Picture 114 breweries, the old Grain Belt building, and a sunny day: There's not much more that beer aficionados could ask for at this Saturday's 14th annual Autumn Brew Review -- except perhaps some samples.
And so samples they shall have. Breweries and brewpubs alike will be pouring tastes of their finest into commemorative four-ounce glasses. Explore the beers of breweries old and new, nationals like Clown Shoes, Deschutes, Grand Teton, Lagunitas, and Tallgrass and local start-ups such as Blacklist, Fair State, Fytenburg, and Pryes.
"At 14 years old it's one of the longest-running festivals in the Midwest," says Clint Roberts, executive director of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, hosts of the event. "Even with such a long history and its growing size, the foundation is still the same."
As beer festivals gain in popularity and take on new shapes and forms, the Autumn Brew Review is still a beer fest run by brewers. "It all starts and ends with the beer, which is why brewers attend the event," Roberts says. "No gimmicks, just great beer and a good atmosphere to enjoy that beer."
It's also a festival that features numerous limited and specialty beers. Some are one-time brews and others are being taste-tested for competitions and/or future production. In many ways, it's a showcase festival for some of the finest and more experimental beers out there.
With so many beers to choose from, it will be a day of excess and spotty memories, but here are a few specialty beers to try before things get too overwhelming:
-Dawn of Aurora from Schell's, a Berliner Weisse aged in their newly restored cypress tanks -Devil's Twerk from Surly, a black licorice and cherry porter aged with oak -Zero Hour from 612, conditioned in a cask with peppermint leaves and cocao nibs -Canal Park's Old Avalanche Barleywine
For non-beer drinkers, the options are more limited, but there are a few. Cideries will be serving samples, and Lift Bridge, Fytenburg, Bent, Brewstillery, and Glewwe's Castle Brewery will have non-alcoholic options for designated drivers. There will be food from Pizza Luce, Natedogs, Chef Shack, Velle, Hot Indian Foods, Foxy Falafel, and Stanley's on Wheels. Tickets are sold out, so if you didn't get a chance to snag one this year, mark your calendars for 2015 and be at the ready.
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