It’s the Most Wonderful Time… for a Beer

It’s the Most Wonderful Time… for a Beer

The holidays are all about families, so who decided we should squander our tryptophan buzz getting trampled at a local Wal-Mart?

Reject the commercialism of Black Friday and instead join us in Excelsior as we kick off advent in style with the traditional German festival known as Christkindlsmarkt.

Running Friday through Sunday Thanksgiving weekend, the all-ages festival offers Christmas crafts for the kids, music, traditional German food, a beer garden and much more.

Even St Nick himself is scheduled to make an appearance and he’s bringing live reindeer and a sleigh to add to the holiday revelry.

The fire pits will be lit, the brews will be flowing and the air filled with music.

Scheduled bands:

Friday:  6-8pm David Leduc,  9-11pm Chris Kelly Band.

Saturday:  2-5pm Alpensterne for your German needs.  Soon after, we turn it up w/ Alive (Pearl Jam) from 6-8pm, then Subliminal (Sublime) 9-11pm.

The fun begins at 10 am  on Friday and runs throughout the weekend so grab the kids and head over for a pretzel, a pint and some holiday fellowship.   It is truly a tradition like no other.

Christkindlsmarkt: light on vowels, but heavy on family fun.


Historic Excelsior Personified- Mr. Jimmy

PrintHistoric Excelsior Personified- Mr. Jimmy


What makes Excelsior a superior place to live is her people. Despite being nestled in the suburbs of a major metropolitan area, the culture of small town values and the traditions of this community have persevered.

This is apparent from Excelsior’s main street to her town festivals to the continuing tradition of Excelsior Elementary School’s annual Halloween parade.  History is important here, as are the values that built this town. It makes Excelsior a truly unique place to live and work.

Perhaps no one personified this attitude quite as much as Jimmy Hutmaker. The late great city ambassador, he knew every local by name and was a fixture on and around Water Street for decades. Always up for a chat, the cigar-chomping legend even claimed his place in the rock history books by inspiring a young Mick Jagger– such was his way with people.

Jimmy epitomized life in a small town where residents take time to get to know each other and take care of their own. As both the recipient and the benefactor of this fine tradition he taught us that you can’t always get what you want, but as part of a community, you really do get what you need.

This is why we each year we brew a tribute beer to Mr Jimmy. Not only for what he did, but for what he embodied.   With each award-winning brew, he finally gets his cherry, and we all get to celebrate his legacy. Not only a win-win proposition, but a fine new tradition for a city that already has so many.

  • Now available in the taproom Mr. Jimmy’s Baltic Porter, our 2015 tribute beer to Jimmy Hutmaker.
    • Made w/ Licorice root and aged on cherry wood, this classic, true to style, Baltic porter will make you realize you got what you wanted!

More info:




National American Beer Day- Finally, a fake holiday for the rest of us



The greeting card companies have contrived many a holiday.

Virtually all of these involve some half-baked and poorly masked excuse to either make husbands feel guilty, drive sales or both. Just a week and a half ago something called Sweetest Day came and went.

Did you notice?

We were frankly dubious of the entire practice, until we checked the fake holiday calendar and saw that October 27th is something called National American Beer Day (NABD).  Suddenly our attitude changed.

A chance to crack a few cold ones on a random Tuesday in October? We’re in.

Are you new to the rich and storied tradition of NABD? So is everyone.

Since the whole thing is pretty loosely defined, we decided to lend a hand and add some structure.

Effective immediately…

  • Greeting cards of any kind are not allowed for NABD. A simple left-handed handshake delivered while clutching a malt beverage will suffice as acknowledgement of the High Holiday.
  • Buffalo wings (a quintessential American food) are now the preferred food accompaniment for all NABD celebrations. Also acceptable, apple pie. If celebrating alone- Funyuns and beef jerky.
  • Consumption of cheap swill at NABD sanctioned events is verboten. Since Belgians and South Africans own the two major breweries, this should be obvious. Support your local brewery and their superior products.

