A Trip North to Minny

minnyA weekend guys trip that has happened in a few years was back on as a group of friends and myself decided to check out Target Field and its surroundings. We try to hit a new stadium when we go but little did I know that selecting Minneapolis and Target Field would open up the what wondrous wonderland of beer this state has!

fulton brewingGetting up there early Friday let us hit up Fulton Brewing Company (www.fultonbeer.com) which is only a few blocks from the stadium. A very cool atmosphere with indoor/outdoor seating and tonight an excellent food truck with some great tacos. For brews, I started with the Sweet Child of Vine, an IPA with a good sized malt backbone. A tasty brew and a good way to start the trip. Following that I went with The Expat, a spicy saison that is brewed with a bunch of rye. A tasty and refreshing brew. Fulton was a great start and a very cool place that I recommend hitting up if you’re in the area.

Target Field at last! What a beautiful stadium folks. Even though I’m a Dodger fan it sure is fun hitting different stadiums and Target Field would be right up there with one of the nicest I’ve been to. The pick for beer here was pretty easy, a lot of Surly around so why not do what the locals do and grab a Furious or 3. Pairs well with the Walleye or foot long hot dog. I didn’t venture out too much to look for other brews but I did see a couple Fulton Brewing taps as well. Beautiful place, will visit again!

Bar hopping after turned a bit fuzzy so I’ll skip the rest of Friday night so we will head right into the Saturday festivities. Woke up a bit groggy but Surly was looming on the horizon. A cup of coffee, a few tylenol, a greasy breakfast, and I was good to go. Using Uber is recommended as well, save you a dime or two.

photo 1 (1)Upon entering the Surly (www.surlybrewing.com) compound I was blown away by its appearance. It looks like a glorious German Beer Hall on the inside and the outside looks like the greatest tailgating party with people drinking some of the greatest beer! photo 1Seriously, for beer fans, this is a must visit. A bit of a wait but well worth it to get a table. I got my Todd the Axeman so I didn’t care where I sat but our table was ready and I was ready to pig out. The menu was terrific. When I see charcuterie on the menu, I sold. House made sausages and pates, and low and behold, a childhood favorite, BRAUNSCHWEIGER! The Axeman was the perfect cure for a little hangover so I decided to order another along with the schweiger but I also saw Hog Frites. Pig + Fries + cheese = heaven. Why the hell not? Order that too, buddy got some lamb sausages and we are good to go. Surly beer is loved as well as it should, but having a restaurant of this size to go along with your brewery YOU MUST HAVE TERRIFIC FOOD! And they come photo 3 (2)through. Some of the best I’ve ever had. The hog frites stole my heart and those alone are worth the trip up north, Fries topped with pulled pork, giardiniera, cilantro, garlic, photo 4 (1)and a pepper jack cheese sauce! YES! Home run meal! We took the beer tour and spoke to a few employees which got us another free drink, another Axeman. Got to taste fresh Overrated, Coffee Bender, Hell, which were all terrific, and then chilled on the lawn watching people play bags. An ideal afternoon was had, one of my favorite beer experiences of all time.

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After that we had to hit a few more breweries. We started with Dangerous Man dangerous manbrewing. (www.dangerousmanbrewing.com) Dangerous Man is located in NE Minny, and you can only get their beers at their taproom. I was recommend this place by many Twitter friends and from the fine folks at Benz. The recommended beer was their Peanut Butter porter. Luckily they had it on regular draft and nitro. I was thinking this beer was going to be too sweet but it ended up being one of the best beers of the trip. More nutty than sweet to go with the chocolate, smoky porter base. I loved it! I loved it so much I had another glass. Dangerous Man is in a very unique/old style neighborhood and with a food truck parked outside to don’t have to go too far. I also had a few tasters of their IPA which was outstanding. Highly recommend!!

photo 3Our last brewery stop of the day was Indeed Brewing Company (www.indeedbrewing.com). This was another brewery that came highly recommended. Every brewery we visited was heavily populated so you know these guys are doing things right. The best part of Indeed aside from the beer was…..wait for it….. A SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE! YES! GAME ON! Note to future breweries/pubs/restaurants: GET A SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE! Since it was the end of the night I decided to keep it lighter with the brews and went with their Shenanigans Summer Ale. I noticed they had a Mojito shenanigans as part of their “Derailed Series” and tried that as well. A bit too mouthwashy for me but the regular summer was terrific. A few games of shuffleboard (won by yours truly and sLim) and a couple of brews and it was time to call it. Actually we ended up going for a late bite to eat but again, things got a bit fuzzy.

Overall, an A+ trip. Really recommend the trek north. The amount of breweries is stunning. I love that different neighborhoods have breweries somewhere on one of their streets and THEY ARE BOOMING with business. The recipe seems simple enough I guess: good beer + good food + good environment = JACKPOT!

Todd the Axeman coming to cans in July, Guinness Nitro IPA, New Belgium Hop Tart

axemanA few news tidbits to start the week. I spent the weekend in Minneapolis and had my first visit up to Surly Brewing. Let me say that this place blew me away. The food, the staff, and of course… the beer were top notch and I’ll post more on this visit and all other other breweries I visited while in Minny. I talked to a number of staff members and was told that Todd the Axeman will be canned in July, but they couldn’t tell me whether we would see it in Iowa or if it was just a Minnesota release. Stay tuned for more info on this but if we can get Todd in cans in Iowa, this will be one happy beer drinker.

The 2nd bit of news is that Guinness will be releasing a canned Nitro IPA for U.S. consumers. I still really enjoy a pint or 2 of Guinnesss but it might take some persuading for me to purchase this brew. I’m not a nitro pale/IPA fan but who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy it.

hop tartAnd last but not least New Belgium Hop Tart is the latest offering from the Hop Kitchen series. This beer uses pale malt with the addition of Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, and an experimental hop to give it that fruit flavor. It checks in at 5% ABV, here’s more from the folks at New Belgium:

There’s quite a lot of cool stuff to pull out of Hop Tart, but you’re pretty busy, so I’ll distill it down to three simple points:

  • Like Snapshot, Hop Tart undergoes lactic fermentation in a stainless steel tank, using a single lactobacillus strain we pulled from our malt and propagated in our lab.
  • The beer’s malt bill includes one of our new favorite varieties: Colorado Belgian-style Pale Malt, made locally by the Colorado Malting Co.—it’s super juicy and sweet.
  • We’re really excited to combine the lemony lacto flavors with über-fruity hop varieties: Hop Tart’s brewed with the likes of Cascade and Mandarina Bavaria, and dry-hopped with Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin and Experimental Hop 522. The result is a tropical bomb with a clean, tart bite in the back.

While Hop Tart stems from a collaboration we did with Bluejacket before our D.C. Tour de Fat in 2014, we’ve toyed with hoppy sours for a while now. Our popular dry-hoppedLips of Faith Le Terroir is a favorite both in and out of the brewery (that one’s 100-percent barrel aged in our foeders), while our brewers have experimented with dry-hopped Berliners and the like on very small scales. We thought it was time to bring our newest iteration of the hoppy sour to draft accounts throughout our distribution because, well, is there anything more magnetic right now than the idea of a sour ale dry-hopped with some of the coolest, trendiest hops around? (hint: no)

So, check out the video above, which features our one of the Hop Kitchen brewers Matty Gilliland diving into the beer, and then stay tuned as we gear up for the official launch of this awesome beer June 15.

Have beer news? Send it my way!