Seasonal Beer


    Twenty years ago, seasonal beer was merely beer sold in holiday adorned 12 packs and case boxes. There were few exceptions. Nowadays, thanks to the rise of the craft brewing industry in Minnesota, there are a multitude of seasonal beers to enjoy. Brews rich in flavor and steeped in tradition, with names like Snowstorm, and Festivus, Yuletide, and Winter ale. Beer brewed to give thanks for the bounty of the final harvest and for the Winter Solstice.  Strong, hearty ales that damper the chill, and give rise to song. Delicate, spicy brews that compliment the variety of holiday foods we eat at this time of year.

    The spectrum is vast. Light colored Belgian tripels, dark, bourbon barrel aged stouts, or effervescent champagne like lambics, no? Then set your sights on a flavorful, aromatic, cask conditioned specialty brew, hand —pulled through a beer engine. You will find finely crafted Minnesota beers in many establishments. If not, you should ask “Why notâ€, for locally brewed beer is fresher, and fresher is better. Although not available in liquor stores, many of the brew pubs listed here offer these wonderful beers in half gallon “growlers†to go. Brewers in Minnesota love to show their appreciation to loyal customers by creating an extra special beer for the holiday season. As the leaves begin to turn, and the days grow short, we locals eagerly await the tapping of our favorite ale and lager. So break from the comical beer commercial mold that portray we beer enjoyers as desperate and dumb. Join with friends and wrap your fingers around a glass of well looked after local beer. It is the serious and heady stuff that traditions are made from. You will be able to try some of these at the September 29th Autumn Brew Review, held at the historic Grain Belt complex in North East Minneapolis. For details about this event or any of our breweries, visit our web site at

    Here are a few of the seasonal offerings from our great local breweries. Note: many of these styles change from year to year.

    August Schell —

    Snowstorm 2007, inspired by monastic beers of Belgium. Complex malty character with hints of raisin, dark fruit, and rum.

    Summit Winter Ale –

    Dark malty local favorite.

    Fitger’s Brewhouse —

    Devil’s Track Pumpkin Ale, malty lager with 220 pounds of fresh pumpkin, nitrogenized for a creamy whip cream head. Sasquatch Scotch Ale, North Shore wee heavy, 8%abv. Blitzen’s Blueberry Porter, 400 pounds of Bayfield blueberries, juiced by hand. Bellsnickle Wheat Wine, holiday warmer aged one-and-a-half years.

    Brau Brother’s —

    Ring Neck Braun Ale, double nut brown ale with hints of bisque and walnut, 7%abv.

    Great Waters Brewing Co. —

    Pflugenpflagen Munich Celebration Ale, rich malty amber ale. Yuletide Ale, a Belgian inspired Abbey Ale. King Boreas, an imperial wit beer with lots of coriander and orange peel. Look for cask conditioned Blackwatch Oat Stout as usual. Up to four cask conditioned ales served daily.

    Granite City —

    Oktoberfest, sweet malty with hints of bisquet in October. Scottish ale in December.

    If you don’t find your favorite local brew listed here, use our web links to find out where and when it will be released.