That’s it, pretty straightforward. If an enterprising young EBC aficionado could see to it to post these regulations on Wikipedia, we’ll make this thing quasi-official.  Thank you in advance and Happy National American Beer Day.

  • What did we miss? Got an idea for another new NABD tradition? Post it on our Facebook page.
  • Looking for last minute NABD gifts? Growler koozies makes a fantastic present and are available in the taproom all this week –with special NABD pricing (not really).

Brews, Walter and a Fireside Chat

Brews, Walter and a Fireside Chat

Corporate retreats typically involve C-suite executives jetting off to luxury hotels to squander shareholder money on lavish vacations under the guise of discussing strategy. These involve plenty of consultants, P & L statements, expense accounts and probably a little adultery.

At EBC none of that is our style. Our focus is elsewhere, primarily on brewing superior beer and secondarily on slaying walleye.  So it is appropriate that two of our owners and a few close advisors recently set out for a different kind of corporate retreat.  This one held in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area where minimalist camping met malt beverage and some solid fishing.

It was a chance to put the day-to-day tactics of running a brewery aside and focus a little more on enjoying God’s creation and focusing on the why behind this business.

Sitting around a campfire our two owners along with a few good buds came up with the following founding principles– not only where we stand, but who we are.

Excelsior Brewing Founding Principles

  • At Excelsior Brewing we believe a life well-lived is lived outdoors
  • We believe that genuine people and majestic natural resources make Minnesota a superior place to live
  • We believe in slowing down, taking the scenic route and catching your own dinner
  • We believe warm sun, a cold beer and a live bite nurture your soul
  • We believe we have a responsibility to leave a legacy to the next generation
  • We believe that what you drink matters, so you should make it great

A little hokey perhaps, but knowing why you are in business gives you clarity to tackle the everyday tasks while still retaining your focus.  For us, the retreat served as a good reminder that it’s not all taproom parties and shenanigans, though there are plenty of those too.

  • See all the pictures from our corporate retreat on Facebook:   Pictures
  • Got ideas on adding to our list of Founding Principles? Share them via twitter @ excelsiorbrew    #XLCRBWCA

Cool things to follow…

A YEAR IN THE WILDERNESS:   This fall, follow explorers Dave and Amy Freeman on their next adventure advocacy expedition:
spending a year in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to help protect the area
from the threat of proposed sulfide-ore copper mining on the Wilderness edge.  Trip dates are September 23, 2015 – September 22, 2016 and you can follow them here:

A Year in the Wildnerness: Save the Boundary Waters







Docktoberfest 2015 – Harvesting of the Docks

blog poster

We’ve all heard of Oktoberfest. Two Austirans get married. Lots of flowers, plenty of beer, and we celebrate it in September for some reason. Well we like it as much as the next guy here at Excelsior, but around these parts we celebrate an even prouder tradition. Docktoberfest!


Docktoberfest is an annual celebration of the ritualistic harvesting of the docks—that time of year when we say “see ya later” to summer and bring the docks ashore. Heavy from a season of soaking up fun (and water), hauling them in can be hard work! So we celebrate these docks, and those who harvest them, in a party of pierless proportions.


So don your ceremonial Waderhosen, grab your stain-glass stein, and go from harbor to hops at the Excelsior Taproom and our annual Docktoberfest celebration.


Thursday October 8, 4-11pm

Friday October 9, 4pm – 11pm

Saturday October 10, 12pm – 11pm

Sunday October 11, 12pm – 6pm

 Band Schedule Here

As the tradition calls for, there will be refreshing season brews, delicious food and fare, live music and authentic Docktoberfest bar games. Most importantly, it’s a time of year when a community can come together to drink while we dry, and have a great time doing it.

MinneGose Gose Style Ale- new release!

MinneGose Gose Style Ale- new release!




