Beer lovers will be able to try hundreds of different local brews at the Minnesota State Fair this year.
The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild's "Land of 10,000 Beers" exhibit will feature more than 300 beers from 75 Minnesota craft breweries and brewpubs – including 19 beer makers that weren't at the fair last year.
It's the only place at the fair with that many beers on tap. Pete Rifakes, owner of Town Hall Brewery and a Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild board member, told BringMeTheNews some local breweries are distributing to other establishments, but none will have a tap list like the guild's exhibit.
The exhibit, located in the Agriculture/Horticulture building, is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the fair's run.
For $10, beer drinkers can pick a flight of beer – there are six options: sweeter, lighter, darker, hoppier, Minnesota mix, and new this year is cicerone's choice. Each flight includes four 5-ounce samples.
The options for each flight are predetermined, but are expected to change throughout the State Fair's run – so if you go one day, the offerings the next day will likely be completely different, Rifakes said.
And Rifakes thinks the beers on the cicerone choice flight (a cicerone is a certified beer expert – like a sommelier is for wine) will go the fastest because it features some of the best beer Minnesota has to offer. (A list of some of the beers that'll be available on the cicerone choice flight are listed at the bottom of the page.)
Last year, Rifakes says they went through 740 kegs in 12 days. This year they expect to go through at least 750 – with kegs on Friday nights expected to only last about an hour.
What's on the cicerone flight?
Here are some of the beers that'll be available on the cicerone's choice flight, according to Rifakes:
- Schell's – Firebrick (a Great American Beer Festival medal winner)
- Badger Hill – White IPA (a Great American Beer Festival medal winner)
- Barley John's – Wild Brunette
- BauHaus Brew Labs – Schwandtoberfest
- Bent Paddle – Cold Press Black Ale ("It's fantastic, if you haven't had it,"
- Dangerous Man – Peanut Butter Porter and Chocolate Milk Stout
- State Fair Brewing Collaborative – Vienna Lager, Pils and Hefeweizen
- Fitger's Brewhouse – Apricot Wheat
- Fulton Brewery – 300 Mosaic IPA (Rifakes says he thinks it's the best beer Fulton has ever made.)
- Indeed Brewery – Lucy Sour Pale Ale
- Lift Bridge – Brewery Farm Girl Saison
- Lupulin Brewery – Belgian Blonde
- Modist – Toats
- Northbound Brew Pub – Big Jim
- Northgate Brewing – Wall's End
- Steel Toe Brewing – Size 7 and Size 4
- Town Hall Brewery – Three Hour Tour and Mango Mama
- Urban Growler – Cowbell Cream Ale
Learn about beer, too
Not only can you sip on some local suds, but you can also learn about the state's growing craft beer industry. There will be daily beer education programs featuring people from Minnesota's beer industry who will talk about everything from what goes into your beer, to different styles of beer, to the difference between a brewpub and production facility.
Find the full schedule on the guild's website here.
And if you have questions about the beer you're drinking – or the Minnesota craft beer industry – there will be people on hand to answer questions and talk all things beer. Rifakes says the guild partnered with the Better Beer Society and Minnesota-based craft beverage think tank BevCraft for that part of it.