Tale of the Tape: Docktoberfest vs Oktoberfest

Docktoberfest Oct 6-8The annual harvesting of the docks is a serious business, requiring one epic party to celebrate.

Docktoberfest is that party and runs from October 6th -8th , featuring music, food and of course beers for the preeminent celebration of fall.

It has come to our attention that there is a similarly named party that takes place in Germany around the same time.  This has led to some confusion as this other party is has gained in popularity, rivaling even that of Docktoberfest.

We’d like to put that confusion to rest by clarifying a few key points.

 

Docktoberfest vs Oktoberfest- which is better?

Quantity vs Quality

Oktoberfest is an 18-day event that technically starts in September (!) and somehow is spelled with a K. Konfusing no?

Docktoberfest distills the revelry into a tight three days, all of which actually take place in October.  It’s all the fun, with 6x less hangovers and 100% less plane tickets.

Advantage: Docktoberfest

 

History
Oktoberfest originated in 1810 and commemorates the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig. (Yay Wikipedia!)  It was a wedding Ludwig committed to for about five minutes before beginning several affairs that kept him occupied when he wasn’t busy running Bavaria into the ground.   He was later forced to abdicate the throne after “Beer Riots in Bavaria”.  Note to self: this would be a fantastic band name.

Docktoberfest dates all the way back to 2012 and celebrates the harvesting of the docks on Lake Minnetonka.  This is an annual event that no one named Ludwig partakes in, in any capacity.  Excelsior Brewing also has no Wikipedia entry to date, so all of our scandals are only available on the dark web.

Advantage: Docktoberfest

 

Beer

Docktoberfest features beers brewed in the German tradition. These include Docktoberfest Märzen, Bitteschlappe German Brown Ale, Portside Pilsner, Helios Hefeweizen, and Saucy Kate Kolsch.

Oktoberfest features German beer brewed by actual Germans.

Advantage: Oktoberfest

 

World Wars

Oktoberfest takes place in Germany, currently sitting with a lifetime record of 0-2 in World Wars.

Docktoberfest takes place in the US of A. Undefeated and Undisputed at 2-0.

Advantage: Docktoberfest

 

Local

Oktoberfest is embraced worldwide with celebrations in all corners of the globe, including something called Lacrosse in a state where macaroni and cheese counts as a vegetable.

Docktoberfest is ours and ours alone.  It celebrates the rich history of Lake Minnetonka, Excelsior and Minnesota.  A community so bad ass that here the Super Bowl is a home game.

Advantage: Docktoberfest

 

As you can see Docktoberfest checks in with a massive 4-1 thrashing of that other fall beer festival with the spelling problem. With 12 bands, incredible food and beer, Docktoberfest is truly a party for the ages.

Join us in our massive tent and treat yourself to the rager that marks the center of our events calendar.

It all starts at 4pm on Friday October 6th and runs through Sunday, so pull your dock, it’s time to rock.

Docktoberfest Details

Bass Fishing Tourney 7/22/2017

The Hunt for BASSquatch: Tourney July 22nd

Bass Tourney July 22nd 2017

Registration is now open for The first annual DH Custom & Excelsior Brewing Lake Minnetonka Bass Tournament to be held Saturday, July 22nd.

Why a bass fishing tourney you ask? Because none of the other species of fish stack up.

• Sunnies are essentially the light beer of the lake. They are easy to find and you can hammer as many in a sitting as you like. They are less than exciting and only satisfying for the naïve.

• Walleye are more like fine wine. They taste great, but typically are only out when the sun goes down and before sunup. Both are beloved by connoisseurs and pacifists alike because they have no real fight in them.

• Perch are like an umbrella drink. Sure, they look exotic, but you wouldn’t consume one if you had an alternative. No one sets out in pursuit of either, it just sometimes happens.

• Musky remind us of 12-year-old scotch. Tough to get your hands on, only good when aged. They are a one-off we aspire to for a special occasion.

That leaves bass. What makes bass so special? Because they are exactly like our customers.
Bass…

• Have large mouths

• Are territorial

• Fight when provoked

• Eat even when not hungry

• Hang out in groups by docks

Face it, if bass had legs they’d be in our taproom BS-ing about the Vikings. Clearly they are the only species of fish worthy of the EBC name.

So find a few buddies, grab your crankbait and get in the game. Registration for the Bass Tournament is now open, spots are $300 per boat and going fast.

Five for Five: Beerthday Wisdom

5th Beerthday

After five years of brewing great beer, we’ve seen a lot–and we’ve learned even more. On the eve of our 5th Beerthday we’d share five “lessons learned” from our first half decade.

