2019 All Pints North Recap
The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild All Pints North 2019 is in the books. This amazing festival is the highlight of the Minnesota craft beer scene. The number of Twin Cities and beyond beer geeks that descend on Duluth for a weekend of fun is massive. This is not just a festival, it is a weekend filled with fun and beer.
My Favorite Beers of All Pints North
Drastic Measures Humble Mumble
I had so much fun chatting with Brett Doebbeling, the founder and brewer at Drastic Measures. This beer illustrates how gifted Brett is when it comes to brewing great beer. You might think that this beer would be too sweet, however, you would be wrong. This beer highlights the cookie flavors of the Oreo. There is a depth and complexity to this beer thanks to the dark chocolate and roasted malt character. If you consider this a pastry stout, I think that it is in the upper echelon of what that style should be. I could, and did, drink more than just a sample pour of this because there is nothing cloying about it.
Town Hall Brewery Kellar Wiesn
If you want to chase trends, there are plenty of breweries that have you covered. However, if you want classic beers that can educate you about styles around the world, you need to go to Town Hall Brewery. I caught up with brewer, Derek Brown, and we chatted about the Kellar Wiesn. The best way to describe this beer is a blond Oktoberfest. It was heaven. Crisp and clean with a wonderfully satisfying malt character. It is everything I like about an Oktoberfest minus the caramel. It was a perfect beer for the festival.
Urban Growler Brewing St. Citra Pale Ale
I have said for years that finding a great pale ale in Minnesota is tougher than finding a unicorn in your garage. That doesn’t mean that breweries don’t brew them, they just forget to brew them in a balanced way. Urban Growler impressed me with this pale ale that drinks bright, juicy, and balanced. It had a fresh citrus peel nature along with lots of citrus flesh sweetness. What put this beer on the board for me was its deft hop bitterness to make the finish dry enough to want to keep on sipping.
Dual Citizen Humboldt
As I mentioned above, my Minnesota pale ale experience has left me wanting more over the years. Dual Citizen brought a bright and refreshing balanced pale ale that I really loved. Mosaic hops are not a tough sell for me in a beer. I loved how this one drank because it was so thirst-quenching while still delivering the goods on flavor. Nice fruity aromas and flavor that ping between grapefruit and blueberry.
Lakeville Brewing Cream Ale
Despite not getting any ice at the beginning of the fest, Lakeville Brewing brought a winner with their cream ale. A few years ago, I didn’t appreciate this style as much as I do now. The Lakeville Cream Ale is so refreshing and delicate that I think it would appeal to anyone. This beer alone is worth the trip down to visit the brewery in Lakeville.
Utepils Receptional Festbier
I was ecstatic to see this being poured at the festival despite Utepils not putting it in the program. Dan Justesen explained that they weren’t sure if it would be ready for All Pints. Not only was it ready, it was tasting fantastic. This is one of my favorite seasonals because unlike its boozier and more caramel-forward Marzen-style beer, the Festbier is lighter and has a little bit more balance when it comes to sweetness and body. The idea is that you can drink multiple Festbiers and I Receptional fits the bill perfectly!
New Layout for the Festival
This may not seem like a big deal, but the new layout for the breweries at All Pints North really works! By having most of the breweries in a circle around the perimeter, there were not any ridiculous crowding like when the lines used to butt right into each other. I also liked that I could see where places were and it was much easier to navigate. I feel like this was a positive and I hope they keep in this way.
More Fun Things At All Pints North
Junkyard Brewings Thumb Wrestling
The spectacle of spandex, leopard print, big hair, and one-liners made me keep circling back to giggle. The folks at Junkyard Brewing in Moorhead love to have a good time. They absolutely had a great time and their lines were always a good 15-20 people deep. Of course, people were excited about the beer, but they were also giddy to get in the ring and thumb wrestle. I loved how exciting and awesome their booth was and it really provided some amazing people watching.
Bent Paddle’s Smelt Tossing
If there is a sure-fire way to get my attention, it is to throw fake fish into peoples’ pants. So, it comes as no surprise that I was completely enthralled with this fun game. Bent Paddle Brewing provided this incredibly fun way to cool off and create a buzz with this friendly competition. The game consisted of two teams, comprised of a smelt thrower and a smelt catcher. The thrower would toss the smelt and the catcher would catch the smelt by loosening the waist of the waders they were wearing. The degree of difficulty for the catchers centered around the fact that they were standing in a kiddie pool. Absolutely hilarious!
Witch Hunt’s 3 of Cups Lemongrass Ale
In their most recent collaboration with Dangerous Man, Witch Hunt poured their 3 of Cups Lemongrass Ale at the Dangerous Man booth. Witch Hunt is an incredible group of people who advocate for under represented groups of people in craft brewing. They collaborate with different breweries as a way of educating people about beer and getting them involved in the brewing process. The 3 of Cups was a refreshing and delicious beer for summer. The official release of the beer is taking place at Dangerous Man Brewing Company today (Aug 1st) at 3pm!
To me, an organization like Witch Hunt is key to truly making craft beer open to everybody. In getting to know the people behind Witch Hunt, I can honestly say that there is no better way to get acquainted with craft beer education than these fine folks.
A Few Issues To Fix For Next Year
I am not quite sure what caused the delay for moving people into the festival in a timely manner. I do know that a lot of people took to social media to rant about how long it took. My hope is that they tweak their process. Someone who I know said that they were not pre-checking IDs and that was a major cause of the lack of efficiency.
There is no way to sugarcoat this; it was a bad look and left a lot of people frustrated. I cannot remember off-hand how many tickets were sold last year, but 4,500 people bought tickets this year. After inquiring about what happened, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild said, “The wait time is something we certainly wish we could go back and do over. Unfortunately, a few minor problems all culminated to add about 25 minutes to our expected wait times.” I know that they are reviewing their process for next year and I don’t expect this to be an issue in the future.
They did extend the festival until 7:30 to make up for the extra time to get in and so I don’t think it wound up being that big of an issue. I know that it looked to me like everyone was having a good time. So, a great weekend was had in Duluth and I look forward to next year. I am already excited to see what the Autumn Brew Review has in store for us all. You have your tickets for that, too, right? Prost!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .