Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let There Be Beer! The Minnesota Craft Brewers Winterfest 2010

I loves me some good beer. Thank God Hubby showed me that there was beer beyond the big American beer/swill that I grew up thinking was beer.

For the past few years, Hubby and I have attended the MN Craft Brewers events - the Autumn Brew Review and the Winterfest. We actually didn't attend them last year, but this year we went to the Winterfest with a couple of friends.

The Winterfest is held at the MN History Center on the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday. Tickets are sold in advance and sell out pretty much as soon as they are released. If you aren't on the email list, you will probably miss out. Tickets cost $45 each with a limit of 6 tickets per order.

Anyway, this is the first time we attended since they moved the event to the History Center (it used to be at the Landmark Center). It was was spread out over 3 floors, which was nice. It provided more room by spreading us out a bit. There was food (covered by the admission price) that included a beef stew, local cheeses and crackers, crudite, and bread. All nice, but of course the real reason to be there is for the beer.

There were a lot of good MN breweries at the festival: the bigger guys like Summit and Schells, the smaller guys like Lift Bridge, Flat Earth, and Surly, and brew pubs like Town Hall Brewery and Barley Johns Brew Pub. We took our commemorative glass around to each stand, handed the glass over and said "Give me the...(insert beer name here)".

Boy were there some good ones, too! I especially liked Lift Bridge's Belgian Biscotti: a golden brew with hints of honey and malt that really did remind you of a biscotti. They served it with the option of a Belgian Biscotti float - adding a scoop of ice cream made with the Biscotti beer. That was sensational!

My other favorite of the night was from Town Hall Brewery. They called their LSD. It is an ale made with lavendar, sunflower honey and dates. Another light-colored brew, this one got the balance of the lavendar just right. I was worried that it would be like drinking soap (a danger whenever you doing something culinary with lavendar), but it was just right. It was slightly sweet with a great smell and light hops.

Here is the program from the event, if you want to let your imagination go.

Next year's Winterfest is Feb. 4th. See you there if you can get a ticket!

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