The needle has dipped below freezing and the shovels are out of the garage. It's time for warm, heavy winter beers and big, hearty food pairings to help cope with the next few months.
Lift Bridge will release its annual Commander barleywine, with a party at the brewery from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday. For $5, attendees get a free beer and can partake in contests, games, live music, and food. The 2014 recipe is an English-style barleywine with a strong malt build and subtle cardamom that is aged in bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky. Friday night Andrew Spreck will be playing at the brewery's taproom.
On Saturday afternoon Lucid Brewing is celebrating its third anniversary with the release of Halucidation -- which won a gold medal at the 2014 World Beer Championships. The party in Minnetonka runs from noon to 6 p.m. and will feature music, games, and, of course, beer, and Facebook RSVPs receive a commemorative glass. Chef Shack food truck will be onsite.
On Thursday, Pig & Fiddle will host a five-course beer dinner showcasing Fulton beers. Nearby, Red Cow will host 36 taps for the MN Fall Beer Showcase that same night.
New beers on the market include a pumpkin saison from Urban Growler, Turkey Hill Honey Ale from Herkimer, and the return of Cold Press Black from Bent Paddle. Surly's Eight is also now available.
Other food trucks for the weekend include Vin's Italian (Friday) and Sandy's Grill (Saturday) at Summit and Butcher Salt (Friday), Vin's Italian (Saturday), and Potter's Pasties (Sunday) at Fulton.
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