Category Archives: MNCraftBeer

Beer On Sunday… Why Not?

It’s nothing new – the old “blue laws” are up for debate again this legislative session.

The repeal on the prohibition of Sunday Liquor Sales will be discussed this Wednesday at 2:30 at a hearing in the House Commerce Committee – which is open to the public. This outdated law has Minnesota on an Island – surrounded by bastions of Sunday liquor-buying states. Minnesota, considered to be quite progressive, is one of 12 states in the nation that is being left behind with no access to Sunday liquor sales, save across the river in Wisconsin – but it may be for a reason other than you might think.

Polls over the past half-decade have shown a majority of Minnesotans are in favor of legalizing Sunday Liquor sales. One county recently polled showed an astonishing 84% in support of the repeal of the ban on Sunday sales. With the public firmly behind the repeal, you may predict that the leading politicians in the state must be at odds; after all we have seen the repeal legislation come and go numerous times over the past few years without successfully passing.  However, with bipartisan support beginning with Governor Dayton (D), House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R), and an astounding 91% of the legislature (of those who responded to a Fall 2014 survey) in support of the repeal of the ban, circumstances beg the question – who doesn’t support the repeal of this “blue law” and legalization of Sunday Liquor Sales? In short, special interest lobbying groups on behalf of liquor retailer associations who claim the added expense of being open another day during the week would hurt their bottom line.

However, case studies from the legalization of Sunday sales in other states (Washington and Colorado) have not only shown an increase in tax revenue but that the extra day, and incurred cost of having the stores open, does not result in a net loss for the stores, or at a loss of Saturday or Monday sales. Meaning, sales have shown to increase overall when liquor stores open a 7th day of the week. Furthermore, mandates requiring liquor stores to be open a 7th day are not apart of the proposal and such a enforcement would not exist.

According to a local advocacy group (, “Minnesota would generate a projected $10.8 to $15.1 million in new tax revenues from Sunday sale of beverage alcohol.”

Finally, to have a government regulate competition on behalf of an industry seems to be an overreach in the least. Not to mention to have that unpopular regulation propped up at the behest of special interest lobbyists that are in the minority of both public and political opinion.

So what practical action can you take to let your voice be heard and make the repeal on the ban of Sunday Sales a reality?

3 simple ways you can let your voice be heard by the Minnesota legislature:

Be a bringer of joy this day. As always, cheers to you for reading me – check out more TallPour beer geekery at:


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Special thanks to Meghan Lewis for the last minute editorial assistance.


612Brew – Happy 1 Year Anniversary

The first thing you notice when you enter 612Brew (other than the fact it is one of the largest taprooms in the Twin Cities) is the vivaciously colorful Adam Turman mural. It leaps out at you and lets you know, without question, what this brewery is about. The mural features a woman in a checkered diamond skirt holding a 612Brew labeled pint (presumably the Six American Pale Ale – brewer Robert Kasak’s favorite beer) standing in front of a back drop of the Minneapolis skyline and Stone Arch Bridge in the foreground. She stands across from a bike which hosts a 612Brew growler in its basket.

612 Adam Turman mural

As should be obvious by the name, 612Brew is all about Minneapolis. The 612 crew view their brewery as apart of the Minneapolis community and they are a Minneapolis brewery through and through, with the genesis of all of Robert Kasak’s recipes continually being brewed in Minneapolis. As anyone who is familiar with the Twin Cities and Minneapolis in particular knows, there is a huge bicycle community. Not so coincidentally, a very large portion of this community is ever so much supportive and engrained in the local craft scene.

Robert began home brewing back in 2005. After a while with kits, he began to develop his own recipes. With friends Ryan Libby and Adit Kalra they moved to the former’s garage and with Kasak’s recipes they knew they had something special. Opening just a year ago to the day (Feb. 13), 612Brew has been in the works for quite a number of years. Through a couple of early line-up changes, t-shirt sales (and questions about what the hell 612Brew actually was) and a whole lot of hype dating back to mid 2010, the co-founders’ patience has paid off. Robert Kasak (brewer), Ryan Libby (marketing), Adit Kalra (President – business) and Jamey Rossbach (taproom manager) make up the unique personalities that make this very brewery work.

