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Storied Minnesota brewery wins gold at US Open Beer Championship

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A Minnesota brewery that's no stranger to winning awards brought home the gold medal at the U.S. Open Beer Championship earlier this month.

New Ulm-based August Schell Brewing, founded in 1860, won for its Hefeweizen in the German Hefeweizen category at the competition.

The event drew around 4,000 beers brewed by more than 20 international breweries who were competing for gold in 90 different categories, U.S. Open Beer Championship says. The judges, who rate the beers after a blind taste test, announced the winners this month.

Schell's, which has won awards at the competition in the past, also brought home silver for its Firebrick brew in the American Amber/California Common category.

Shakopee's Badger Hill Brewing, which has also been honored at the U.S. Open Beer Championship, took home the silver for its White IPA in the Out of Bounds Pale Ale category.

These awards are the latest in a string of recognition Minnesota breweries have received since the craft brewing industry took off following the passage of the “Surly bill” in 2011.

Sunday growlers in St. Cloud

Here's a look at other beer news from around the state:

This past weekend, St. Cloud became the latest city to allow breweries to sell growlers on Sundays, with Granite City offering them to patrons this past weekend, the St. Cloud Times reports. Other brewers are expected to do the same in the coming weeks.

Now more than 20 cities in the state have approved Sunday growler sales in the weeks since Gov. Mark Dayton signed the so-called “Bloody Mary bill”, which allows cities to decide whether to allow them to be sold.

Dan Schwartz, president of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, told the St. Cloud Times that Sunday growler sales are popular, giving some breweries their top sales. He noted some patrons come out specifically to celebrate the ability to buy beer on a Sunday.

Schwartz also told the paper that the passage of the law is boosting the craft beer industry in Minnesota, noting the Guild has 79 brewpub or brewery members and expects to have more than 100 by the end of the year.

Craft beer events

The craft beer boom in Minnesota has prompted numerous beer-related events as well. Over the weekend, the American Homebrewers Association held a local rally at Surly Brewing Company, where homebrewers from around the state and country got to trade brewing tips and connect with other homebrewers, WCCO reports.

The Minnesota Brewery Running Series – a group that holds casual runs to local craft breweries – is in its fourth year and it is seeing business boom, the Star Tribune reported. Its mailing list is sent to more than 4,500 people, many of whom participate in one or more of the 30 events planned for the year, the paper notes.

Brews in Duluth

Beer enthusiasts aren't just found in the Twin Cities – the effect of the craft beer boom can be seen around the state.

Duluth Homebrew Supply opened in Duluth this past weekend, making brewing supplies more readily available on the North Shore, FOX 21 reports. The store also plans to offer brewing classes in August to help people perfect their craft.

Also in Duluth, the All Pints North summer beer festival will be held next Saturday, July 25, and will feature beer from dozens of Minnesota craft breweries, as well as some national beers.

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