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Food & Drink

Doin’ Beers: 5 Minnesota Beers to Drink In September

A toast to new arrivals (in more ways than one).

a little growler of heavy rotation beer next to a tall glass
Jerard Fagerberg

Drinking beer was far from a priority this last month.

I’m sorry, but it happens. August was the ninth month of my wife’s pregnancy, and while we were preparing for our second child to be born on August 16, he surprised us by joining us on August 9. It’s a good story, but I’ll save it for another time.

I did find some time to do some beers in celebration, though, so here are the best Minnesota beers I drank in my first month as a double dad.

Heavy Rotation Cool Head
Lager, 4.8% ABV, n/a IBU

When Blue Wolf Brewing closed in November 2021, it left Brooklyn Park without a brewery. But that was only for a short time, as Heavy Rotation, a small-batch brewery with a latent vinyl record theme, opened just five months later. So far, it’s been a marked upgrade to the Northwest suburb’s beer scene.

I finally made it to Heavy Rotation last month, and every single beer I sampled was a hit. But it’s Cool Head, a hoppy lager, that showcases the newly minted brewery’s ability to build a simple, well-balanced beer. Hoppy lagers are a huge trend right now, but a heavy-handed hop dose will quickly ruin the style’s appeal. That’s not the case with Cool Head, which prevails as a highlight of Heavy Rotation’s early run in Brooklyn Park.

fest coast's blue and yellow canCredit: Jerard Fagerberg

Bauhaus Fest Coast
Oktoberfest, 5.9% ABV, 20 IBU

Oktoberfest is a polarizing beer style. As soon as marzens start appearing on menus in late summer, people start losing their minds. Maybe it’s because the style is considered passé, or maybe it’s because we don’t want to let go of summer. Whatever the case, Bauhaus Brew Labs has recognized the waning enthusiasm, and even though their Schwandtoberfest is one of the best-known marzens in the state, they released two new German beers to supplement the classic in their new Festbox mixed pack.

One of those is Fest Coast, a modernized festbier that more closely matches the beers served in Bavaria today. It’s much lighter in body than a traditional Oktoberfest, with a more delicate malt flavor and a crisper finish. If you find yourself weighed down by more syrupy marzens or thirsting for something with more of a Noble hop bite, Fest Coast will satisfy you during this upcoming ‘fest season.

Fest Coast is being released along with Dampf Punk, a German steam beer that co-founder Matt Schwandt has been homebrewing since at least 2010. Bauhaus will hold their annual Schwandtoberfest at the Northeast brewery on September 17.

yellow beer cans with splatter painted lucha masks on themCredit: Jerard Fagerberg

Falling Knife Academy of Doom
Pale Ale, 5.7% ABV, n/a IBU

It’s very simple: If you put wrestling iconography on your beer can, I will write about it. And the worlds of craft beer and indie wrestling have never been closer, to the point where Falling Knife is already releasing a second beer with luchador masks on the can. This year’s Academy of Doom release is reformulated for maximum summer refreshment, with an assortment of Vic Secret, Australian Topaz, and Galaxy hops making the re-release a juicier take that explodes with the kind of grapefruit, passionfruit, and mandarin orange flavor you’d expect from a DDH IPA. 

Japanese wrestlers Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Ultimo Dragon, and the Great Sasuke adorn the label, replacing the Mexican luchadores from the last version, a clever nod to how this pale ale has undergone a transformation to something familiar yet worlds apart.

black can with colorful lab equipment doodlesCredit: Jerard Fagerberg

56 Brewing Weird Science
Double IPA, 8.2% ABV, 54 IBU

For their latest release, 56 Brewing went back to the lab. They took two bleeding edge beer ingredients—the new Cryo Pop mix from Yakima Chief hops and Cosmic Punch ale yeast from Omega Yeast—to supersaturate a hazy IPA with staggering amounts of fruity juice. Rick and Morty shit aside, Weird Science is a fascinating beer that shows how the Northeast brewery is experimenting with new formulations in a market that is already flush with hazies from every other brewer. This one stands out not only for the ingenuity of the brewers but also for the way it accelerates the high notes of a beer style that was starting to feel flat.

beer can with pizza on it next do a glass of beerCredit: Jerard Fagerberg

BlackStack x Bricksworth Stacking Bricks: Universally Panned
Hazy IPA, 7.2% ABV, n/a IBU

Bricksworth Beer Co. ain’t no Pizza Hut. The Burnsville brewpub was founded by the BlackStack folks, and they’ve kept apace with their progenitors since they opened in 2020. There’s just one problem—because they’re a brewpub and wholesalers have a stranglehold on Minnesota beer laws, Bricksworth isn’t allowed to distribute their beer. So instead, Bricksworth head brewer Tyler Ostlund conspired with BlackStack to brew some of his recipes in St. Paul and distribute them as part of the Stacking Bricks series.

OK, dumb legal shit dispensed with, the first entry into the series called Universally Panned is a great emblem of what goes down in Burnsville. A silky NE IPA boosted up on Mosaic and Strata hops, Universally Panned is tactically designed to cut through pizza grease and buffalo sauce. Two of these cloudy brews is nearly a meal in and of itself, so if Bricksworth is outside of your DoorDash radius, just double up your session.