Beer fests abound in and around the Twin Cities

So many beer fests, so little time
So many beer fests, so little time
Michael Agnew

The proliferation of beer fests in and around the Twin Cities is getting intense. You can't turn around anymore without tripping over at least one celebration of suds. They are getting so thick that most weekends offer more than one to choose from. I've spent the last three Saturdays imbibing at some sort of beer event. The coming weeks promise more of the same.

Here's a quick rundown of some of the upcoming beer-filled happenings.

Saturday, September 22

The Fifth Annual Surlyfest: 2 to 6:17 p.m. at the Surly brewery, 4811 Dusharme Dr. in Brooklyn Center. A regular ticket gets you a commemorative half-liter SurlyFest stein and four beer tokens, and a designated driver ticket gets you two soda tokens. There'll be bike parking, live music, food vendors, and of course, beer, including the release of SurlyFest. SurlyFest is brewed with three types of Rye and a single variety of American Hops. Malted Rye, Flaked Rye, and Crystal Rye impart a distinctive biscuit flavor to the lush Vienna Malt body, and dry-hopping with Sterling Hops adds bright, floral hop aromas. Tickets are sold out, but there have been some offers of tickets floating around the interwebs.

Brown Bag Blind Tasting Series #3: 11 am to 4 pm, Republic, 221 Cedar Avenue S in Seven Corners. This is the third event in a series of blind tasting events sponsored by the Better Beer Society, designed to challenge and educate your palate. The aim is to get you thinking and talking about the aromas and flavors you are experiencing, as well as get rid of any preconceptions one may have about certain beer styles. The theme for this installment is Belgian brews. BBS has partnered with Republic to offer 25 Belgian ales to introduce your senses to the flavors of Belgium. One lucky attendee will win a brewery trip to Belgium for two, courtesy of Duvel USA. Tickets for this event are also sold out.

Saturday, September 29

The good stuff comes out at Where the Wild Beer Are
The good stuff comes out at Where the Wild Beer Are
Michael Agnew

Where the Wild Beers Are: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m, Republic, 221 Cedar Avenue S in Seven Corners. A celebration of all things sour, this is one of my favorite beer fests of the year. Rather than buying tickets to the event, attendees need only bring a bottle of wild-fermented beer to share. Each bottle you bring buys a certain number of samples. People don't hold back at this fest -- they bring the good stuff. You'll have the opportunity to taste rare, aged, and otherwise unusual specimens of sour, wild, and farmhouse ales. With so much acidity in one place, it's hard to imagine not leaving with indigestion. But you will be glad you did. Registration is open at the Where the Wild Beers are website.

Harriet Brewing's Rauchfest 2012: 1 to 10 p.m., Harriet Brewing Company, 3036 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis. Rauchfest is a one-day festival featuring beer, art, food, and live music. They will have eight Harriet beers on tap, including Rauchfest, their limited-batch smoked beer, and a brand-new Oktoberfest/Märzen. Music starts at 1 p.m. on two stages. Food trucks will be on hand to satisfy your hunger. General admission tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. They are available at Harriet Brewing's Tap Room or online.

Saturday, October 6

Benton County Oktoberfest: Saturday, October 6, 1 to 10 p.m., Benton County Fairgrounds in Sauk Rapids. Staged by the guys at Chop Liver LLC, the same folks who put together the St. Paul Summer Beer Fest, the Benton County Oktoberfest is a fall celebration filled with great German-style foods and beers with lots of family fun during the afternoon and a concert in the evening. Look for great breweries like Third Street Brewhouse, Summit, Schells, Paulaner, Hacker Pschorr, Becks, Hofbrau and more. Organizer Mark Opdahl points out that unlike other Chop Liver events this one is not a Craft Beer Festival, but rather a German-style celebration that has some local craft breweries participating. Tickets are $10 for anyone over 21. Those under 21 are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Did I miss anything? Most likely. But that should be enough to keep you busy for a while.

Cheers, Michael Agnew Certified Cicerone A Perfect Pint

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