Food and brew roundup: New beers, partnerships and expansions


Beer drinkers and doughnut lovers, rejoice!

Here's a roundup of the latest restaurant and brewery news in the Twin Cities.

Local food, local beer

Gavin Kaysen, a star New York City chef from Bloomington, Minnesota, announced earlier this year he'd be opening a new restaurant in Minneapolis' North Loop called Merchant.

Kaysen has said he'll use local food on Merchant's menu – and that includes beer, according to Eater Minneapolis. St. Paul-based Flat Earth Brewing Co. will make an exclusive beer to be served at the new restaurant. This news was confirmed by the restaurant on social media.

According to Eater:

"Flat Earth's house beer is a Belgian Dubbel that will be called The Mercantile. The nose provides aromas of cherry and caramel, while the brew is dark copper in color. It has a medium-full body with flavor notes of dried fruit; cherries and raisins and finishes dry on the palate."

Merchant remains on track to open at the International Design Center building (211 North First Street) in November.

Kaysen was the long-time chef at the Michelin-starred Cafe Boulud under world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud. Earlier this month, he launched an introductory video on his new endeavor:

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Flat Earth also recently announced a new event. The brewery is teaming up with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) to host a musical performance, beer tasting and brewery tour at its St. Paul taproom, the Pioneer Press reports. Those interested in attending the Sept. 27 event can purchase tickets for $25 on the SPCO's website or by calling the SPCO ticket office at 651-291-1144.

Hans' Bakery expanding

Hans' Bakery is planning to expand, less than a year after it reopened in Anoka.

Kelly Olsen, the bakery's owner, told the Star Tribune she plans to open a branch location of the bakery in the former home of Minnetonka Mud Coffee Cafe in Navarre.

The bakery's signature Beehive, a dome-shaped pastry filled with pastry cream and topped with sliced almonds, along with nearly every other item featured at the popular Anoka eatery, will be on the menu at the western suburb's shop. The food, and full line of coffee beverages, will be delivered daily, the newspaper says.

Olsen said she doesn't know yet whether she'll open more bakeries in the Twin Cities. She told the newspaper, "I have stopped guessing where life is going."

Wild, Jack Daniels strike deal

The Xcel Energy Center's Headwaters Bar and Restaurant will be renovated and rebranded as the Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Club as part of a multiyear partnership between the Minnesota Wild and the Tennesse whiskey distillery Jack Daniels, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports.

The 220-seat, club-level restaurant's menu will be updated to incorporate Jack Daniel's products, Wild spokesman Ryan Stanzel told the Business Journal.

The deal also includes TV and in-arena advertising and a Jack Daniel's drink cart in the arena's concourse, according to Sports Pro Media.

The Wild opens their season at home against the Colorado Avalanche Oct. 9.

Schell's expanding sour beer

New Ulm-based August Schell Brewing Co. is bringing back its 78-year-old cypress lager tanks to brew a fourth edition of its Noble Star Collection of specialty Berliner Weisses, according to a news release.

The Growler, a magazine for beer enthusiasts, says Schell's is expanding its collection of sour beers after acquiring a new 12,000-square foot facility at an abandoned farm in New Ulm, where the brewery will house its 10 cypress lager tanks and a tasting room to advance its sour beer program.

Schell's bought the tanks in 1936 after the repeal of Prohibition, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal says. They were used until 1993 and were long forgotten, until a few years ago when the family-owned brewery began restoring them.

The brewery, known for its German pilsner, says sour beers are one of the oldest in the world, but are just starting to become popular in the United States. It recently launched its Black Forest Cherry sour beer, which is brewed in the cypress lager tanks.

“This series is so fun for us because while it’s backed in tradition, the brews are absolutely not traditional,” Jace Marti, Schell’s brew master and sixth generation member of the Schell’s family, said in the release. “We suggest pairing Black Forest Cherry with rich meats or a sweet dessert to contrast the sourness.”

Another sour beer, Dawn of Aurora, will be released in November, the Business Journal says.

The Business Journal says sour beers take longer to brew, which means Schell's will only produce about 1,000 barrels a year, compared to the 135,000 barrels of its more familiar brews.

Dinkytown Helper Hut

What started as an April Fool's joke is becoming reality.

General Mills' pop-up Helper Hut was open in Minneapolis' Dinkytown, near the University of Minnesota, Friday night and early Saturday morning, offering free Helper dinners in three varieties – Crunchy Taco, Four Cheese Lasagna and Cheeseburger Macaroni, according to a news release.

General Mills is considering bringing the Helper Hut to other schools in the state, as well as across the country.

The Star Tribune says sales in the dry dinner mix category have been weak in recent years, so General Mills recently rebranded the Hamburger Helper product and dropped the "hamburger" while upping its promotional activities.

Also in Dinkytown, a Starbucks and a Great Clips will open in the vacant space below the luxury student apartments at Venue at Dinkytown, the Minnesota Daily reports.

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