The Growler’s Guide to Craft Beer at the Minnesota State Fair 2014

This year brings a new S’Mores Beer, the return of the popular Mini Donut Beer, and even more places to find your favorite craft beers.

State Fair Beer Map 2014 // Illustration by Jeff Nelson

State Fair Beer Map 2014 // Illustration by Jeff Nelson

The Minnesota State Fair officially began in 1859, one year after Minnesota became a state, to promote the area’s agricultural potential and encourage farmers to plant crops in Minnesota.

These days the Great-Minnesota-Get-Together is better known for the countless varieties of deep-fried desserts, food on a stick, cookies and endless milk, grilled corn, and cheese curds, than its roots as an agricultural showcase. Last year, the fair drew over 1.7 million people over twelve days and it is poised to bring even more fairgoers this year with new food and beverage items. One trend that has continued to gain momentum is the number of places to find craft beer.

In 2007, the Fair repealed the rule that all beer must be 3.2% ABV or less and opened the door to craft beer. In the past seven years more and more vendors have added new beers to their tap lists to quench fairgoers’ thirst for craft beer. The hordes of people lined up at the Ball Park Café’s for a taste of the exclusive Lift Bridge Mini Donut Beer is proof of the growing interest in craft beer.

The Growler is glad to bring you our 2014 guide to craft beer at the Minnesota State Fair to help you seek out the best new beers and learn more about the industry that is making Minnesota a top craft beer destination in the nation.

Below is a list of the most craft beer–friendly vendors and concession stands at the State Fair. If you’re interested in a comprehensive beer list and where to find them, download the full list here.

Heading to the Fair? Don’t forget to print off a copy of our handy Craft Beer at the Minnesota State Fair Map 2014. Follow The Growler at the Fair on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook—#MNFairBeer

What food should you pair all of this great craft beer? Our friends at The Heavy Table went on a State Fair food tour on Day One and have a great write-up on the new fair food.

Play The Growler‘s Minnesota State Fair Bingo for your chance to win two tickets to the Summer Beer Dabbler at Midway Stadium on September 6. Find out all the details and download your Bingo Card here.

Beer & Food

Andy’s Grille

Andy's Grille, Minnesota State Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Andy’s Grille, Minnesota State Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Andrus family is in their 28th year of running Andy’s Grille, the home of Philly cheesesteaks and a staff-wide dance to Grease Lightning. Andy’s Grille  began in The Grandstand as Andy’s Diner before moving to its current location on Chambers St. and Carnes Ave. near The Mighty Midway. The owners have added craft beer to its regular lineup of drinks to pair with their Phillies, hamburgers, and more.

Andy's Grille all-staff Grease Lightning Dance, Minnesota State Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Andy’s Grille all-staff Grease Lightning Dance, Minnesota State Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Andy's Grille Taps, Minnesota State Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Andy’s Grille Taps, Minnesota State Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Bell’s Two Hearted

Big Wood

Blue Moon

Boulevard

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Lift Bridge Farm Girl

Finnegans

Fulton Lonely Blond

Sam Adams

Sierra Nevada

Summit EPA


Ball Park Café

Ballpark Cafe at the Minnesota State Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Ballpark Cafe at the Minnesota State Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Located on Underwood St. between Carnes Ave. & Dan Patch Ave., the Ball Park Café is a family-run restaurant serving up garlic fries and pints of the good stuff. Ball Park Café’s craft beer list is one the best at the Fair—new to this year’s tap list are Bauhaus Brew Labs’ Wonderstuff Pils, Bent Paddle’s Black Ale and Bent Hop on nitro, and Burning Brothers’ Pyro. The Ball Park Café is also the only spot to get a pint of Third Street’s Jack’d Up Autumn Ale, Indeed’s Sweet Yamma Jamma, as well as the wildly popular Lift Bridge Mini Donut Beer.