Five Lessons from Five Years at Excelsior Brewing

1. If you can only have one beer on tap, make it malt liquor!

When we opened in 2012, we had a few kinks to work out of our brewing system. Kinks that led to an inaugural batch of surprisingly tasty and shockingly potent beer. Bridge Jumper was born and fueled a legendary grand opening for the ages (that no one who drank it remembers).

What this taught us: Only bust out the good stuff for special occasions. Like our fifth Beerthday weekend July 1st, where we are resurrecting original Bridge Jumper for a limited time run.

2. If you build it they will come… even if it is a work in progress

Who would go to a taproom with plastic lawn chairs, no TV and a single bathroom?

Turns out an s-load of people, that’s who.

Prior to our taproom expansion in 2014, that was our value proposition. And yet, people came in such droves that we were forced to more than double our space and seriously up our interior design game.

We added an expansive bar, actual furniture, an outdoor seating area and the novelty of separate bathrooms! It’s still the same five conversations every night, but now they’re happening in a great atmosphere.

What this taught us: Great beer is vital, but what makes this brewery unique is our patrons.

3. The DNR is pretty bad ass

Turns out if you make beer out of zebra mussels and milfoil, you get a ton of media attention. Unfortunately the DNR guys also noticed and harvesting invasive species without a permit is illegal.

What this taught us: You can’t pay a DNR fine in beer. So if you enter our bass tourney on July 22nd, buy a fishing license!

4. Beer lovers are diverse

People show up at the taproom for any number of reasons. It could be the great beer or because we’re dog friendly or bike accessible. Maybe they love our live music, cribbage, yoga, the farmer’s market or myriad other event offerings. The thing is that once they come, they always come back. Even at 2pm on a Tuesday (!) .

What this taught us: What brings you here isn’t important, but what makes you stay is. To that end we offer great beer an awesome location and friendly staff.

5. Everyone wants in

Perhaps the best lesson in five years of brewing beer is that EVERYONE wants to help. This applies when you are building out a taproom, staffing said taproom, constructing a website or anything else.

For a pint and a handshake people will bust their tail for you just to be able to be a part of a collaboration like this.

What this taught us: The Lake Minnetonka community is a special place. We already knew it, but it has been reinforced a million times in a million ways.

To thank you for being a part of it and in honor of your commitment to us, we’d like to invite you to our Beerthday Party on Saturday, July 1st. We’ll not only celebrate the memories, but to begin to build some new ones. We’ll have

· Live music from Bitter Roots, Sonically Speaking and Ipso Facto · A 5k road race

· Original Bridge Jumper on tap

· A few surprises

In lieu of gifts we ask that you bring a canned food item for ICA food shelf.

Join us, it won’t be the same without you. Together we can work to make our next five years even better.

Grab Your Fatty & Get in Gear: Bike Race Jan. 14th

Fat Tire Bike Race Jan 14th

The Arctic Fever Fat Tire Bike Race is back!

Register now to join us on Saturday, January 14th for a 15-mile race on Excelsior Bay to raise money for CycleHealth.

Your $10 entry fee gets you a spot in the race, a pint glass and the knowledge that you helped a good cause while simultaneously punching winter square in the face.

But act fast, space is limited.

Proceeds benefit CycleHealth, a nonprofit focused on attacking our nation’s obesity epidemic by offering fitness challenges and adventure races to keep kids motivated year-round.

Still not sold?  Here are Five Reasons to Register Today

5- It’ll Give Those New Year’s Resolutions a Shot in the Arm
Most resolutions fail early.  Scheduling a bike race on Jan 14th will build some much needed accountability for that annual “get in shape” edict.

4- Beer Tastes Better When Earned
All entrants will receive a free pint glass and ample post-race opportunities to break it in.

3- You can Pre-pad Your 2017 Naughty or Nice Stats
Face it, 2016 is touch and go in terms of Santa’s lists.  Why not get an early start on 2017 with a charity ride?

2- Ten Bucks Ain’t What it Used to Be
Is another holiday gift card for your brother-in-law a wise investment?  Instead, use that Hamilton as an entry fee, have some fun and do some good.

1- When a Warm Glow meets Cold Beer it is Truly Epic
Helping a charity while earning a cold one.  That’s just win-win right there.

 Race Detail and Registration

 

Fat Tire Race Jan 14th

 Schedule of Events

12 pm-1:30 pm:  Participant Check-in and Badge Pick up @ Excelsior Brewing Company

2pm:  Race Start on Excelsior Bay.
(2 blocks North of Brewery)

4pm:  Awards in the Taproom

Bands:  

3-6pm Trainwreck 

8-11pm New Primitives 

 

Book Now: Holiday Parties in the Taproom

Believe it or not, holiday party season is just around the corner.  Our taproom is now accepting reservations and can accommodate groups from 10 -150 for private to semi-private events.