612 Crew(Ryan, Robert, Jamey & Adit – image from

612Brew resides as the anchor tenant at the historic Broadway building located at the Northeast corner of Central and Broadway. As the physical gateway to the Northeast Arts District, they also act as the gateway to their compatriot breweries in the Northeast Brewers District located nearby: Dangerous Man Brewing, Indeed Brewing, and newly opened Sociable Cider works (who all host taprooms) and Northgate Brewing (growlers only – but taproom Spring 2014), as well as soon-to-open Fair State Brewing Cooperative (Spring 2014)*.

The Broadway building formerly housed a paper supply and mattress company; it now also features Spyhouse Coffee where you can drink an altogether different brew of artisanal coffee before trying 612’s craft offering on Saturday tours. The structure of the building gives 612’s taproom a unique if not exuberantly overwhelming (in a good way) feel. With 18ft. ceilings, numerous timber columns and polished concrete floors 612 creates a vibrant and open feel with viewing access to the entire brewing process. The taproom also offers unique features, from bowling alley lane table tops (from a bowling alley in Iowa) to woodwork lining on the bar from a 19th century pub in Chicago to the unbelievable spacious patio area – where in the summer, you can hear local musical acts as well as feast on local cuisine from Twin Cities food trucks. 612 Brew offers a truly unique experience.

612brewery-image2(The Broadway building – image from

With a recent expansion, 612Brew will be able to add new beers to their line-up and already have their next year round brew in mind. Gateway Park a pre-prohibition lager will require additional time to cold ferment (as lagers do) and one of the new tanks will be dedicated to this year round offering. Gateway Park will be added to other mainstays at the taproom: SIX (American Pale), Rated-R (Rye IPA) as well as the exclusive taproom only Zero Hour (aggressively hopped Black Ale). They will also be tapping Payback – an Oatmeal Porter on Feb. 13th (1 year anniversary) that is a whopping 7.5% ABV. They also sell growlers at their taproom. Full list of taproom and hibernating beers:

612 expansion(new fermenters – image from

Make your way to the taproom today Feb. 13th:

Feb. 13th, 4-5pm – FREE BEER;  special give aways;  Special edition 1 Yr Anniversary shirts designed by Adam Turman, printed by CHUX Printing. Exclusive release of Payback – Oatmeal Porter 7.5% ABV.

Taproom Hours:

  • Wednesday: 4 – 10 pm
  • Thursday: 4 – 10 pm
  • Friday: 2:30 – Midnight
  • Saturday: Noon – Midnight
945 Broadway St NE Minneapolis, MN 55413

Wishing 612Brew a very happy 1st birthday!

Thanks to all of you for reading me. More beer geekery?…really? @TallPour or



*Editors’ note – Holy crap, that’s a lot of new breweries.

Entering the Gate

On a frigid winter afternoon I found myself driving northward to the North side of Northeast Minneapolis in search of the somewhat elusive Northgate Brewing. Tucked away in the corner of a fenced-in industrial park I arrived without incident to the small but emerging brewery on my first try – and judging by the button I received upon arrival which read, “I FOUND IT!”, this was quite a feat.


Walking into what is little more than a garage, it is amazing to see that Northgate has occupied this space just over a year and already have plans for an expansion. Somewhat bucking the trend of their Nordeast counterparts (612Brew, Indeed & Dangerous Man) they started as a production brewery choosing to focus on kegs in near-by restaurants and on-site growler sales instead of opening a taproom. That however, is also changing – head brewer Tuck Carruthers informed me that they will be moving to a new space (783 Harding Street NE in Minneapolis) that will be nearly 10 times larger than their current location. This will allow for increased production (20 Barrel brew house) and host a 1500 sq. ft. taproom. They are targeting a summer open.


