I actually had a tough time coming up with a list of my favorite 30 Minnesota beers for the past year. Part of this is my drop-off from using Untappd–I used to be able to scan my top rated beers on there and make my list from it. I also find that with so many good beers in our market now, it’s actually tough to make this type of decision! So I’m going to use this as just a list of some of the stand-out beers I’ve had this year and this is by no means the only great beers being put out in Minnesota! This was also a year I did a lot of travel–more drinking of beer in Fargo, Florida, Georgia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Portland, and Colorado.
30) Fair State Keller Kazbek: A great example of the style. I first tried this at Autumn Brew Review and need to get some more!
29) Hoops No. 89 Hell: This was more like it! A crisp and perfectly balanced German Helles.
28) Pryes Barleywine: I really liked this barleywine, tried at my first trip to Jeremy’s taproom. A tough style to pull off (and to sell).
27) Unmapped Quadruplication: I really like Belgian Quads. A lot. This was a well-done example that hit all the right spots.
26) Lost Sanity Full Pulp: A hazy IPA dripping orange flavors from Madelia, Minnesota. If these guys were in Northeast Minneapolis everyone would know about them! I liked this better than many of the style to be found in the Twin Cities.
25) Indeed B-Side Pils: Yup I seem to be adding more lagers to my list this year. Not sure if this is my palate changing or just the improving quality of Minnesota lager brewing.
24) Town Hall Thunderstorm: This is a favorite of myself and my wife. Strong lemongrass, ginger and honey flavors.
23) Waconia Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter: I still love this beer but have not had as much of it in the past year. I’m so glad this is a year round beer now.
22) Lupulin Night Witch: A wonderful strong Russian Imperial Stout.
21) Tin Whiskers Nut Goodie: A strong hit from this St. Paul brewery!
20) Spilled Grain Dopplebock: A yearly favorite bursting with malt.
19) Forager Magnus: A wonderful RIS.
18) Steel Toe Dawn Juan: Coffee infused Before the Dawn. Yummy in my tummy.
17) Barrel Theory Black Lotus: A very well balanced coconut milk stout. And not a hazy IPA…
16) Giesenbrau Novy Praha Med: We got a chance to talk to the folks from this brewery at their busy Octoberfest celebration and were sent home with this bottle. A near perfect barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout that was one of the most balanced I’ve had all year. Impressive for a young brewery!
15) Junkyard King Size: Nutty and chocolately. Amazing.
14) Modist Dreamyard: Well done hazy.
13) Dangerous Man Rum Barrel Imperial Pumpkin: I love pumpkin beers (ok, the rare well done ones) and this is my jam.
12) Unmapped Mind the Map: A near perfect (to my palate) English style bitter.
11) Unmapped Freq Drive: A very well balanced double IPA in the old-school tradition.
10) Town Hall Twisted Trace: Yet another amazing barrel aged beer from Town Hall.
9) Back Channel Island Digs: A Foreign Export Stout that hits all the right marks for this unusual style. I had a few of these at Iron Tap!
8) Waconia Deepwater Double IPA: Lots of hops to love about this one. Had this back to back with Hopslam and preferred this one.
7) Insight Gravity Well (Bourbon Barrel): This has been a favorite of mine for years. I have not had this year’s batch but had a couple of last year’s bottles stashed away and finally got to partake.
6) Town Hall 6 Hour Tour: Bourbon barrel aged strong stout with coconut! Even better than 3 Hour Tour.
5) Lupulin Blissful Ignorance: Yup, still love this beer. Somewhere between hazy IPA and classic Double IPA, this one does the job for me!
4) Indeed Cherry Dust: This is the most like a true Belgian cherry lambic that I’ve had in Minnesota…possibly anywhere.
3) Town Hall Manhattan Reserve: A strong ale aged in Bourbon barrels that tastes like a Manhattan cocktail. One of my all-time favorite beers.
2) Bent Paddle Double Shot Double Black: This one is just so good. Better than the much sought after Founders KBS in my opinion. Thick, sweet, roasty, and bursting with coffee and vanilla.
1) Summit Keller Pils: This is just such a perfect example of the style and ultimately drinkable on its own or with food. Having spent a week in the Franconia Region of Germany this summer–this was the best American example of that style of pilsner I have ever had. Well done Summit. Keep the hits coming.
There isn’t as much variability in this list as I’ve had in the past. I think part of that is me narrowing in on what I really like and maybe not chasing the newest thing as much as I once did. Not there is anything wrong with exporing and trying new things. One will note my predilection for Double IPA, Russian Imperials, Belgians, and (more recently) lagers. Hopefully reading my limited selection will inspire you to take a long think on your own very favorite Minnesota beers and maybe get you to try something new! Good luck and raise a glass!