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Food & Drink

Doin’ Beers: 5 Minnesota Beers to Drink in October

Do you feel it? The fall beers in the forecast?

a pair of hands holding the black beer can and a glass
Jerard Fagerberg

Autumn is an unrivaled drinking month. Yes, summer gives you the long, sunny days, and winter gives you the shut-in coziness, but fall is a wide-open season. Some days are 70 degrees and call for a witbier on the porch. Others are 40 and rainy, inspiring marzens or, shit, even stouts. Just a cornucopia of drinking occasions. So pull on your buffalo check and load up on these pairings for harvest season.

StormKing Chilly Bin
Pilsner, 5.2% ABV, 50 IBU

I’ve been skeptical of StormKing Brewpub + Barbecue since the former Eat Street restaurant took over the former ONE Fermentary & Taproom spot in North Loop. The dramatic failure of ONE left a lasting impression, and who’s to say that Black Sheep Pizza knows anything about making beer?

Well, I finally made my way to that cursed spot on North Fifth Street, and those reservations were assuaged with one sip of Chilly Bin. Named after the New Zealander term for “cooler,” Chilly Bin is a zippy, crisp lager generously dry hopped with Motueka hops. The addition of Motueka hops give the light-bodied beer a crisp, floral finish. I can easily imagine chasing a half-rack of ribs with a cleansing pull of this Czech-meets-Kiwi beer.

a rosy red beer in a glass in a yard full of yellow wildflowersCredit: Jerard Fagerberg

Steel Toe Sissel
Sour Ale, 5.5% ABV, 5 IBU

It’s rare that Steel Toe gives us a new beer, but when I saw that they were doing both a cold IPA and a hazy IPA (their first ever, a collaboration with Barrel Theory), I stopped by the St. Louis Park taproom to see if I could snag a bottle. No such luck, as both sold out quickly, but I was able to discover a previous release that had totally passed me by.

Released back in July 2021, Sissel is a delicate sour that blends tart (rhubarb and lemon) with sweetness (raspberry and vanilla) into an almost wine-like depth of flavor. Maybe it’s the 22-oz. bottle format informing that comparison, but bring a bottle of Sissel to any dinner party, and it makes for a perfect dessert pairing, tightly complimenting chocolate cake or custard pie.

a beer stands on a stack of booksCredit: Jerard Fagerberg

Alloy My Precious Hazy IPA
New England IPA, 5.3% ABV, 34 IBU

Lord of the Rings is hot again, and so are hazy IPAs, so why not mix the two money-printing aesthetics into a single format? My Precious is the latest juice bomb out of Coon Rapids’ Alloy Brewing, and it makes use of two German-bred hops—Mandarina Bavaria and Pacifica—for a classical approach to this trendy style. Equal parts citrus and herbal, My Precious is a hazy that Tolkein himself would smile upon. And at a Hobbit-sized 5.3% ABV, it’s a delightfully easy drink. My first from Alloy, and a standout amongst the crowlers I picked up.

a beer glass and beer on a wooden tableCredit: Jerard Fagerberg

Unmapped (r)Evolve Project 1
Sour Ale, 6.8% ABV, N/A IBU

Unmapped got their mitts on a foeder in March 2021, but it wasn’t until this September that the Minnetonka brewery finally kicked off their (r)Evolve barrel-aged beer series. The first edition is a funky, straw-golden sour ale brewed with a totally unsubtle amount of Brettanomyces. The wild yeast gives the beer that classic, uncanny “barnyard” flavor that separates barrel-aged sours from the run-of-the-mill kettle sours, and it’s refreshing to see a brewery committing to doing things with the slow dedication a good mixed fermentation beer requires. The age of the beers shows, with layers of wood, apricot, pear, and hay emerging as you drink deeper into the bottle.

a beer can and glass on a wooden table

Ursa Minor Big Bad John
Triple IPA, 10.5% ABV, 86 IBU

Ursa Minor has been sending more and more beers into the Twin Cities market, giving locals down here a chance to get to know the Duluth brewery without the two-hour drive. But if you want to know what Ursa Minor is all about, you’ll want to pickup a four-pack of Big Bad John, their newest triple IPA. First released in 2019 and named for founder and CEO Ben Hugus’ father, the man who inspired the brewery, this is a walloping IPA. Though less boozy than many other TIPAs, there is plenty of flavor. Ribbons of caramel malt, sticky puddles of resin, scratchings of grapefruit pith—it’s all there. This is a beer with a gigantic personality, and now it’s just down the street.