The Growler: Issue 62 – December 2018 – Kind-of-a-Big-Deal 2018

The Growler Issue 62 cover art // Art by Colin Schye

The Growler Issue 62 cover art // Art by Matt Erickson

My 18-month-old son recently learned how to cheers. When my wife and I clinked our wine glasses in a pre-supper toast, his eyes lit up and he hoisted his green sippy cup to join in.

I logged the moment in my memory as another oh-so-cute first in my son’s life and went on with supper. But as I’ve been reflecting on all the things he learned this year, this simple toast is representative of something else I’ve been thinking about the past few months. Namely, that my son is learning through us; that we are shaping his understanding of the world and instilling in him the—albeit, at this stage, simple—values he’ll carry into the future. (Yes, it’s nice to give the dog a hug. No, it’s not okay to bite him.)

It’s given me cause to step back and ask, am I being the person I aspire to be? Have I shared words of kindness this year with the people who deserve it? Have I appreciated and expressed gratitude for the things this year has blessed me with? Have I used my dollars to support organizations and businesses that champion integrity, opting for the right way instead of the easy way?

We are responsible for teaching our children values like gratitude and generosity, patience and humility, and courage and fortitude. The younger generations are looking to us—not just to their parents but to all adults—to set the example.

In some small way, that’s what our Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards are all about—highlighting the people and businesses that are leading by example, bringing us superb handcrafted food and drink, art that provides joy and laughter, and stories of entrepreneurship that rouse others to take the leap with their own projects.

On behalf of our entire team, we would like thank each of our readers and advertisers that have supported us this year. Without you, this magazine would not exist.

Finally, to you and yours, we wish a very happy holiday  season filled with nourishing food and hearty toasts—sippy cups and all!


Brian Kaufenberg


2018 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners
These are the best of the best in beers, spirits, food, and culture around the great state of Minnesota.
By The Growler Magazine and Readers



Matt Erickson // Photo by Colin Schye

Artist Profile: Matt Erickson
The clean, striking designs of Matt Erickson
By Lauren Sauer

10 Notable Local Albums of 2018
The sounds of the year you don’t want to miss.
By The Current

Clues and Solution
By Victor Barocas and Andrew Ries



Photos by Aaron Job

Photos by Aaron Job

What We’re Drinking
December 2018
By The Growler Staff


Mateo Mackbee of Model Citizen prepares classic dishes including roast chicken, French onion soup, and pumpkin pie // Photo by Becca Dilley

Mateo Mackbee of Model Citizen prepares classic dishes including roast chicken, French onion soup, and pumpkin pie // Photo by Becca Dilley

Minnesota Soul
A state with a sparse history of black-owned restaurants looks toward a bountiful future
By Mecca Bos

Bright Colors, Deep Flavors
In Hai Hai, chef Christina Nguyen has created an autobiographical powerhouse
By James Norton

Looking for past issues? Browse The Growler Archive.