I promise I won’t always write all the time about beer, but right now, Rochester is finally enjoying its long-awaited brewery boom, and I can’t ignore it. It’s gotten to the point where even I like beer (which is kind of a big deal).
Rochester’s breweries are getting local attention, sure, but they’re also feeling the love from reviewers and media from further afield, too.
Twin-Cities-based event company GetKnit has just put together some pretty cool multiple-stop brewery tours this fall, including a tour featuring several of our own local brewers in a Southern Minnesota Brewery Tour.
Once you have your ticket, you meet up with the group at a Park-and-Ride lot in Roseville. A charter coach then whisks you away south and makes its first stop at August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm for some history, tasting and shopping.
Next up is Mankato Brewing Company for some beer (obviously) and pizza for lunch, then on to Stagecoach Brewing Company (Mantorville Brewing Company) in Mantorville.
That’s when the bus rolls into Rochester, which (let’s face it) is the real star of the show. It’ll stop first at LTS Brewing Company for their small-batch lagers and ales. Next up in Rochester is Forager Brewery for a few more tastings, and the bus party culminates at Grand Rounds Brewpub, where the group will be able to order from a limited menu for dinner while enjoying more beer samplings.
The tour lasts from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is offered on two dates: Nov. 7 and Nov. 21. They peg the value of this tour at $229, but tickets are just $119 if you get in on the early ordering price.
Now, I know it seems strange to plug a brewery tour that starts and ends in the Twin Cities metro area, but you get to make those other stops outside Rochester — and it might be enlightening to hear what beer aficionados from “the outside” think of our little scene here. Or, here’s an idea: Pass along that tip to your northern friends and neighbors, and then plan to meet up with them and their group when they arrive here.
Want to check out brewery scenes in other areas of Minnesota? GetKnit has a couple other tours on offer, including a Central Minnesota Tour (St. Cloud and Nisswa areas) and a North Shore Brewery Tour, hitting up the exciting brewing scene in Duluth and Two Harbors. Check them all out at getknitevents.com/public-events.
More beer fun close to home
If you’d rather keep your new beer experiences closer to home, a couple establishments have cool events coming up.
If they miraculously still have a ticket or two, snag the last few for this weekend’s beer dinner at Grand Rounds Brewpub (4 Third Ave. SW). Chef Alex Sjoberg has put together an ambitious menu with selections such as beer mussels, shrimp and grits, duck cassoulet, chicken tikka masala and carrot cake. Each of the six courses is paired with one of Grand Rounds’ unique brews, and attendees will be the first to taste head brewer Steve Finnie’s newest brew called Slow-Drip Coffee Stout.
The beer dinner is slated from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, and is limited to 30 people. Tickets are $80 per person, which includes tax, gratuity, a complimentary pint glass and two bonus beers.
Crooked Pint (2723 Commerce Drive NW, off West Circle) has been hosting several “tap invasions” from featured brewers such as Lift Bridge, Indeed and Fulton. During these events, brewers bring along some of their best beers and some of their more unique or hard to find.
Mark your calendar for Wednesday, Oct. 28, when Surly Brewing Company takes over the taps at Crooked Pint. You can contact Crooked Pint for more details.