Top 5 local winter seasonal beers

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Sasha Landskov
The one upside of the sub-zero temps we are currently experiencing is that a windchill advisory is a very good excuse for holing up at home, preferably with a mix-and-match sixer of craft beers. Our local winter seasonals come in a range of styles, but all have depth, fragrant spice, and, true to their "winter warmer" moniker, often have pretty hefty ABVs.

There are a lot of new offerings to try this year, so get to a liquor store or bar and conduct your own research. In the meantime, here's a handful of our favorite local winter seasonal beers to get you started. 

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Top 5 ways to use UV's new Sriracha-flavored vodka

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Yesterday the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported that Phillips Distilling Co. is set to release the 20th flavor variety in its line of UV Vodka, and this one's a spicy little number. 

Adding a Sriracha-flavored vodka is an especially smart move by the Minneapolis-based company, given the recent hullabaloo surrounding a California community's demands that the Sriracha plant be shut down because of air quality concerns. An L.A. judge ultimately ruled against the closure, but the possibility of a Sriracha shortage was enough to send pepper fans into a fizz and to cause one Minneapolis donut shop to start hoarding the stuff.

The possibility of Sriracha downsizing or partially closing is still possible, so we thought we'd prepare for that apocalyptic threat by thinking of some new ways to get a little Sriracha into our liquid diets. Here are our Top 5 ways to use the new UV Sriracha vodka. 

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5 ways to celebrate National Gingerbread Day

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Carrie Stephens

There seems to be some confusion over when National Gingerbread Day actually takes place -- today, November 21 or in the summer, on June 5. Some gingerbread-loving fools say the holiday is observed twice a year, on both days. Since we think of gingerbread as a late fall and winter treat, we've elected to celebrate National Gingerbread Day today.

Today's national holiday may be inspired by a childhood Christmastime favorite, but this treat goes well beyond the houses haphazardly stuck together by gobs of frosting and decked with rows of gumdrops.

Here are five ways to celebrate National Gingerbread Day -- only a couple of which involve tiny domiciles.

See also:
5 ice cream sundaes for National Sundae Day

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Top 5 local stout beers

Categories: Top 5
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A tall pint of roast, toasty stout
Stout. This popular style of typically dark beer is easy to identify because its personality is just how it sounds: rounded, bold, and friendly. 

An important factor in the making of a stout, is getting a nice deep roast on the barley or malt used to brew it. Stout is also usually higher in alcohol than most of the other major styles, and often has an ABV of 7% or greater. There are many familiar sub-varieties of this style, such as Irish or dry stout, Russian or imperial stout (sometimes both names are used, as with Surly's Darkness), and flavored stouts like chocolate or coffee ones.

Locally, we're lucky to have many strong examples of this strong beer. Here are our Top 5 favorites.

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5 ice cream sundaes for National Sundae Day

Categories: Top 5

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The Culinary Geek
Happy National Sundae Day! Celebrate by stopping by and grabbing one of our favorite sundaes in the Twin Cities. No need to feel guilty -- it's a national holiday after all.

See also:
Top 10 donuts in the Twin Cities


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Top 5 places to eat in Little Mekong

Categories: Top 5

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Ed Neaton
Mai Village in Little Mekong

Billed as Saint Paul's answer to Eat Street, the Little Mekong area at the east end of University Avenue has become something of a destination lately. There are still plenty of shuttered businesses to go around, but with the Central Corridor light rail set to open in 2014 and its easy accessibility from I-94, the neighborhood's main artery is betting on a renaissance.

If hopes are up, that's in no small part thanks to the abundant Asian dining options. Many of them are good, a few of them are downright excellent. On the whole, Little Mekong is quickly becoming a Twin Cities hot spot. When the light rail finally starts rolling, it's sure to give Eat Street a run for its money.


See also:
Little Mekong: St. Paul's answer to Eat Street?
Top 10 places to eat in the North Loop


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Top 5 late-night coffee shops in St. Paul

Categories: Coffee Snob, Top 5
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If the resounding "Shhh!" of librarians doesn't quite motivate you, and you need a little more hustle-bustle in the background as you work, there's no place like a coffee shop.

No matter how hard you brainstorm during the day, sometimes genius strikes only after dark, so we found a few St. Paul gems where you can sip coffee and do a little work. While we love the coffee and the greasy-spoon food at Mickey's Diner, not to mention its 24-hour, 365-days-a-year schedule, it's just popular enough even at 3 a.m. that you can't hang out for hours at a time.

Here are our favorite places in St. Paul to stay late for another latte:

See also:
Top 5 late-night coffee shops in Minneapolis
Top 10 coffeehouses in the Twin Cities

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Top 5 late-night coffee shops in Minneapolis

Categories: Coffee Snob, Top 5

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Tatiana Craine
A little bit of caffeinated love for the long night ahead...
Whether you're a student up late trying to cram for your next test, a writer trying to finish that last chapter, or just about anyone who likes the calm, nighttime ambiance of coffee shops, you know it can be difficult to find a good spot to work after dusk. Fortunately for you, we've done the location scouting for you, so you can get down to the work you should be doing.

Here are five of our favorite places in Minneapolis to burn the midnight oil.

See also:
Top 5 late-night coffee shops in St. Paul
Top 10 coffeehouses in the Twin Cities

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Top 5 Oktoberfest beers on tap now

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Briana Bierschbach
Locally brewed Oktoberfest at Harriet Brewing.
Oktoberfest posters always seem to be a jumble of the same cliched images: Chesty ladies with milkmaid braids, men donning those little Tyrolean hats, and elaborate steins brimming with foamy beer. But what's really underneath all those cartoonish suds? 

This season's namesake beer, Oktoberfest, is its own unique style characterized by a copper-brown color, low IBU (international bitterness units), a "bready" aroma, and medium to full body. Oktoberfest styles are often referred to as Marzen-Oktoberfest or Marzenbier because they were traditionally brewed in March, right before the higher temperatures made it impossible to brew effectively. Modern technology now allows small and large scale breweries alike to make Oktoberfest styles according to their own schedules, but most still honor the tradition by releasing their Oktoberfest beers to coincide with the 16-day celebration in Munich. 

Great Oktoberfest beers are on tap all over the Twin Cities. Here are our top 5.

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Top 5 Cheeseburgers for National Cheeseburger Day

Categories: Top 5
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Courtesy of the Neato's Burgers website.
Happy National Cheeseburger Day!
The hamburger is a solid dish, but slap a slice of cheese on it and you have yourself an American institution. We were happy to learn that today is National Cheeseburger Day,  a perfect excuse to tuck into our favorite burgers. Here are the local cheeseburgers we'll be celebrating today.

See Also:
2012 Best Burger: Vincent A Restaurant

Top 3 Road Trip Worthy burgers

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