Edit ModuleShow Tags

Autumn Brew Review: Recapping the Year's Best Local Beer Event


I snagged a press ticket to last weekend's Autumn Brew Review, held outside the historic Grain Belt Brewery complex in northeast Minneapolis. Now in its 12th year, the annual festival has really come into its own, its growth and evolution keeping in lockstep with the exploding local craft brew scene.

The event included a craft beer education tent, food-and-beer pairing seminars, walking tours of the Grain Belt complex, food trucks, and music. But the heart of ABR is, of course, the sampling. There were a whopping 108 breweries represented—every single regional brewer I'd ever heard of (from established folks, such as Surly and Town Hall and brand-new brewers, including Brainerd Lakes and Pour Decisions) alongside some of the biggest names in craft brewing from around the country (Sam Adams, Magic Hat, Lagunitas, Brooklyn Brewery, New Belgium among them). All brewers were pouring multiple samples, though Left Hand was the only vendor I saw whose taps came out of the back of a P.T. Cruiser!

The weather was gorgeous. Hilarious t-shirts abounded (one featuring a chalkboard with the sentence "I will not come home drunk" scrawled on it over and over). Drunk people played four square. And I finally got a chance to sample beer from a couple of regional breweries I've been meaning to try that I haven't seen distributed in the metro, Castle Danger and Leech Lake. There were a few beers I poured out, but most were fantastic. Produce-infused brews (raspberries! jalapenos!) continue to be popular, as does mixing beers (Sawtooth + Milk Stout = MooTooth, akin to a Black and Tan). My only disappointment was not arriving early enough to sample Furthermore's 2012 batch of Fallen Apple, a delicious blend of cider and a Cream Ale.

Attendees received a super-comprehensive, perfect-bound pocket-sized guide that listed every brewery with tasting notes and stats (ABV, IBU, etc.) on every single beverage poured, which I suspect will come in handy for beer shopping and tasting year round.

If you've never been to an Autumn Brew Review, watch for its return next summer. If you can't wait that long, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild also sponsors ABR's smaller, indoor counterpart, Winterfest. (Tickets go on sale December 1 at noon and always seem to sell out instantly.)

If you want to hit the Grain Belt Brewery this Saturday, the first-annual Northeast Riverfeast is taking place in its warehouse lot, where several local restaurants will be serving exclusive 'Nordeast foods' alongside new catering operations from Jax Cafe and the Bulldog NE (called "Stray Dog Catering" and it's making Grain Belt beer cupcakes?!). For more info/tickets,  visit neriverfeast.com.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a few tips for attending next year's Autumn Brew Review:

BYO Pretzel Necklace
Attendees make 'em beforehand and use the snacks to cleanse palates and mitigate alcohol intake.

BYO Water
Presumably the food trucks were selling bottled water, but I didn't see any other on site, except for the stuff dripping from what appeared to be an animal watering trough, which was used for rinsing glasses, but I wasn't certain if it was potable.

Pace Yourself
Being an adult in a beer festival is a little like being a kid in a candy store: it's easy to overindulge, so make sure to stay fed and hydrated!


Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Pineapple in Every Bite Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Enjoy this twist on the classic cake with chunks of sweet, juicy pineapple maximizing the fruit-to-cake ratio in every taste

3 Drinks to Give Winter the Kiss-Off

West Seventh in St. Paul is bursting with drink options to usher in spring (which is just around the corner, right?)

Minnesota-Grown Greens Now Available Year Round

New locally and sustainably produced Revol Greens makes eating clean and green throughout the year even easier

What to Buy for the Perfect Minnesota Home Bar

From vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, and beyond: Minnesota spirit-makers recommend the best home-bar companions

Quick Moroccan Chicken over Couscous Recipe

Enjoy the exotic flavors of a long-simmered tagine in this easy version that’s quick enough for a weeknight

No-Fail Caramel Corn Recipe

Celebrate National Caramel Corn Day with this sweet crunchy treat—no special equipment needed with this easy recipe

Best Restaurant Bargains Before A Target Field Minnesota Twins Game

They're offering baseball specials, but do you know where to go? Check out these good deals on food before Twins games.

3 Things to Eat This Week: April 4-8

Tropical cake, drinkable flowers, and some mouth-searing spice

Edina Bistro Celebrates National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day

Pinstripes offers a sophisticated twist on the childhood favorite with a five-course meal for two in honor of PB&J Day (April 2)
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags