There is something quintessentially summery about beer festivals. Most of them offer the same basic routine: You're handed a smallish commemorative glass, then spend the afternoon in the sun drinking unlimited swallows from a wide assortment of brews. And even though the inaugural Saint Paul Summer Beer Festival follows the classic setup, it deserves credit for a couple of things. First, it brings together an eclectic mix of local favorites such as Surly, Schell, and Summit, and national suds including Rogue, Boulevard, and Sierra Nevada. Second, the grub offered at the Summer Beer Festival comes from the host venue: the Saints' Midway Stadium, so any field food you would normally dig into while watching the loveable minor-leaguers will be available. Rarely are so many beers available for pairing with hotdogs and brats. Finally, the festival includes a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the Twin Cities YMCA, so not only will you get to sample the nation's craft beers, you can help a local charity as well. That's a good way to spend a summer day. For tickets and additional info visit www.stpaulsummerbeerfest.com.
Sun., June 28, 1-5 p.m., 2009