EXCELSIOR, MN—June 8, 2015—Local craft brewery Excelsior Brewing Company is launching a new limited seasonal brew unlike anything they’ve crafted before: a Gose-style wheat beer that’s been christened MinneGose (pronounced Minne-goes-uh).

Based on the regional specialty beers of Goslar, Germany, Excelsior’s take on the Gose uses the same coriander and sea salt agents and a unique top-fermentation method. It’s not a particularly easy style of beer to make, but it’s extremely easy to drink, with a light citrus body, no hop bitterness, and a dry finish. According to President John Klick, MinneGose will pair well with light bodied foods like sea bass, lobster, and avocado salad, mild cheeses, and deserts like lemon tarts, salted caramels, and roasted pears.

Available now in 6-packs and on draught lines throughout the state, once MinneGose goes away, it’s gone!

XLCR- Now with all American hops!

XLCR- Now with all American hops!



Excelsior flagship brew XLCR to become more XLent

EXCELSIOR, MN—June 9, 2015—Local craft brewery Excelsior Brewing Company is announcing a new recipe for its flagship XLCR pale ale. The brewery has grown a lot in three years since opening its doors, and now XLCR is growing too, with more complex flavors that should delight fans of the brewery’s lineup.

Head brewer Niles Lewin explains that the recipe now features strictly American hops, resulting in a truly American Pale Ale with better mouth feel and an improved nose, while retaining the toasty, malty characteristics that helped launch the beer (and the brand) in 2012. Suggested pairings include grilled meats, sharp cheeses, and fruit-based desserts. In short, it goes with just about everything that makes America a great place to eat and drink.

If you love America, and you love beer, you’ll love this even-more-American Pale Ale. Try it today (or tonight, if that’s more convenient)!


Maifest May 8th & 9th

The week is upon us- our first annual Maifest is this Friday and Saturday! The taproom opens at 4p on Friday and noon on Saturday with lots of bands, food and of course beer.

Join us Friday for Refrigerager hitting the stage at 8pm. We will have service at the front bar, a bar in the middle of the brewery and food from the Excelsior Masons. Come early to purchase your very own Maifest pint glass for $5!

Saturday we kick off the day with the blessing of the Maibock, the Minnesota BeerCast will be in the tent recording their show and bands start at 1pm. The Excelsior Masons will be serving up hot food in the tent as well. The line up includes:

12-2p- Dale Grove (accordian player)

1-3p- John Rosensteel

3-5p- Jeff Dayton & Friends

6-9p- The Big Wu

9-11p- The Bitter Roots

A few things to note- we do have an ATM but recommend bringing cash ($1s!). On Saturday you can access the tent via the patio alleyway. Well behaved pups on a leash and kids are welcome- but we suggest coming early to avoid the crowd.

Bike parking will be available – please park with your tires in the slots- not sideways. This helps us ensure there is plenty of room for everyone!file15315


For more information be sure to visit our Maifest page here:

Gideon’s Red Brings Home Gold

Gideon’s Red Ale has won a gold medal from the Beverage Tasting Institute rating a 94/100. This brew was a new Off Shore Series beer released in mid-February in the taproom.

The rating stated “Clear copper color. Lively, earthy, fruity aromas of creme brulee, candied mango, and pine sap with a silky, lively, finely carbonated, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, refreshing, medium-long caramelized pineapples and carrots, pepper bread, radish sprouts, and salted nuts finish. A great savory beer for the table.“.

Named for Gideon’s Bay, after Minnesota Farmer Peter Gideon who created the first winter resistant apple, it’s bright red color, smooth balance of hops and malt and lively carbonation will leaving you want more.

Try this brew as well as 15 others on tap in the Excelsior Brewing Company taproom!

2015 CBC Amber Waves

We are excited to announce that Excelsior Brewing Company will be participating in Amber Waves at the 2015 Craft Brewer’s Conference. For more information, read below!

