The Growler: Issue 77 – March 2020 – Legendary


egends fascinate and entertain as stories, but deep down at their core, they also offer us space to question what it is we value and to what we ought to aspire. They leave us pondering what, if any, truths exist eternally and how legends can evolve through time to take on new meaning

This month, our Legendary issue contains stories of momentous and under-appreciated historical figures, weaves fictional tales of mythical figures in the modern world, and gives readers a taste of famed food and drink. 

In a striking historical profile, writer Joel Hoekstra presents the story of James Thompson, a man who was brought to Fort Snelling as a slave, was freed, and went on to help build the early settlement of St. Paul. Growler editor Lauren Sauer interviews cover artist Marlena Myles, whose arresting works seek to preserve indigenous history and culture in much the same way Dakota musician, author, and activist Zitkála-Šá—whom Myles brings to life on this month’s cover—did at the turn of the 20th century. Writer Terry Horstman brings back to the summer of ‘51 to relive the 38 days when baseball demigod Willie Mays donned a Minneapolis Miller uniform before he was called up to the Majors and became one of the greatest players of all time. 

In the realm of the fantastic, fiction writers John Jodzio, Peter Hajinian, and The Growler’s James Norton spin three original short stories of mythical beings colliding with life in the 21st century. And writer David Scheller enters the St. Paul laboratory of movie makeup artist Crist Ballas, who continues to handcraft ghastly visages and oddities for the big screen in an increasingly digital age of filmmaking. 

In food and drink, food editor James Norton interviews master of meat Rick Reams, whose knowledge of sausage-making is renown even in Germany, and author Doug Hoverson creates the ultimate 12-pack of the most important beers in Wisconsin brewing history. In our latest Taste Test, The Growler staff gave our stomachs a workout in search of the Platonic ideal of a classic raised glazed doughnut in the Twin Cities. 

Let these stories sweep you up and inspire you to contemplate what legends you hold dear.

Brian Kaufenberg



The Most Important Beers in Wisconsin Brewing History
A 12-Pack of Leaders & Legends
By Doug Hoverson

Heroes Get Remembered, But Legends Never Die 
By Brit Tracy

The (Un)true Story of the Bloody Mary
By Zachary Sapato

What We’re Drinking
March 2020
By The Growler Staff


Craft Culture: Crist Ballas
The Mad Scientist of St. Paul
By David Sheller

Breathing new life into Native legends with Marlena Myles
Artist Profile: Marlena Myles
By Eli Radtke

Up From Slavery
How early settler James Thompson became a pillar of St. Paul
By Joel Hoekstra

Mythical Stories for the Modern Age
By Growler Writers

Ladies First
How Desdamona and Maria Isa set the stage for women in Minnesota’s hip-hop scene
By Colleen Cowie, The Current

38 Days of Mays
On his last stop before the big leagues, the Say Hey Kid spent five legendary weeks as a Minneapolis Miller
By Terry Horstman

Growler Crossword
This month: “Battle Lines”
By Andrew J. Ries and Victor Barocas


Meat Master
With hundreds of awards (and kudos from Germany), Rick Reams is crafting world-class food in Hudson, Wisconsin, and St. Paul
By James Norton

In the Loop
The new North Loop Galley is at the forefront of bleeding-edge dining trends—and that’s a good thing
By James Norton

The Taste Test
Raised-Glazed Donuts
By John Garland

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