Last Saturday, Erik and I ventured all the way to friggin Stillwater for the Brewer’s Bazaar. Stillwater is gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but trekking out there and then dealing with the weekend crowd is not so pretty. It takes place on the Avalon river boat and you get to sample beer from regional breweries. Here are some highlights and judgments.
The first highlight was that it was on a boat. On the river. Double win. The second highlight was you got a brat. A brat! Perfect for taking a beer break and filling your tummy with actual food. Onto the beer/breweries.
Bad Weather Brewing Co.
This newer brewery is a stand out. Their beer was noticeably great. Migration and Windvane were big winners for me. Check them out if you can.
Lift Bridge Minnesota Tan
Could I have hated this beer any more? The answer is no. It is terrible. It is a Belgian tripel infused with lingonberry and it is all sorts of wrong. It has a pinkish hue and frankly tastes like Berryweiss that someone watered down, spit in, and laced with NutraSweet. Who is this marketed toward? At 8.5% ABV, I’m convinced it is for To Catch a Predator type weirdo pervs.
Big Wood Brewery
The Bad Axe Imperial IPA is just too big and well, bad. Total mouth violation. The Morning Wood breakfast stout is fine. It’s just that I’ve had way better. This brewery is trying too hard. They had a couple of blond gals pouring the beers while a brewer/owner(?) schmoozed all sloppy-like. This beer will appeal to the type of guy who actually thinks Hooters serves excellent wings.
I don’t have much to say about the other beers/breweries except that I’m eager to try more from Tin Whiskers. And I’ll just remind everyone that Flat Earth really is good beer. I previously thought Lucid was forgettable (when I sampled it at North Coast Nosh) but now I appreciate the subtlety of their beer. Except for Duo, that was bold but very good.
I do want to touch the fact that WHO is pouring your beer at these events, really does make an impression. The guys at Trail Slap were SO nice and gave as much info as they could during the pours. Eager beavers just like their logo. (They are BRAND new out of Bayport). I also really liked the guys over at Lucid. Very friendly and helpful. They put young, cute boys over at Excelsior (who were very popular with the bachelorette party) but weren’t that helpful or informative. The guy pouring at Surly was engrossed in conversation and totally ignored me so that put me off.
I just found out that Tin Whiskers Wheatstone Bridge won the best beer. I voted for Flat Earth Sunburst Belgian and Erik voted for Bad Weather Migration.
Would I go again? Mehh. The price was better than other beer events but it was in Stillwater. I liked that I could try an array of MN beers in the confines of a 3 level paddle boat rather than a sprawling dabbler type event that I need a map for. There was a geezer band and they were precious and sang some Huey Lewis & The News so that was great. And I want to add that the guys from the Stillwater Rotary Club were very nice and helpful and they raised money for third world vaccinations or something.
On that note, my taproom guide is up and my 2nd Weekend Brewery Report should be posted tomorrow for Eater. Cheeeaahs!