September: Apparently still ’tis the season where Oktoberfests and summer shandies can hold hands because it’s still warm, but we’re starting to really love fall and drink fall-ish harvesty beer. We sent our beer festival trend correspondent Isabelle Wattenberg to get at the 140+ breweries of the Autumn Brew Review by the MN Craft Brewers to tell us what’s going on and here’s what she (mostly) remembered:
First things first: This correspondent arrived in NE well-prepared, thanks to the ABR app with its plan-your-itinerary feature (dominating my to-dos: sours, imperial stouts, and everything from Lift Bridge). Also important: The rain on Saturday was #fakenews. Pooh-poohing the stormy forecast proved an acceptable decision, as just one shower skimmed the grounds and had zilch effect on dispersing the line for Surly, which stretched about ten tents deep for most of the afternoon. Darkness might be the pied piper of beers.
A few things we particularly appreciated from the Review:
—The pop-up brass band, always prompting a skip or two from the crowd (props to the guy who carried the tuba the entire time)
—Couple costumes: notably one pair clad in dirndl-and-lederhosen, and another in shark-head hoodies. Pro Tip: it’s much easier to keep track of your partner when they’re dressed like a shark. Plaid shirts just don’t provide the same distinction.
—Crowns and headdresses made of woven hops. Yes.
—Aside from an understandable explosion in gourd-forward brews, the spectrum of offerings had a summer pie feel: standouts include Wild Mind’s Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Peach Silla Ale and Barrel Theory’s Key Sublime.
This writer’s runaway dark beer champ goes to Bent Paddle’s Barrel Aged Double Shot Black Ale with Coconut and Cocoa, with an honorable tip of brim to F-Town’s Moon Boots Peanut Butter Porter. And gotta give some N/A appreciation to Prye’s Arnold Palmer. Refreshing sip and then some.