Ball Park Cafe Taps, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Ball Park Cafe Taps, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Badger Hill White IPA

Bauhaus Brew Labs Wonderstuff Pils

Bent Paddle Black Ale and Bent Hop on Nitro

Burning Brothers Pyro (Gluten Free)

Excelsior Brewing Bitteschlappe

Grain Belt Premium

Indeed Brewing Sweet Yamma Jamma and Daytripper Pale Ale

Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss

Lift Bridge Farm Girl Saison, Hop Dish IPA, and Mini Donut Beer

 

Lucid Brewing Air

Steel Toe Size 7 IPA

Summit Oktoberfest and EPA

Surly Furious, Hell, and Overrated

Third Street Jack’d Up Autumn Ale


The Blue Barn

The Blue Barn, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Blue Barn, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The minds behind Blue Plate Restaurant Group’s local neighborhood restaurants including Groveland Tap, Highland Grill, and Scusi, bring you The Blue Barn. Located in the brand new West End Market, The Blue Barn’s menu combines the best elements of the Blue Plate restaurants. And, with the opening of the group’s new brewpub The Freehouse, the menu includes their hand-crafted beer. Get an order of bleu cheese and corn fritters, chicken in a waffle (fried chicken and gravy in a waffle cone), or Iron Range Pierogies to pair with The Freehouse #3 Brown Ale, #5 IPA, or a guest craft beers available on draught.

The Blue Barn, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Blue Barn, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Freehouse #3 and #5

Fulton Lonely Blonde

Grain Belt Premium

Schell’s Oktoberfest

Summit EPA


Frontier Saloon

The Frontier Bar, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Frontier Saloon, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

This Western saloon–themed bar and grill features food offerings like the Yosemite SAMwich—a sandwich with taco meat, BBQ sauce, nacho cheese, and crispy onions on a sesame seed hamburger bun. They have made significant strides to fill out their craft beer selection to wash down all that food.

The Frontier Saloon, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Frontier Saloon, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Goose Island

Lift Bridge

Omission (Gluten Removed)

Grain Belt Premium and Nordeast

Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss and Summer Shandy

Summit EPA, Octoberfest, and Sága IPA

Shiner Bock

Schell’s Goosetown

Bell’s Two Hearted

Fulton Sweet Child of Vine

 


Giggles’ Campfire Grill

Giggles' Campfire Grill, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Giggles’ Campfire Grill, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Craft lovers would be remiss to visit the fair and forgo a stop at Giggles Campfire Grill, the log cabin style restaurant and bar in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds serving up an extensive and unique list of craft beers. This year, the tap list will feature beers from Minnesota, Iowa, and more from across the nation. Plus, Tim “Giggles” Weiss, owner of Gabe’s By the Park, is starting a dessert beer arms race with the introduction of Giggles’ S’More Beer.

Giggles' S'More Beer, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Giggles’ S’More Beer, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

 

Big Wood Morning Wood

Giggles' Campfire Grill Beer List on Day One, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Giggles’ Campfire Grill Beer List on Day One, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Blue Moon Brash Cold Ass Honky

Brau Brothers Brooklyn Lager

Clown Shoes Galactica IPA and Hoppy Feet

Evil Twin Hipster Ale

Finnegans

Flat Earth Cygnus X-1 Porter, Angry Planet Pale Ale, Element 115 Lager

Fulton Sweet Child of Vine

Grain Belt Premium and Nordeast

Hamm’s

Keweenaw Widow Maker

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Lift Bridge Farm Girl

Millstream Oktoberfest, German Pilsner

Omission (Gluten Removed)

Summit EPA, Oktoberfest, Sága IPA

Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA


Land of the 10,000 Beers presented by the MN Craft Brewers Guild

Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, Land of 10,000 Beers, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, Land of 10,000 Beers, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild returns to the fair with the Land of 10,000 Beers, the penultimate craft beer exhibit at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. The exhibit, located in the Agriculture/Horticulture Building on the corner of Underwood St. and Judson Ave., celebrates the state’s vibrant craft brewing industry and features: More than 130 different beers available during the fair from almost 35 breweries across the state; Firkin Fridays and Rare Flights on weekends; educational programming and posters that inform fair-goers about all things craft beer; and beer art created by local artists, the Land of 10,000 beers. There will be four “style” flights pouring throughout the fair: Hoppy, Dark, Light and Belgian. There will also be two “grab bag” flights with an ever-changing rotation of beers from Minnesota breweries. Purchase a flight of Minnesota craft beer and peruse the breweriana displays chronicling the state’s brewing history, learn more about the brewing process, and find out the economic impact of the beer you’re sipping on with the informational displays.

