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Doin’ Beers: 5 Minnesota Beers to Drink in May

Toast your mom with these mom-approved staples!

Nissa Mitchell

Friends, this right here is my 12th Doin’ Beers column for Racket. Twelve! Those of you who understand the intricate calculus of monthly beer columns know what that means: As of this column being published, I’ve been writing Doin’ Beers for a year. What’s more, the end of my first year Doin it with all you fine folks coincides with my birthday. What a coinkydink!

When I discovered this little bit of kismet, I spent some time reflecting—on my own mortality and the inescapable end that marches closer every day while my youth and vitality wither and fade, sure; but also on how to celebrate this momentous occasion. A year of Doin’ Beers, and a year of doin’ life. How do you celebrate such a thing? Then it hit me: obviously, you celebrate it with five Minnesota beers you can find all year-round. We’re talkin’ core-lineup beers. We’re talkin’ beers you’ve had so many times that their features start to blur into the ever present background radiation of life. We’re talkin’... beers I somehow haven’t covered yet, and which feel like glaring omissions, and which contribute to a problem I feel like I ought to address before I close out the year.

Oh, and maybe your mom will like them? I know this mom does. Bring your mom a pack of one of these this weekend, OK? Can you at least do that for her, after all she’s done for you? And if she doesn’t want it (or if she’s a jerk) feel free to drop it on my porch. I’ll be your mom going forward.

Fair State Brewing Cooperative: Mirror Universe

Hazy IPA / 7% ABV / 33 IBU

We’re flush with great hazy IPAs in Minnesota right now, including a huge variety of one-offs and collaborations—some of which are designed to put you on the floor as quickly as possible. In this environment, it was hard for me to justify covering Mirror Universe, which has been around for coming up on six years, and which is available at any decent liquor store. We’ve all tried it and loved it by now, have we not? But, you know what, just because it’s always there for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate it. Much like your mom.

Mirror Universe is soft, lightly sweet, and very lightly bitter. The hop profile (Citra, El Dorado, and Mosaic) gives it an aroma that’s equal parts berry, citrus, and tropical fruit. It’s a gateway hazy if there ever was one. If you know one of those unfortunate souls who still says absolutely absurd things like, “I don’t like hoppy beers, they’re too bitter,” in the year of our lord 2024, this is where they should start their education.

Fun fact: The hazy IPA I brew at home was inspired by Mirror Universe 🙏🏻.

Nissa Mitchell

Bauhaus Brew Labs: Wonderstuff

“Bohemian-style” pilsner / 5.4 ABV / 48 IBU

Bauhaus has long been one of my favorite Twin Cities breweries, ever since a college friend suggested we meet at their taproom on one of my trips back to Minnesota while I was living in Denver. I fell in love with Bauhaus’ red brick and cozy-industrial taproom, and even more so, I fell in love with their modern twists on German (and Czech, in this case) styles. Wonderstuff wasn’t my first Bauhaus beer, but it’s remained a go-to for many years now.

These days, you can get a number of more “faithful” bohemian/Czech pilsners, and don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious. However, the fusion of that style with American citrus hops is really a thing unto itself, and Bauhaus was well ahead of its time with Wonderstuff. These days, Arbeiter gives them a run for their money when it comes to “German styles with a twist,” but the friendly competition only serves to benefit all of us.

Nissa Mitchell

Pryes Brewing: Miraculum

“Midwest” (American) IPA / 6.4% ABV / 75 IBU

Remember the days before hazy IPAs, but after the initial West Coast IPA boom? The days when breweries didn’t quite know what was coming, but knew that the only way forward was continued iteration and experimentation, and that they couldn’t just keep slinging pine bombs forever? Pepperidge Farm Pryes remembers.

Miraculum is coming up on its 10-year anniversary this year, and we’re all the better for it. The hop profile skews more toward citrus than many “staple” IPAs from the era, and even has notes of “juice” from dry-hopping and a maltier flavor. However, it maintains the in-your-face bitterness IPAs were associated with before the hazy boom. 75 IBU? In today’s America?

Miraculum anticipated the move toward more malty citrus-based IPAs, but straddles the line between the before-times and the current landscape perfectly.

Nissa Mitchell

BlackStack Brewing: Local 755

Hazy IPA / 6.8% ABV / ?? IBU

A second hazy IPA on the list? Yes. Deal with it.

Local 755 was one of the first hazy IPAs I tried after moving back to Minnesota after a decade in Denver, and when I tried it, I knew that while I would miss some of the beers I was used to drinking, Minnesota would take care of me. Local 755 hits a little harder than Fair State’s Mirror Universe, and skews a little more toward orange citrus than Mirror Universe’s more across-the-board profile. The result is every bit as delicious, if not with a bit more bite.

Bonus points: The other week, I actually got my mom to try it, and she said it was very good. That reflects well on Local 755, and on my mom. My mom is pretty rad. Thanks for moving to Minnesota, mom!

Nissa Mitchell

Castle Danger Brewery: Castle Cream Ale

Cream ale / 5.5% ABV / ?? IBU

Yes, Jerard (Doin’ Beerus Emeritus) covered this the month before I took over for him. But did you actually think I’d write about year-round Minnesota staples and not cover the most eminently likable, drinkable, and approachable Minnesota beer of the last twenty years?!?! Seriously?!?! Are you mentally unwell in a non-stigmatizing context in which my primary concern is not the denigration of those with mental illness, but rather your personal wellbeing? Of course I was going to write about Castle Cream Ale!

Hot take: If you don’t like Castle Cream Ale, you do not like beer. If you do not like Castle Cream Ale, you do not like good things. If you do not like Castle Cream Ale, you do not like life. If you do not like Castle Cream Ale, we cannot be friends.

Like, I’m not setting an ultimatum or anything, that would be very toxic of me. However, if you have yet to see the malty, mildly complex, and creamy light—well, you better get the heck on that. Stat.

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