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Surly's 'finer dining' restaurant opens this week; distillery sets up shop in Minneapolis

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With patio season (mostly) in full swing and summer just around the corner, there's good news this week from the Twin Cities brewing industry.

Minnesota's craft brewing industry has transformed the face of the catering landscape in recent years, and another major step will be taken this Friday by Surly Brewing.

The maker of Furious opened its highly-anticipated destination brewery in northeast Minneapolis in December, and is following it up this week with the opening of its "finer dining" restaurant on the beer hall's upper level, which according to its website, will be called "Brewer's Table."

The eatery will seat 85 inside and 28 on its outdoor deck, and will feature a frequently-changing menu with plenty of sharing options and individual plates.

And in an innovative twist, the menu will also feature "beer and a bump" dishes that pairs a meal with a Surly beer that complements it – but adds a "surprise" element in that diners won't know what they are getting until it arrives on their table.

Craft gin, vodka and cider makers to challenge beer dominance

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It's not all about beer in the Twin Cities, with a new craft distillery setting up shop in south Minneapolis with the aim of releasing its first batches of craft vodka and gin in time for summer.

The Business Journal reports Lawless Distilling, the brainchild of couple Nate and Kirsten Karnitz and business partner Chris Kulzer, signed a lease for a unit at 2619 S. 28th Ave., and is now putting the "finishing touches" on its new distillery.

It has been operational for the last month though, and will initially make 500 to 600 bottles of spirits every month using locally sourced red wheat, the website notes.

And cider makers are getting in on the act as well, with the Pioneer Press reporting the owner of Spring Valley-based Loon Juice is preparing for a big summer.

The business (a part of the Four Daughters Winery) has grown from selling 5-liter mini kegs at stores 10 months ago to being in the process of building an 11,000 square foot cidery.

Having expanded during the year to selling kegs and bottles in liquor stores around the state, the company's trademark cider – made using Minnesota's signature Honeycrisp apples – will be available in can form before Memorial Day weekend, the newspaper notes.

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