Eric's Beer Blog

My online journal for beer (and other drinks) tasting, brewing, tourism, and general musings.

My Photo
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Twin Cities Beer

It's been a long time since I last posted on this blog.... but there has been a lot happening lately, and some of it even relates to beer.

Since moving to St. Paul, I've been steadily sampling the multitude of beer newly available to me. The excellent beer culture here in the Twin Cities is (I kid you not) one of the reasons we chose to live here. Since moving here, I've discovered more about the beer scene, and all that I've found out has confirmed my favorable beer opinion about the Cities.


On one of our first days here, we had lunch and drank some beer at the Muddy Pig (website apparently coming soon). This is a fine beer bar, with a lovely tap list and a good bottle list too. I didn't manage to steal a copy of the list, and it's been several days now, so of course I've forgotten what they had. I can't even remember what I had... ugh.

Within a week or so of moving, we also made our first trip as residents to the famous Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, an amazing brewpub near downtown Minneapolis. I love this place. Their beer is incredible, especially the much-lauded Masala Mama IPA (the #1 American IPA on Beer Advocate). They also have a great selection, with 5 or so regulars (including the IPA) and 3 or so seasonals. Oh, and a couple of cask beers. We happened to go on a Tuesday night. Their special on that night is that every time you order a pint, you get a chance to win a free growler of your choice of beer. On my second pint, I won! I took home a growler of their Wee Heavy seasonal, a yummy high alcohol treat. Warms you up on those cold Minnesota nights... We'll be back to this place, many, many times.

We've also been to St. Paul's downtown brewpub, Great Waters. It was better than I remembered from previous trips. But next time, we won't go on a night the Minnesota Wild (our NHL team) are playing at home, or at least we'll go after the game has started...

I've been to a couple of liquor stores so far (since Minnesota does not allow alcohol sales in grocery stores) and bought some local beer. I knew about St. Paul's Summit Brewery, and have enjoyed some more of their beer, but I have only recently gotten to know Surly Brewing. It's located just outside the Twin Cities and is available on tap in lots of local bars, and in big cans. Yep, cans. I love it. They have two main beers, Furious, a well-hopped IPA, and Bender, a nice malty brown ale.

Today, I was at another Twin Cities beer bar, the Happy Gnome, and they had Surly One on draft. This is Surly's first anniversary beer. It's a strong lager (9 %) with candy sugar. Very dark, very sweet, raisins and fruit flavors, very very good. Speaking of very good, the Gnome's beer list is one of the best I've seen. Great variety, lots of local and regional stuff, seasonal... just about perfect. My only complaint is that my beer was rather too cold. When you're serving beer that appeals to beer nerds, you don't need to serve it at Bud temperatures. I'm just sayin'.

And yesterday I volunteered to help out at the Upper Mississippi Mash-Out, a huge homebrew competition sponsored by the Cities' two homebrew clubs, the Minnesota Home Brewers Association and the St. Paul Homebrewers Club. There were over 900 entries in the competition. Yikes. Next year I hope to enter and to be a judge.

That's my first 10 days of beer drinking in the Twin Cities in a nutshell.