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Food & Drink

Doin’ Beers: 5 Minnesota Beers to Drink in April

A penultimate beer roundup from Racket’s outgoing beer columnist.

9:30 AM CDT on April 17, 2023

All photos by Jerard Fagerberg

Wanna be the next Doin’ Beers writer? Wanna flood this local publication with pictures from inside your house? Wanna have Racket's Jay Boller Gchat you for a quote on every beer-related story the staff publishes?

All that could be yours.

As I announced recently on Twitter (DON’T UNFOLLOW ME), I'll soon be leaving Minneapolis, and the post of Racket Beer Columnist will be vacant. Sad, but also… intriguing. If you think you have the chops to be the person who goes beer shopping once a month and tells an entire state what they should be drinking, I encourage you to email Racket's Em Cassel and state your case.

Luce Line Heartland Hefeweizen
Hefeweizen, 5.3% ABV, n/a IBU

If you listened to my recent appearance on the Sota Pod, you’ll know I have a deep affection for Plymouth’s Luce Line Brewing. Not only do they have a kickass taproom atmosphere (including pull-tabs, which I love), but they also nail the basic beers in a refreshing way. Simple, classic, accessible. Heartland Hefeweizen is emblematic of this. With a light banana ester and a pale wheat flavor, it hits all the German high points, but this Hefe comes with the addition of floral Tettnang hops, which are traditionally used in German lagers. The result is a sharp, biting finish that elevates this from a by-the-book classic to a next-level local.

Venn Maibock
Maibock, 6% ABV, 20 IBU

Maibock season is the shortest beer season. As soon as this pale, hop-forward German style comes on the market, it’s gone, spirited away with the Minnesota spring. But now that Venn Brewing has their Malbock out in 16 oz. cans, there’s a lot more of this fleeting spring beer on the shelves. Venn’s Maibock is a great addition to the season: Malty, but not to the point of being overbearing. Hoppy, but not to the point of scraping your palate. A perfect confluence of lightness and sharpness, just like spring should be.

Disgruntled Brewmanji
Col IPA, 7.1% ABV, n/a IBU

As the aforementioned Cassel explained back in November 2021, Cold IPAs are typically “clear, hoppy, easy-drinking.” In that same story, Dangerous Man brewer Lee Ankrum called the style “the antithesis of the hazy IPA.” Well, Disgruntled Brewing said “fuck all that” and dropped the juiciest, cloudiest Cold IPA that’s ever been brewed in Minnesota.

Brewmanji makes great use of the Nectaron hop from New Zealand to overload this beer with pineapple and mango flavors. It’s practically dripping with fruitiness. But what about that crisp, pale finish that the style was founded on? Buddy, it’s got that too. This is an alchemical beer, totally weird, but that's the speed of innovation that you need to keep apace in the IPA game.

Montgomery Peanut Buster Porter
Porter with peanut butter, 6.3% ABV, 45 IBU

Thanks to Dangerous Man, the peanut butter Porter is one of the defining beers of Minnesota. Every time a brewery rolls out a Reese’s-flavored dark beer, they get measured against that standard. Sisyphus had a hit with their Stout Safe Lady (get it?) before it got retired in 2021, and F-Town’s PB Porter was a great, fun beer, until they closed shop in 2018. 

Montgomery Brewing released Peanut Buster in 2021, but now that the Le Sueur County brewery has been pushing cans in the metro, I decided to see how it stands up to the original. Replete with flavors of charred toast and honey-roasted peanuts, it satisfies a very nostalgic urge. It’s like a middle school breakfast made into a dessert beer. Definitely up to the caliber of its forbear.

Nouvelle Oreo Cheesecake
Imperial Pastry Stout, 12.5% ABV, n/a IBU

This isn’t the kind of beer I normally do in Doin’ Beers, but what’s the point in being cynical about pastry Stouts anymore? People already hate critics for being stern and humorless (note to my successor), and turning my nose up at this glass of cake batter from Robbinsdale’s Nouvelle Brewing would make me a fool. 

Oreo Cheesecake is everything it claims to be. It tastes like a Cheesecake Factory menu item blended and fermented. The body is syrupy and thick, with a gorgeous fudge brownie flavor and a baked biscuit finish. I got a crowler of this 12.5% dessert, which was enough to set me teetering on the edge of liver failure and diabetes, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t have fun getting there.

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