on Minnesota hops

A reader posted this question to the “About” page of this blog:

I’m curious about your thoughts of the hops industry, or lack thereof in MN. It seems that there are breweries opening every month, but virtually no one in MN is growing hops at even a semi-commercial scale. Do you think this is a needed industry in MN, and do you think that the local brewers would prefer to brew with locally sourced hops?

… and as I’ve written and rewritten my thoughts on this, the response turned into something that needed more than a one-paragraph reply to a thread on a different topic.  Continue reading

afternoon at a taproom

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Time spent beer-touring in Portland, Denver, and Cali has me pumped for the flowering of brewery taprooms now happening in the Twin Cities. Freshness counts in a large way, and at times the three-tier system can seem like showering with a raincoat – being able to talk to brewery staff about the beer you ordered while they’re hand-pumping it from a firkin just for you adds to the appreciation and immediacy of the product in a way that ordering the same beer at a civilian bar or restaurant just can’t; the ambience of a well-considered taproom is icing on the cake.

One afternoon this past week found me at one of our newer spots and chatting with a friend over beers before an impromptu walkthrough of the production side, then on with our respective evenings. Always nice to have more cool places to hang out, and who can say no to a food truck after some good beer?