(Adam, Todd & Tuck – image from

Co-founders Adam Sjogren and Todd Slininger opened Northgate a little over a year ago, debuting at Grumpy’s NE and differentiated themselves by focusing on British Style session ales. A session beer has a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) and needs to be fresher and thus closer to the source. Northgate’s offerings include: Wall’s End (Year round – English Brown), Maggie’s Leap (seasonal – English Sweet Stout), Parapet ESB as well as a spring and summer seasonal, but even their lineup is growing. Their one year anniversary beer is a Wee Heavy (Scotch Ale) aptly named, Fiddle Smasher – as it comes in a 7% ABV (higher than any other Northgate brew) and is their first bottled beer. Now available in 22oz. bombers. Retail locations found:

Northgate Fiddle Smasher

(image from Ale Jail Twitter – @alejail)

Northgate will also be featured in the most recent Tuned brew. Tuned teams together local breweries and artists. Buy local beer and get a free downloadable song of a local artist. Northgate is currently bottling their Tuned brew, a Chocolate Cherry Porter. Rogue Valley is the featured artist:


(image from

Northgate growler sales Saturdays 1-5pm.

@NorthgateBrew | | 612-234-1056 | 3134 California St NE Mpls, MN 55418

Stay tuned – when the Gate opens on their new taproom this summer, another entry will follow.

Here’s to you for reading me. Your support and encouragement is sincerely appreciated – join me on my next visit. Follow me on my new Facebook page: and on the twitters @TallPour for more preposterous beer geekery.



There and back again… a journey into beer.

Happy New Year Minnesota craft breweries, imbibers and of course to all of the family, friends and others who read and support my blog, TallPour.

I am excited to announce that in 2014 I will be embarking on a lofty beer expedition. With the explosion of new breweries over the past few years, Minnesota has become one of the premier locales in the nation to visit and imbibe high quality craft brew. In 2013 alone, we saw the Twin Cities expand, adding: 612Brew, Bad Weather, Bang, Bent Brewstillery, Enki, Hammerheart, Lake Monster, Northgate, Sociable Cider Werks; as well as greater Minnesota adding: Bent Paddle (Duluth), Junkyard (Moorehead), Hayes Public House (Buffalo), Wenonah (Goodview); with Burning Brothers, Day Block, Fair State, Tin Whiskers, Urban Growler and more all on the horizon in 2014. With this boom in full assault, it behooves someone to venture forth and expose the masses to the influx of these sudsy entrepreneurs. This undertaking promises to be a long and arduous one, full of countless hours – touring, tasting and chatting with brewers. Alas, with great sacrifice comes great reward – I hope to share in these benefits with you.

My goal is to expose as many people as possible to the vast experience that is beer in Minnesota. There is something for everyone and my aim will be beer drinkers of all levels (yes and most importantly the non-beer and/or light domestic beer drinkers). I will visit these bastions of beer progress, write a post on my experience and highlight some of uniqueness of that brewery. This journey will be an interactive one. While it certainly will not be feasible to make an event out of every visit, I would like to challenge my family, friends and readers to join me. I will be creating a facebook page in addition to chronicling my journey on my blog (, where you can follow and find out where I will be and join me. As is per usual, I will be updating the Twitters (@TallPour) with random beer geekary and pictures from my visits.

Here’s to you joining me for a tall pour on my Beer Trek in 2014.

“It’s a dangerous business, going out of your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to”… join me and be apart of the journey!



Destination Brau

On a recent trip to the ‘great plains’ of southwestern Minnesota – one which was taken with the intention of running a 5K and turned into a weekend of paninos, burgers and – to my great surprise and elation – a trip down craft beer memory lane. In a college town (SMSU) known for it’s entrepreneurial ice cream business (Schwan’s) as much as the stench that can sometime emanate from the corn processing plant, the town will now be known as the home of one of Minnesota’s veteran breweries, the expanding but small at heart Brau Brothers Brewing Co. As it happened, a college buddy knows Trevor Brau (one of the brothers – obviously) and we were able to take a personal tour.


