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The Massive Midwest Brew Tour Rundown Volume 1

by on 22 July, 2011

“Took your bloody time, Chris” I hear you say. Sorry.

Well, I am back and I did have an awesome time.

I would love to say that I have been galavanting across the Midwest, stopping at every possible microbrewery and brewpub, but sometimes things just don’t go to plan. There were a few minor “show stoppers”, so to speak. Lets just say that I didn’t bargain on being stuck with a rather violent stomach bug for five days!

For those who read the first blog post about this trip, you may remember that I did have one mission: Redemption. Has the US redeemed itself in my eyes? Heck yes! From the little bit of research that I did do, I knew that there was going to be a great selection of craft beer available here. What I didn’t anticipate was the passionate bunch of people who make the craft beer scene there what it is.

Town Hall Brewery

This is where the magic happens...

On a rainy Friday afternoon( once I gained my US legs), I headed into Minneapolis on the light rail with my Twin Cities hostess Tina to meet up with a kind local, Ben Brausen, at a great brewpub called the Town Hall Brewery. I was lucky enough to arrive at the end of Minnesota Craft Beer Week so there were quite a few enthusiasts about, encouraging me to try their favourite brew. Lets be realistic, I didn’t need much persuasion. I suddenly felt in my element!

Beer Samplers, Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis

Mmmmmm... Beer!

I started off with their “Everyday Taps Sampler”, then moved on the “Seasonal Taps Sampler”. In retrospect, I should have taken a few notes about the beer that I was enjoying, however I got somewhat taken away by the excitement… and a few pints of their Masala Mama IPA. What can I say, if I find a tasty IPA – I’m going to stick to it.

Red - my brother from another mother

Red- my brother from anther mother

Ben then moved us on to Republic Bar, conveniently located across the road from the Town Hall Brewery. First impressions: Very impressive decor. At this stage, we had gained a following. My new found friend, Red, then introduced me to another local and tasty American IPA: Surly Furious. I know that it tasted bloody good, however at this stage I was feeling a bit silly and not taking things as seriously as I probably should have been. We met up with another local beer aficionado, Dean Hinshaw.

Mike, Ben & Dean discussing the intricasies of Minnesota Craft Beer

Let's talk beer!

After filling up on some more tasty Surly Furious, it was time to cross the mighty Mississippi and head into  University of Minnesota student territory. After filling up on some of the BEST pizza that I have ever eaten, we headed to Stub and Herbs – one of the oldest still active bars in the state – serving fine beers since 1939. Here, I had the pleasure of meeting Omar Ansari; the president of Surly Brewing. I told him how bloody fantastic his beer is, he then bought me a beer.  No complaints there!

Stub and Herbs, Minneapolis

Look at all that BEER!

For Minnesota Craft Beer Week, Stub and Herbs had an astounding twenty plus LOCAL craft beers on tap. Truly beyond amazing. I know that I tried some more great local beers here, though their names elude me now. I have no idea why. As you can imagine, by this stage I was a bit fuzzy around the edges, so much so it seemed to be the right thing to do to teach my new Minnesotan Beer Buddies some rather unsavoury Kiwi slang. I hope they are still using it!

To be continued…

From → Travels

  1. Seems to be about how I remember the night too. Had a great time. Glad you liked the beer.

  2. Is the best pizza comment in anyway affected by the fact you were several IPAs done? Great post mate.

    • He ate his entire pizza, part of Tina’s pizza and the last slice or two of mine. He was a little hungry.

      • You know, I forgot (however unsurprised) that I ate that much Pizza! I think I’ll have to post a photo of said pizza on volume 2. I would like to partly blame jet lag.

    • Cheers! It was genuinely a fantastic pizza. The fact that I had several IPAs under my belt just meant that I enjoyed them more than usual.

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