EBC Logo

For Immediate Release

Contacts:    Victory Brewing Company                Dogfish Head Craft Brewery                                                      Amy DePaoli                        Ashley DiMichele                                                           (610) 514-7028                           (302) 684-1000         

Victory Brewing Company & Dogfish Head Craft Brewery to

Co-host Third Annual Beer and Art Exhibit

2015 Amber Waves will raise funds for Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

DOWNINGTOWN, PA, March 4, 2015 – Victory Brewing Company and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery are excited to announce that they will co-host the non-traditional art exhibit celebrating the artistry of craft beer, Amber Waves, in conjunction with 2015 Craft Brewer’s Conference. The event will take place on Thursday, April 16th from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm at Castaway Portland.

Amber Waves continues to be committed to raising awareness and funds for the local arts community.  The third annual event will benefit Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), an organization dedicated to acknowledging and advancing new developments in contemporary art while fostering the creative exploration of artists and audiences.   The event will feature 22 American craft breweries showcasing art in both its traditional and liquid form. Each brewery will be pouring an amber-hued beer of their creation, along with a custom work of art created exclusively for auction at the event. All auction proceeds of the night’s silent auction will benefit Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA).

In reducing the visual impact of the beers being served to a single color, Victory and Dogfish Head expect to call guests’ full attention to the vivid spectrum of flavor in each glass as well as the visual delight of art conceived and executed for this one night event.

“Craft beer is succeeding because it speaks to an enthused audience through a veritable rainbow of flavors, textures and colors,” said Bill Covaleski, president and brewmaster of Victory Brewing Company.  “Working with PICA in our third year of Amber Waves seems to be a natural fit.  Their commitment to emerging art for their audiences mirrors our process of craft brewing.”

“With every passing year, Amber Waves gains more momentum and excitement among breweries,” said Sam Calagione, president of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. “This year, we’re excited to welcome our returning breweries and add many from the Northwest. With a growing list of participants, we are able to offer a wider variety of beer for attendees to sample and a larger selection of art pieces for auction.”

Returning in 2015 are:

New additions to the lineup include:

Amber Waves will be held at Castaway Portland (1900 NW 18th Ave, Portland, OR 97209) on April 16 from 5:00pm – 10:00pm.  Tickets for general admission are available at The cost of admission is $25 and includes a souvenir five ounce tasting glass, beer sampling, as well as hors d’oeuvres and access to the Amber Waves silent auction. Attendance is free to brewing industry professionals with a valid 2015 CBC badge.

For more information about this unique event, visit

About Victory Brewing Company


Victory Brewing Company is a craft brewery headquartered in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Founded by childhood friends, Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet, Victory officially opened its doors in February of 1996. In addition to the original Downingtown brewery and brewpub, Victory recently opened a second state-of-the-art brewery in Parkesburg, PA to expand production capabilities and serve fans of fully flavored beers in 35 states and 10 countries with innovative beers melding European ingredients and technology with American creativity. To learn more about Victory Brewing Company, visit

About Dogfish Head Craft Brewery



Dogfish Head opened in 1995 as the smallest commercial brewery in America making 10 gallons of beer at a time on a glorified-modified homebrew system. Today Dogfish Head is among the fastest growing breweries in the country. Our belief was (and still is) that beer can have as much flavor, complexity, diversity, food-compatibility, and age-ability as the world’s finest wines. We have never wavered from this belief. Dogfish Head has grown into a 200 person company with a restaurant/brewery/distillery in Rehoboth Beach and a production brewery in Milton, Delaware, selling beer in 30 states, plus D.C. So. We’re just a little less small now.

About Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art acknowledges and advances new developments in contemporary art while fostering the creative explorations of artists and audiences. PICA turns 20 this year and since 1995, has championed the practice of contemporary artists from around the world, driving vital conversations about the art and issues of today. PICA presents artists from visual and performance backgrounds and embraces those individuals who exist at the borders of genres and ideas. Through artist residencies and exhibitions, lectures and workshops, and the annual Time-Based Art Festival (TBA), PICA constructs a broad platform for contemporary art.