Walking into the former Runnings building, I had no idea what to expect. My eyes were drawn directly to a large deep red antique fire engine, Old #56 from Lucan – which will now serve the brothers as their bar and tap area. The 37,000 square foot facility will house more fermenters and will allow the brewery to brew specialty beers for the taproom. The space will also feature soda and will have a restaurant to boot (thanks to the so-called ‘Surly Bill’) – with a menu created by head brewer Dustin Brau. As we walked the brewery grounds – with construction ongoing – I realized how innovative this family was. The Braus still utilize land in Lucan to grow hops to be used in their fresh-hopped 100 Yard Dash – which they process on a conveyer system they created using kegs and other pullies. Later on the tour, while sipping on Brau’s White Cap (Crystal Wit beer) and enjoying the hop aroma filled cooler, I found out the previous brewery was barely the size of the room I now found myself freezing in. With seven times the space, the brewery also has a section for all sorts of swag below a glowing neon Brau Brothers sign.

Trevor Brau and I (Tall)

Trevor Brau and I (Tall)

Brau Brothers Brewing has come a long way since they started in nearby Lucan (pop. 220) in 1998 as a brewpub (BrauHaus) and expanded to a production brewery in 2006. Beyond having great beer, the Braus hold a special place in my heart. My journey into craft beer, as with many beer geeks, started with Sam Adams – the readily available, extremely successful Jim Koch-led brewery out of Boston, Mass. But my introduction into the Minnesota craft scene some 8+ years ago began with Brau Brothers Scotch Ale and Cream Stout (now retired and refashioned under Bancreagie & MooJoos, respectively) – these beers were a revelation of high quality beer, made locally and drank locally by the students at SMSU – including me.


The Brau Brothers new restaurant-brewery-taproom opened October 4th(soft opening). Until I am able to emote in person the thanks they deserve – CHEERS – wishing Brau Brothers Brewing Company a great opening and for making a great product right in southwestern Minnesota! 

1101 East Main Street Marshall, MN 56258

Follow Brau: @BrauBeer

Follow Me:  @TallPour



The Land o’ 10,000 Mini Donuts just upped it’s game…

In a Land o’ 10,000 mini donuts…I was able to find mine.

It was a hot morning of about 90 degrees when I showed up to the fair. It was 11am on a week day and I was there to see a nationally syndicated radio host do his program live at the “Great Minnesota Get Together.” I knew I would be attending the fair later in the week with a beer geek friend, so getting the much-hyped Mini Donut beer from Lift Bridge was not my priority on this trip. However, the heat and an urge to have a frothy brew while I enjoyed the show changed my mind.

I headed to the food building where I thought (foolishly) that I would casually ask one of the vendors, “where do I get the mini donut beer?” I never thought to check the tapping times, and when the vendor smiled and said – “through that door at the Ball Park…and bring me one …when you get it” I knew I was in trouble.

I got out to the patio area of the Ball Park Café and saw the line was already curved down to the street and glanced a sign that told me the tapping was at noon. I maneuvered my way out and settled in line at about quarter after eleven. As I looked around it became clear by the bemused cynical stares and occasional inquires that we who were waiting in line were “in the know.” Both they (the passer-bys) and we (the beer geeks waiting in line for an hour for a beer we had never tried) were ok with that.

As the hour inched closer to noon, I began to grow nervous, especially when I read the “While Supplies Last” sign. Despite having waited in line for nearly 45 minutes for this new instant State Fair classic, I began to wonder if I would still be left on the outside looking in.

I chatted with some folks in line and heard that the beer usually lasted for a couple of hours and my fears began to subside. As I listened via phone to the broadcast I’d come to see (across the fairgrounds from where I now stood), I knew this experience would really be the sugar on my mini donut as the announcement came, 10 minutes…

The line finally began to move. When I came to the bar I was intrigued as I saw the rim of the glasses were being wetted and glazed with cinnamon & sugar. I watched the pour; a pleasant amber brown hue plunged into my glass. I accepted my beers (yes, I got two) and walked to the street, finding an alcove where I could take my first smell and taste. The aroma was a pleasant one, with a nice full malted character; then I sipped. The sweetness of the sugar interacted with the malty beer. Truly I had found the only mini donut I needed when visiting the fair.

For those of you that missed Lift Bridge’s Mini Donut beer, mark you calendar for the 2014 Minnesota State Fair, tweets at me @TallPour and we can share this brew at a higher altitude.