Local craft on draft at the 2011 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.
Surly Furious is among the local beers headed to this year's MN State Fair
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.
A Perfect Pint