Breweries pouring at Land of 10,000 Beers

Flight at Land of 10,000 Beers, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Flight at Land of 10,000 Beers, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

612Brew

August Schell Brewing Co.

Badger Hill Brewing Co.

Bang Brewing Co.

Bauhaus Brew Labs

Bent Brewstillery

Bent Paddle Brewing Co.

Big Wood Brewery

Boom Island Brewing Co.

Brau Brothers Brewing Co.

Burning Brothers Brewing Co.

Castle Danger Brewery

Dangerous Man Brewing Co.

ENKI Brewing

Excelsior Brewing Co.

FINNEGANS

Flat Earth Brewing Co.

Fulton Brewing

HammerHeart Brewing Co.

Indeed Brewing Co.

Jack Pine Brewery

Lift Bridge Brewing Co.

Lucid Brewing Co.

Mankato Brewery

NorthGate Brewing

Steel Toe Brewing

Summit Brewing

Surly Brewing Co.

Third Street Brewhouse

Tin Whiskers Brewing Co.

Vine Park Brewing Co.


LuLu’s Public House

LuLu's Public House, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

LuLu’s Public House, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Located in the brand new West End Market, LuLu’s Public House is the first and only rooftop patio in the Minnesota State Fair. Some of the new food options LuLu’s is bringing to the Fair are: Cajun steak bites, Chicken Cajun bites, Macaroni on a Stick, the Breakfast Juicy Lulu, Lobster on a stick, Walleye tacos, and Prime Rib tacos. The beer list features Schell’s and Summit, plus a handful of old school beer brands such as Hamm’s, Old Milwaukee, and Old Style. Okay, they’re not craft—but they are a blast from the brewing past.

LuLu's Public House, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

LuLu’s Public House, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Grain Belt

Hamm’s

Illusive Traveler Shandy

Old Milwaukee

Old Style

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Schell’s Arminius IPL, Goosetown Gose, Oktoberfest, and Schell Schocked Radler

Summit EPA


Mancini’s al Fresco

Mancini's al Fresco, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Mancini’s al Fresco, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Mancini’s al Fresco, the Fair iteration of the revered St. Paul institution, is in its second year of bringing Italian flavors and the famous Mancini’s steaks to fairgoers. Back again are the popular porketta pig wings and grilled steak sandwich. Be sure to order up this year’s new dessert, Summit Oatmeal Stout Gelato.

Mancini's al Fresco Beer Gelato, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Mancini’s al Fresco Beer Gelato, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Grain Belt Premium and Nordeast

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

New Grist (Gluten Free)

Schell’s Firebrick

Summit EPA, Sága IPA, Oktoberfest, and Oatmeal Stout Gelato


O’Gara’s at the Fair

O'Gara's at the Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

O’Gara’s at the Fair // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

O’Gara’s Bar & Grill, the classic St. Paul establishment, brought an Irish flair to the fair back in 2002 and moved into the building just inside the main entrance on Snelling Ave back in 2010. In 2011, they created the O’Gara’s at the Fair Paddyo for outdoor dining and drinking, and each year they have added more creative dishes and beers. Settle up at the bar for a pint of the black stuff and a basket of their new pretzel curds, and enjoy live Irish music.

