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St. Paul Summer Beer Fest Preview

Get your pretzel necklaces tied up and ready your beer koozie because Summer is coming. Spring was as wet as the first five rows of a Gallagher show and we didn’t even have the laughs to make it fun.

Luckily, the 11th Annual St. Paul Summer Beer Fest is taking place this Saturday at the International Bazaar at the MN State Fairgrounds from 2-5pm for general admission and 1-5pm for VIPers. You can get your tickets here. The St. Paul Summer Beer Fest is my signal that summertime has arrived.

I have read through this year’s festival program in great detail. Here are my 10 thirst-quenching beers to be on the lookout for at the festival. These beers are either favorites of mine and embody summertime in a glass or just seem like they would sublimely augment an afternoon of beer sampling.

Dogfish Head SeaQuench Ale

Dogfish Head

SeaQuench Ale is refreshing, limey, crisp, and crushable. This Dogfish Head beer is the liquid embodiment of summertime refreshment due to its unique combination of tartness and salinity. I dare you to try it and not want another pour! At 4.9% ABV, this is a fantastic session ale to keep your wits about you as you tipple your way around the fest.

La Doña Cervecería Doña Fría Mexican Style Lager

La Doña Cervecería

This is not your abuelo’s Mexican Lager. La Doña Cervecería’s Mexican Lager has a depth of flavor that comes from bready notes of malt and a slight sweetness from corn. The body is crisp and refreshing. Drink a few of these and you will be ready for the beach. Such a wonderful beer to embrace summer.

Steel Toe Brewing’s Köln-Style Ale

Who doesn’t love a beer style that has been quenching thirsts since its inception in the 1600s. Cracker malt and floral hops are featured prominently in this crisp and clean beer. Knowing that all of Steel Toe’s beers are top-notch, I am already drooling to dry the Köln-Style Ale.

Utepils BRD (Be Ready to Drink)

When Utepils brews a lager, you know it is going to be excellent and without any flaws. The BRD is no exception. This Munich-style Helles is a fantastically crisp beer with a nice blend of cracker malt flavor and a hint of hoppy bitterness for balance. You can enjoy it in a festival sample glass, or better yet, a proper pint. If you want to do the latter, just keep going through the line until you have gotten your fill.

MKE Brewing Outboard Cream Ale

If you are looking for a beer that instantly conjures up images of reeling in that elusive lunker and quenching your thirst on the boat, look no further than MKE Brewing’s Outboard Cream ale! It is light bodied, crisp, and thirst-quenching. This beer pairs well with brats, fun, and St. Paul Summer Beer Fests!

Bell’s Pineapple Jalapeño Oberon

When it comes to beers that scream summer, Bell’s Oberon is king-or should I say prince? The pineapple jalapeño version sounds absolutely enchanting! My hope is that the sweetness from the pineapple plays with the head of the jalepeño and gets balanced out by the refreshing citrus nature of the base beer. I guess I will see on Saturday!

Funkwerk’s Saison

Funkwerks out of Fort Collins, Colorado, prides themselves on brewing flawless beer using amazing technique and patience. As a result of this practice, their saison has won several GABF gold medals and sets the standard for what a saison should be. The tart and dry magnificence of this sip of summer should definitely be on your list. Let this effervescent beauty usher in the warmth of the season as you sip and let yourself be happy you are in Minnesota for a fine summer afternoon.

Fair State Brewing Cooperative Crankin Foamers

Do you like beer? Do you like America? Then you are sure to love Crankin Foamers from Fair State. A classic lager recipe that will show that this style can have great taste and be less filling. Fair State is brewing some of the best lagers in the city and I am sure that Crankin Foamers will have us all foaming at the mouth for another pour!

Harpoon IPA

Fenway Park

The last time I had this beer I was sitting in the outfield seats at Fenway Park watching David Ortiz clock a homerun in what would be his final season as a pro. This IPA is a throwback to a classic hoppy beer that doesn’t have any lactose, hash, or kitchen sink. This beer is classic and it is almost rare to find an IPA that is not bursting with citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Harpoon has been doing well with this one for 25 years, and I am happy that it will be pouring on Saturday!

Half Brothers Morning Squeeze NEIPA

It wouldn’t be a beer fest if you couldn’t search out a hazy IPA. So, I have selfishly selected a beer from a brewery that I have yet to try. I have heard great things about Half Brothers up in Grand Forks, ND. I want to see if they can nail all the facets of what I believe is a successful hazy IPA: juicy hop burst, a slightly pithy bitter hop finish, and a nice soft mouthfeel.

There are way too many beer festivals out there now and people are getting festival fatigue. The St. Paul Summer Beer Fest is run perfectly by the Chop Liver Inc. Craft Beer Festivals thanks to Juno Choi and Mark Opdahl. Each and every year I go to this festival, I am floored by how the time flies by because everyone is having a great time. I hope to see you there enjoying the kickoff to the great Minnesota summer. Enjoy it while you can because before you know it, the Vikings will have a quarterback controversy and it will be colder than a properly poured pilsner.

Dan Beaubien has been involved with Beerploma since 2014 although his passion for craft beer dates back to 2006 when he started traveling for beer.  Dan mostly covers craft beer events, festivals, brewery openings/releases, and beer reviews. Dan has a soft spot in his heart for authentic British Style ales, IPAs, and all things barrel-aged.  If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to email Dan at dan.beaubien@beerploma.com .