Local craft on draft at the 2011 MN State Fair

Categories: Beer

SurlyLogo.jpeg
Surly Furious is among the local beers headed to this year's MN State Fair
In past years the craft brew selection at the Minnesota State Fair has been fairly limited. There was Summit and ... well there was Summit. Not that Summit is a bad choice, but a little more variety would be welcome. Many a beer lover's State Fair dreams will be answered this year. The Ball Park Cafe will have 12 craft-beer taps available featuring local and national labels.

The Ball Park Cafe is on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Underwood Street between the Food Building and the Garden. It has been dishing out its famous garlic fries from that spot for 12 years. This year it will be dedicating one of its windows to the enjoyment of better beer. "Craft beer is what people are drinking now." says owner Dan Theisen. "It's all I drink."

About six months ago he started thinking about the near absence of craft beer at the fair. He pitched the idea of pouring better brews to friends and family, who all told him to go for it. An old friend in the beer distribution business connected with local brewers and set him up with the national brands.

The plan is to have six taps of local favorites and six taps of nationals. Local taps will include beer from three Minnesota breweries: Furious, Bender, and Hell from Surly, Farm Girl Saison and Chestnut Hill from Lift Bridge, and Summit's Silver Anniversary Ale. Non-local taps will be Alaskan Amber and IPA, Odell 90-Shilling, Tallgrass Halcyon Wheat, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat, and Stone Arrogant Bastard.

Two small-pour sampler flights will be available. A Minnesota sampler will give fair-goers a taste of Furious, Bender, and Farm Girl. The national sampler will include Tallgrass Halcyon, Alaskan Amber, and Arrogant Bastard.

I know where I'm headed at the fair.

Cheers,
Michael Agnew
Certified Cicerone
A Perfect Pint

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11 comments
WriterRighter
WriterRighter

I didn't know this existed until I stumbled (not literally) into it on my way OUT of the fair the other night, but it was still like manna from heaven. With two more fair days to go (for me), I'll plan my itinerary accordingly. Hallelujah!

Evan
Evan

Indeed, there has been Schell's for at least 7 years in the old-timey area.  Strangely, they have had Oktoberfest on tap, but not their Pils.  And as someone pointed out, last year they had the Hopfenmaltz, which actually is their 150th anniversary brew and a fine one.  Only problem is it is a long walk to get to it.  Nice to hear there will be a bigger selection to choose from.  Next we need a classic German style beer garden at the Fair!  (Hello, is anybody at Schell's listening?)

Zoot
Zoot

Still 3.2?

zz
zz

Yup. Schell's has been at the fair for a long time too. I enjoyed one of their 125th anniversary beers on tap!

Guest
Guest

Uhhh, pretty sure there was Schell's too.

kb
kb

goose island is owned by budweiser now, not a craft brewery :(

David Foureyes
David Foureyes

Nope. As of a couple years ago, you can get real beer at the fair.

Michael
Michael

Must admit that I have only been to the fair once. It falls at the very worst time of year for me. I only remember Summit. Schell's could have been there as well. Anyhoo, it's still good to have more options.

eeguy
eeguy

Goose Island is now owned by Budweiser, but they are making some of the finest examples of Belgian-style beer in the world.  Their bourbon barrel stouts are pretty amazing as well.  Don't write them off just because Bud owns them.  This will continue to happen with many craft brewers down the road.  As long as quality doesn't suffer, I'm fine with it.

Michael
Michael

It's the growing pains of an industry coming out of puberty.

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