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Having a barrel of fun with the ultimate 6-pack pick of Minnesota brews

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What's Minnesota's best beer? And why stop at just one?

Last week, WCCO-TV polled its viewers, who said their top pick is Surly Furious. In the can.

Now the Star Tribune's has assembled the Six-Pack, the best of the increasingly crowded field of Minnesota brews. The half-dozen standouts among local beers are what the paper called "the road-pavers, game-changers and red-hot newcomers."

One brew was the top pick of 1,200 readers; the others were chosen by a panel.

Who got the gig to sample all those suds? The paper set up a six-person panel to sip their way through rounds of blind taste-testing. It was composed of experienced beer lovers who are also writers, home brewers, educators and even includedMinnesota’s first certified cicerone--that's the equivalent of a beer sommelier.

The six-picked include--drumroll, please--Summit Extra Pale Ale, Grain Belt Premium, Steel Toe Size 7, Schell’s Pils and Bent Paddle Black Ale. Surly Furious was the choice of readers.

So did they get it right?

There are a lots of award-winning Minnesota beers out there, among the the most recent: Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery’s “Twisted Trace,” Summit's True Brit IPA, Schell’s Oktoberfest and Surly Brewing Company’s Pentagram.

What's your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.

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