O'Gara's at the Fair, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

O’Gara’s at the Fair, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

O'Gara's at the Fair 2013 Tap List // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

O’Gara’s at the Fair 2013 Tap List // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Blue Moon

Burning Brothers Pyro (Gluten Free)

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed

Guinness Stout

Harp Lager

Finnegans

Grain Belt Premium and Nordeast

Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss

Lift Bridge Getaway Pils

Schell’s Oktoberfest and Schell Shocked Radler

Smithwick’s

Summit EPA and Sága IPA


Music and Beer

The Grandstand

The Grandstand, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Grandstand, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Grandstand features the biggest live music acts at the Fair. Get your tickets today for Aretha Franklin, Toby Keith, Linkin Park, Kid Rock, Tim McGraw, or Journey with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Don’t forget about 89.3 The Current’s Music On-A-Stick concert featuring Brother Ali, Doomtree, Bob Mould, Har Mar Superstar, Cloud Cult, and The Cactus Blossoms. Pair all that music with one of the many craft beers available at the concessions stand in The Grandstand.

Get the full music list here.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed

Fulton Sweet Child of Vine

Finnegans

Grain Belt Premium and Nordeast

Indeed

Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss, Summer Shandy, and Oktoberfest

Lift Bridge Getaway Pilsner

Mankato Organ Grinder

Schell’s Arminius IPL

Summit EPA


Leinie Lodge

Leinie Lodge, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Leinie Lodge, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Looking for great live music for free? Look no further than the ever popular Leinie Lodge Bandshell. The music offerings are eclectic and span all different music genres—all of which are perfect for a warm summer night in Minnesota. Grab a few pints of Leinie’s at the Leinie Lodge beer booth and enjoy. View the full music lineup here.

Leinie Lodge, Minnesota State Fair 2014

Summer Shandy

Orange Shandy

Honey Weiss

Oktoberfest

Original


Schell’s Stage

Schell's Booth, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Schell’s Booth, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Schell’s Stage in the West End Market will play host to such local bands as Cash’d Out, Chastity Brown, White Iron Band, and 4onthefloor. The best part? It’s all free! Stop by the Schell’s beer stand for the best variety of Schell’s beers, including beers with frozen foam. Check out the full music lineup here.

The Schell's Stage, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Schell’s Stage, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Schell's Booth, Minnesota State Fair 2014Grain Belt

Blueberry

Light

Nordeast

Premium

Schell’s

Arminius IPL

Black and Blue with frozen foam

Blueberry with frozen foam

Goosetown Gose

Oktoberfest

Schell Shocked Radler


Shanghaied Henri’s

Shanghaied Henri's // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Shanghaied Henri’s // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The creators of the Summit On A Stick booth at the International Bazaar, Shanghaied Henri’s bring craft drinkers exclusive Summit brews. Last year Brewer Jeff Williamson crafted the recipe for Another IPA and this year, Summit brewer Gabe Smoley takes the reins with The Villain Black Lager, a hybrid schwarzbier-style using Kölsh yeast that takes its name from the supporters of Aston Villa Football Club.

Shanghaied Henri’s and the Summit on a Stick conveniently sit adjacent the Summit Stage at the International Bazaar, which will play host to music acts including Jack Brass Band, GB Leighton, Sonny Knight & The Lakers, and The Belfast Cowboys. Grab a beer and enjoy the tunes.

Summit on a Stick Booth

Summit On A Stick, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Summit On A Stick, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

The Villain Black Lager

Union #3 Southern Cape

Oatmeal Stout on nitro

Horizon Red IPA

EPA

Oktoberfest

Sága IPA

Pilsener

Shanghaied Henri’s

Shanghaied Henri's, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Shanghaied Henri’s, Minnesota State Fair 2014 // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Blue Moon

Guinness Stout

Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss

Old Speckeled Hen

Omission (Gluten Removed)

Summit EPA, Oktoberfest, and Sága IPA


More Beer!

Minnesota State Fair Home Brew Competition

Presented by Primary Fermenters Brewers and Vintners of Minnesota

Summit Beer Locator

Schell’s Beer Locator

 
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Brian Kaufenberg is the editor-in-chief of The Growler Magazine.

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