A Perfect Pint's Michael Agnew releases definitive guide to upper Midwest breweries
For those who find it too daunting to keep up with the brew scene in the upper Midwest, Michael Agnew has a primer. The owner of A Perfect Pint and Minnesota's first certified cicerone (like a sommelier, but for beer), Agnew has compiled a guide book that examines every brewery in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.
"About four years ago I had this feeling that something great was happening to the beer scene in the region," says Agnew. "As grandiose as it sounds to me now, I really wanted to help make the upper Midwest into the next Colorado Front Range." To do so, Agnew hit four states, tacked 10,000 miles on his odometer, and sampled everything he could find.
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The fruit of that effort hit stores yesterday, in the form of A Perfect Pint's Beer Guide to the Heartland. The book profiles 236 breweries, from nanobreweries to Miller-Coors. If there is a physical location, Agnew covers it, intending the guide to serve primarily as a travel companion. Along with his brewery profiles he offers basic information such as hours, taproom info, his favorite beers, and listings of other local attractions. It's beer-focused, but ultimately about tourism and the industry as a whole.
Agnew started the book with a list of 165 breweries; the list tops out today at 236. Three breweries closed as Agnew was writing, and numerous start-ups are still in the planning stages and had to be left off his list.
"I chose the best and worst of times to attempt such a catalog," he says. "At a certain point I just had to stop. A second edition will probably be necessary, but I'm not going to attempt it until this current boom slows down."