Right around this time of year, I have less of a tolerance for face-numbing temperatures. We’re so close (so close!) to spring, yet have to endure another five weeks of winter-like weather. This is the longest part of the cold stretch, and if I didn’t fill my weekends with fun activities, I’m fairly certain I’d implode.
And then along comes Winterfest February 27-28 at St. Paul’s Union Depot (the former train station), 214 4th St. E., and all is right with the world. You can shake off the winter chill by warming up with craft beer samples. It’s indoors, there’s live music, and the beer! Oh, the beer. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways … Barley John’s Brewpub, Bent Paddle, Surly, August Schell, Dangerous Man, Fitger’s Brewhouse, Indeed, Steel Toe, Summit, and Town Hall Brewery. And that’s just those who are pouring both nights. The total weekend lineup is much, much longer than that. For a complete list of who will be pouring Friday and Saturday, click here.
I love that Winterfest is a celebration of Minnesota craft beer, an event filled to the brim with beer-lovers, breweries and brewpubs, allied trade members and partners (the weekend festival is presented by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild) and hardworking volunteers. If you’ve been curious about a new (or established) brewery or brewpub, this is the perfect time to sample their beer without committing to a six-pack. When else do you have so many great Minnesota beers under one roof? And in addition to beer, beer, everywhere, beer, there will also be hearty food available.
After you sip your way through Union Depot, you can vote for your favorite beer. The brewery or brewpub with the most votes will win the “Great Snowshoe” traveling trophy and entry for two beers to the Great American Beer Festival September 24-25 in Denver. (I don’t know much about the Great American Beer Festival, but it sure does look like a good time.)
Tickets are $75 and up (discounts are offered to those who purchase a weekend package). For more information, visit mncraftbrew.org.