Invictus Brewing Company

February 23, 2020

Most client meetings go well. In rare cases they throw me for a loop. I was standing in the parking lot of an office park, reeling from a meeting that just occurred. I wouldn’t say it went poor, but it wasn’t what I had expected or prepared for. I plugged “breweries near me” into Google Maps and put the car in drive. Time to decompress with a craft beer at Invictus Brewing Company.

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Foxhole Brewhouse

February 18, 2020

“Where is it?” I asked. We had parked in downtown Willmar, Minnesota and I was looking around for the brewery. It’s funny that the word downtown is used to describe both Manhattan and a town with a population of 20,000, but that’s the English language. “It’s over there.” Holli said, pointing across the street. Sure enough, a tiny Foxhole Brewhouse sign featuring a mischievous fox was set above a narrow building. “That’s a small sign.” I said. “It’s a lot bigger inside than it looks.” Brady replied, as we made our way across the street.

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Fair State Brewing Cooperative

February 15, 2020

“Where to next?” I asked. We had finished lunch with our friends Megan & Mitch at Hai Hai, which followed a morning of coffee and beer at BlackStack. They live a fair distance south of the Twin Cities. They also share our love for craft beer and breweries so we give them leeway to choose the destinations. “Is Fair State close? We haven’t been there yet” Mitch asked. “Very close” I responded.

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Awards

Minnesota Craft Beer: Best of 2019

January 17, 2020
Tap Traveler at the State Fair

I can’t believe this is the fourth year I’ve given these awards. This year was especially hard, because I shifted down a gear on my in-state travels. I began 2019 with a resolution to count my calories (not great for beer). Shortly after that my toddler found her legs and combined it with boundless energy. We also took three trips out of state, where most of my drinking this year took place. Even so, I visited more than enough to put together this list.

A quick reminder at the stipulations. Each award must go to a brewery that I visited in the calendar year and I won’t give a brewery the same award two years in a row. At this point I’ve visited over 100 Minnesota breweries and written about most of them. I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of the scene, but if I’m missing your favorites I’d love to hear about them. On to the awards!

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Editorial

A Craft Beer Lover’s San Diego Sojourn

December 18, 2019

“Did you hear that we are planning a trip to California next year?” my wife asked. “That’s a big state, whereabouts?” I asked. “We were thinking of San Diego actually” she said. “San Diego?” I responded. Like a burst of carbonation from a bottle, images of craft beer cracked through my mind. Sure the weather would be beautiful, the beaches plentiful, and the food splendid. But it’s a craft beer mecca, surely that’s why we were going?

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Gear

Craft Beer Gift Guide

November 26, 2019
Craft Beer Gifts

Most online gift lists are a joke – poorly researched cash grabs to farm affiliate sales from hapless gift givers. I appreciate heavily curated lists backed by real experience. That’s why I made a list of goods that I personally back since I’ve researched, purchased, and used everything on it. If you’re looking to buy a gift for the craft beer lover in your life, look no further.

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The Brewing Projekt

October 28, 2019

We had checked out. Our road trip took us through along the entire north shore of Lake Superior. Through Ontario, into the upper peninsula of Michigan, and then the heart of Wisconsin. We’d been going downhill the past couple of days, putting miles behind us in our quest to return home. Eau Claire was our final night and The Brewing Projekt was a “bucket list” brewery that we had to visit.

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Hereford & Hops Restaurant And Brewpub

October 21, 2019

I had little frame of reference for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My mind’s eye pictured rugged wilderness, small mining towns, and wild “yoopers” keeping vigil. What I saw was more akin to northern Minnesota and Wisconsin than I anticipated. While searching for a place to spend the final evening of our road trip my eyes rested on the city of Escanaba. Driving to the – possibly haunted – House of Ludington hotel was an echo into the past. One of those echoes was the Hereford & Hops Restaurant And Brewpub.

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Mackinaw Trail Brewing Company

October 17, 2019

There is no better pit stop than a craft brewery. We’d been driving for hours after departing Sault Ste. Marie and were about to touch Lake Michigan. After that, we’d plunge into the interior of Wisconsin. The stars aligned when we drove into Manistique, Michigan and spotted a small spit of land housing the Mackinaw Trail Brewing Company.

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