Holiday Parties

We offer a variety of options for every budget from our Super Santa Package (open bar) all the way down to Grinch-level (cash only).  So if your company is considering booking space, we’d love you to consider our taproom.

Still not sold?  Here are the Top Five Reasons to Book Our Taproom for Your Holiday Party

#5 – Studies show few things are as universally beloved as beer– that’s true with millennials, Gen-X and baby boomers.  Now your holiday party can also serve as the cornerstone of your company’s diversity and inclusion plan.  That’s win-win.

#4 – A party at a brewery trumps a seated dinner any day.  No longer are you locked-in to a poor seating choice made early in the night.  At the brewery, bailing on a bad conversation is as simple as polishing off your pint and hoofing it to higher ground.

#3 – When you have an EBC party on the calendar, an IOU for a pint of beer becomes a viable Secret Santa gift.

#2 –With space to accommodate up to 150 guests, you can open up your team’s party to interns, temps, spouses and more.   This avoids the awkwardness of holiday rejection.

#1 – Let’s face it, sales are down.  A few cold beers may be your only bonus this year!

 

A holiday party at EBC truly is the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.  For details on how to book a party along with answers to common questions, check out our Space Rental Page or contact Caroline at caroline@excelsiorbrew.com.

Ryder Cup ’16- Fresh Hops & Private Oates

Professional golf is a sport played by gentlemen and ladies.  It is characterized by solitary contemplation, internal battles and perseverance– always with a focus on decorum, honor and respect…

and then there is the Ryder Cup.

Like Caddy Day at the Bushwood pool, it is the very antithesis of the norm.

Caddy Day at Bushwood CC

The Ryder Cup is different than any other tournament because it flips the script entirely.  At cup matches, team play, nationalism and camaraderie trump the staid tradition of the stuffy individual sport from Scotland –and it is glorious.

Polite golf claps are replaced by hugs, fist pumps and fanfare.  Boisterous fans come out in droves, geared up like a Colin Kaepernick nightmare, ready to cheer their country on to victory.  It is the ugly Americans versus the snooty Europeans and it is unlike any other tournament in the world.

And this year all of the excitement is local as Chaska’s Hazeltine National Golf Club will host the event September 27th – October 2nd.

The lessons that the Ryder Cup format teaches us are that teamwork and local pride are game-changers.  Golf as an individual sport is fine, but when golf meets nationalism and combines a team element, it is taken to the next level.

It is in this same spirit of teamwork and local pride that we introduce a new Ryder Cup tribute beer, our Rye-Der IPA.

This limited edition wet-hopped India Pale Ale is as local as it gets using hops sourced from Mound and Navarre.  Perhaps more notable, these hops went from plant to brew in less than 24 hours and it took a team to do it.  Taproom regulars combined with staff to source every batch of hops and refine the recipe to deliver the full flavor of each and every one.

It is a truly Minnesota beer for celebration of a Minnesota event.   But it is only available this week (9/26)  in our taproom.

Be sure to stop in on Friday night as we’ve got the pre-eminent Hall and Oates cover band, Private Oates slated to headline at 9:30pm and kick the party into high gear.

So get local, find a team and grab a pint, it’s time to show our Minnesota pride.

Apple Day Beer – Grandma Millie Approved

An old Welsh proverb says that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but 103-year-old Mildred “Millie” Bowers has other ideas.

Bowers, who survived the depression and has outlived two husbands, has a unique take on her advanced age.

The centenarian credits her love of beer as a major factor in her longevity, even going so far as to convince her physician to sign off on her daily afternoon pint.

 

“Have a beer, doctor’s orders” –Mildred Bowers, party girl

 

This begs the question, which is the true source of continued good health– apples or beer?

The good news is that at Apple Day in Excelsior September 17th, you don’t have to choose.  Saturday apples and beer will combine for a tour de force for your immune system and mental health.

2016-apple-of-the-lake-poster

Excelsior is the place to be for an entire day devoted to celebrating apples.  Festivities include a 5k road race and pie-eating contest. In our taproom, we’ve even cooked up a specialty beer to mark the occasion.

Head Brewer Niles’ latest opus is a Nut Brown Ale infused with apple cider, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove that is sure to kick the festivities into high gear.

With only a single keg of  his masterpiece and an early open at 10am, interested parties hoping for a taste would do well to arrive early.

It’s Apple Day in Excelsior, stop off and enjoy a pint… or face the wrath of Grandma Millie.

