The Growler: Issue 74 – December 2019 – Kind-of-a-Big-Deal 2019

The Growler Issue 74 cover art // Art by Leslie Olson


Editors live most of our working lives in the tunnel-visioned world of minute line edits and the subtleties of grammar and syntax. It can sometimes be hard to pull back and find a breath between deadlines to fully assess the trajectory and success of our publications. As we send out the 74th issue of The Growler Magazine into the world, I am taking time to look back on this past year to measure all that we’ve accomplished and created. 

The responsibility of the editor-in-chief is to act as the compass rose for the magazine, setting the course to help guide our readers farther down the paths they want to travel. One of my main objectives for 2019 was to match our drinks coverage with the advancing knowledge and interest of our craft beer-, spirits-, cider-, and wine-drinking readership. We published several articles—including essays from beer industry experts on the state and future of craft beer, a deep dive on the East Asian spirits shochu and baijiu, and revealing interviews with brewery owners owning up to past mistakes—that waded into deeper waters in those areas. We started the monthly Wine Time column to give readers useful information on navigating the sometimes opaque world of wine. We continued our mission to document every brewery, cidery, and distillery opening in our Now Open (Or Damn Close) column. And we launched The Growler’s first event series, the blind tasting beer festival, Unlabeled. 

Another goal of 2019 was to build on the superb restaurant reviews and food writing captained by food editor James Norton by building dining resources for our readers. We launched Order Up!, a bi-weekly round-up of the most notable newly opened and closed restaurants in the state. We added new locations to the interactive Minnesota Taco Atlas, a map pinpointing 50 taquerias around the Twin Cities serving serious tacos. We shared Whirlwind Tours of several dining scenes in the Upper Midwest for travelers to use as guides on their road trips. And we highlighted some of the best dishes served in the metro area through our Bite of the Week column.

Of course, none of this content would be created without the supremely talented and dedicated editorial staff of The Growler, who conceive the ideas and polish the articles that fill our pages, and the creativity of our group of contributing writers, photographers, and artists that bring those ideas to life. It’s truly an honor to work with these individuals and to be able to present our stories to you, our dedicated readership. We look forward to serving you with even more great stories in 2020.

Brian Kaufenberg


2019 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners

These are the artists exploring and celebrating life, the restaurants with sterling hospitality and unforgettable food, the breweries and bars that help to define drinking and socializing in the Upper Midwest and more.

By The Growler Magazine and Readers


2019 Year in Review: Beer, Cider, and…Seltzer
By Brian Kaufenberg

2019 Year in Review: Wine & Spirits
By John Garland

Distiller Profile Ralf Loeffelholz
And the opening of Dampfwerk Distillery’s cocktail room
By Isabelle Wattenberg

What We’re Drinking
December 2019
By The Growler Staff


2019 Year in Review: Food
By James Norton

Game Changer
Chef Eric Halverson’s use of North Country products is changing food culture in Grand Rapids
By James Norton


2019 Year in Review: Minnesota’s Arts and Culture Scene
Respecting space with Leslie Olson
By Lauren Sauer

Artist Profile
Respecting space with Leslie Olson
By Lauren Sauer

Turn It Up
10 local albums from 2019 that are must-adds to your queue
By The Current Staff

Growler Crossword
This month: “Raise Your Hand”
By Andrew J. Ries and Victor Barocas

Looking for past issues? Browse The Growler Archive.

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