgeist. High-end diners and food adventurers still craved sustainability, but with a little less bang-you-on-the-head zealotry. Instead, they angled for seasonally-focused, casual elegance with a side of soul—think coq au vin next to maple-roasted jowl. That modus operandi carried them … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: First Avenue

When Prince died this past April, fans from around the world flocked to First Avenue to pay their respects. His star, which someone quietly painted gold, became a memorial as flowers piled up on the sidewalk beneath it. For some visitors, this was their first time seeing the club that Prince made world-famous in his … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Ben Boo and Eric Sannerud of Mighty Axe Hops

Before Mighty Axe Hops announced a massive expansion plan this summer, Minnesota’s hop-growing industry wasn’t much of an industry at all. The state’s overall production was driven primarily by a patchwork of small-scale growers operating on one-acre plots or smaller. While these farms were able to harvest enough hops to sell to their local brewery … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2016: Maria Bamford

Mental hospitals, medications, people-pleasing tendencies, addiction, and recovery. Are you laughing yet? This may not seem like the standard formula for comedy, but Maria Bamford isn’t a standard comedian. She has managed to work these elements into a comedy career that has spanned nearly three decades. That’s why it should have come as no surprise … [ Read more]