Local Suds: 5 Minnesota beers to drink in quarantine in March

Pryes Pragmatic

Pryes Pragmatic Jerard Fagerberg

Has any holiday been worse for beer’s reputation than St. Patrick’s Day?

You’ll have to forgive me for hating the holiday; I grew up in Boston, where it’s an annual public health emergency. Just a bunch of reckless drinkers dragging down the esteem of anyone who’s ever pulled a pint toward their lips. It’s the kind of thing that would stir the ghost of temperance firebrand Frances Willard to start ruler-smashing the knuckles of every drinker in town. 

Celebrate St. Paddy’s 2020 by keeping your shit together, Twin Cities. Not every year calls for a torrent of emerald puke. Instead, treat yourself to the measured enjoyment of some of the best new local beers.

Finnegans' 2nd Cerise

Finnegans' 2nd Cerise Jerard Fagerberg

Finnegans 2nd Cerise
Sour saison, 6.7% ABV, n/a IBU

Finnegans hosted a nontraditional St. Paddy's this past weekend. The celebration started Friday, when they tapped 3:17 to Cologne, their bready kolsch made in collaboration with La Doña Cerveceria. That’s a tap-only offering (though you can get it from both breweries), but on Saturday, they introduced a new edition to their Barrels of Life bottle series. 2nd Cerise is a sour saison aged in Cabernet barrels with a nice foundation of Michigan tart cherries. That’s a lot of descriptors for a beer with a pretty simple appeal. 2nd Cerise drinks like a sour rosé, with a pleasantly light body and a crisp, dry finish.

Wheat Sweats from Bauhaus

Wheat Sweats from Bauhaus Jerard Fagerberg

Bauhaus the Wheat Sweats
Hefeweizen, 5% ABV, 12 IBU

On the heels of their big-body double IPA Pow Hound, Bauhaus is introducing a much slimmer seasonal to welcome spring. The Wheat Sweats is a Bavarian-style hefeweizen that sticks much closer to style guidelines than Bauhaus is known for. It’s not wheat that powers the taste, though, as a big punch of toasty Vienna malt leads the way, following up on the bready German Weizen yeast aroma. It’s an easy drinker, one that definitely replenishes those energy stores better than Gatorade. (Note: I am not a nutritionist, dummy.) The Wheat Sweats also announces the return of Bauhaus’s hilarious video ads. The latest is an ’80s-style training montage straight out of Rocky.

Inbound Brewco's Contains Bees

Inbound Brewco's Contains Bees Jerard Fagerberg

Inbound Contains Bees
Blonde ale, 5.2% ABV, 14 IBU

You remember Inbound Brewco’s 2019 release Contains Nuts? The milk stout with peanut butter that captivated their taproom last winter? Well, it’s back in spirit, and with more purpose than ever. Contains Bees takes the peanut butter sandwich motif and repurposes it as a blonde ale brewed with honey from Fieldstone Apiaries, a gesture of support for pollinator advocacy (sales from the beer’s February 29 release supported Pollinate Minnesota). With the added honey, Contains Bees tastes like liquid Bit-O-Honey, a swiggable toffee beer that ups the ante from last year. Maybe they’ll toss some Nutella into the mix next year and call it Contains Nostalgia.

Turn-Key from Steel Toe Brewing

Turn-Key from Steel Toe Brewing Jerard Fagerberg

Steel Toe Turn-Key IPA
IPA, 6.5% ABV, 43 IBU

It’s not too often we see new bottle releases from St. Louis Park’s Steel Toe Brewing, which makes  the juicy new Turn-Key IPA such a welcomed surprise. Released in early March, this pineapple-y dry-hopped IPA smells like it’d be thick and hazy as a BlackStack seasonal. But no, it’s crystal clear, perfectly in the Steel Toe milieu. Like other Steel Toe classics, it also sports a robust backbone of sweet Simpsons Golden Promise malt, a clever balance to the tropical overload of hops added late in the boil.  

Pryes Pragmatic

Pryes Pragmatic Jerard Fagerberg

Pryes Pragmatic
Pilsner, 4.2% ABV, 36 IBU

Pryes calls their house pilsner “a practical choice in almost any setting,” and you’d be a fool to argue otherwise. This 4.2% liquid biscuit is going to be remembered as one of the best beers of 2020 solely for its simplicity. What an easy, enjoyable beer to drink. Pryes could sell Pragmatic in gallon cans, and I’d still buy a sixer for Sunday. I know I’m not really explaining what this beer tastes like, but just trust me, it’s great, and you don’t have an excuse not to drink it.


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