by Patrick Doran
When you hear radio ads for a beer festival on multiple mainstream stations, you know it has grown into a staple event of the beer scene and beyond. This festival has an excellent space and does a great job of attracting many of the new and up and coming breweries in Minnesota and beyond. This year's festival was no different as Bent Paddle, Bemidji Brewing, Dangerous Man, and Bad Weather Brewing were all there just to name a few.
What stood out? I'm going to mention two beers. One got released recently in 22oz. bottles and one is only available in outstate Minnesota. Bemidji Brewing is a small brewery with a buddy and former co-worker Tom Hill at the helm as a brewer. I got a chance to try his Brett Saison and all I can say is it was somehow a better version of Boulevard's Saison-Brett with more fruity tart character from the wild yeast. This was by far my favorite beer of the festival.
The next beer that stood out was Deschutes Fresh Squeezed. This is all hop flavor with nearly no hop bitterness. There is a big juicy citrus fruit hop flavor and aroma going on with a slightly sweet malt finish. I love bitter IPAs but this is a pretty impressive brewing feat to have a hoppy beer finish so clean. After trying this beer and being impressed I said a few more hellos, tried a few more new brews and hit the road just as it started to downpour. Good timing.
If you're looking for a festival that will allow you to get a feel for the up and coming breweries in Minnesota St. Paul Summer Beer Fest is the one to go to. It's well run as Juno and Mark have been putting it on for quite a few years now. Expect to have a good time and be amazed at the growth in the industry if you go next year.
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