 

The State Fair & those Delicious Invasive Species

ExcelMilfoilBeerSign2015

Candied bacon donut sliders, macaroni and cheese curds and the Cracker Jack Caramel sundae are just a few of the new gut bombs featured at this year’s Minnesota State Fair (August 25- Labor Day).

These dishes join the usual food favorites– namely anything in the world that can be deep fat fried, skewered on a stick and coated in powdered sugar.  The food at the fair promises to be as satisfying as ever, yet there is a noticeable gap in the state fair culinary game.  Where is the roughage?

This year the answer can be found in an unlikely place– your next cold beer.  Health nuts and beer connoisseurs alike should stop by the Agriculture/Horticulture Building for a sample of our Milfoil Lakehouse Saison.

Yes that milfoil.

The prop-clogging menace to local waterways is the key ingredient in brewmaster Nile’s latest opus, the Milfoil Lakehouse Saison.  For the first time ever, the Land of 10,000 Beers exhibit at the fair will be serving invasive species by the glass.

Lucky for you, the milfoil joins other more traditional Minnesota ingredients like locally sourced hops and Minnetonka Gold Honey to deliver a fruity, slightly spicy take on the traditional Belgian style beer.

The exotic, invasive ale will be one of nearly 200 local beers available for purchase in mixed sets of four from a variety of breweries for just $10.

So when you grow weary from trudging through animal barns gawking at the overfed animals (and humans) at the fair, be sure to stop over and swill an aquatic hitchhiker or two.  It’ll not only quench your thirst, but also raise awareness of invasive species.

And if you can’t make it to the fair, stop by our brewery for a pint of the Saison and a discussion about other invasive species found in Minnesota like zebra mussels and packer fans.

Excelsior Brewing Now More Open

Due to overwhelming feedback from local beer enthusiasts, our taproom hours have been expanded.  Effective immediately, we’ll now open at 2pm on Tuesdays and noon on Friday.

The earlier open times give visitors a chance to enjoy our brews during Excelsior’s Farmers Market on Tuesday as well as get an early leg up on the weekend each Friday!

In addition, we’ve added special bike jersey pricing to our flagship pints on Thursday.  Thirsty patrons who arrive in a past or present EBC bike jersey will receive $3 flagship pints for the duration of their stay each and every Thursday.

But we aren’t just more open because of our new hours, we are also working to cultivate a diverse community.  To that end we have identified several underserved client groups and will be using our change in hours to welcome them to our taproom.

Farmers Market Shame

VSS Sufferers 
Vegetarian Spouse Syndrome (VSS) is an affliction affecting the significant others of vegetarians whereby the carnivorous spouse may face meat-shaming and nutrition lectures.  Studies show flare-ups are most likely to occur near large patches of organic vegetables.  Tuesdays in Excelsior the VSS threat level is at the highest –Dark Green.  Our new hours on Tuesday mean the brewery will serve as a registered safe space for at-risk spouses and a respite for victims.

Discouraged Anglers
Pursuing trophy fish is sometimes a lonely battle. After spending an entire morning trolling for lunkers the transition back to society with an empty livewell can be traumatic.  Our taproom has malt beverage based re-entry resources designed to smooth this transition.  Join us on Fridays beginning at noon for some beverage therapy.  That way when friends ask if you caught anything you can proudly hold your head high and announce.  “Yes… a buzz. “

Newbie Cyclists
While cycling has never been more popular, group rides are fraught with peril for entry-level cyclists.   Experienced groups routinely drop slow riders from their peloton.  This can be a humbling experience.  If this happens to you, don’t fret about your failures.  Instead swing into the brewery for Thursday beer specials and a chance to socialize in those sweet spandex pants.

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Pokemon GO, Kettle Sours & Nerd Evolution

In the past week or so, one of two things has happened.  Depending on your perspective either…

A cool new game is bending the lines between the virtual and real-life world, simultaneously reuniting people with a nostalgic pastime from their childhood

Or

It is the nerd apocalypse.

Tri Lambda Road Trip

Regardless of your perspective, you’ll agree that Pokemon GO is a phenomenon because it took something people already enjoyed and enhanced it with technology.  It is an evolution.  The game was re-imagined and updated with some clear advantages.

Why interact with actual people using a card game in your mom’s basement when you can instead stare at your phone and wander into traffic?

A similar (and decidedly much cooler) technology innovation has similarly changed the brewing industry.

Brewing sour beer was once the exclusive purview of large scale brewers who used a process called age-souring to deliver their distinctive tart bite.  This was done via a long process, only possible for those with both the capacity and patience to ferment large batches over long periods of time.

The sours used extra fermentation in a chemical tug-of-war to deliver a distinctive tart taste.  The process was tricky.  One false move could mean contaminating an entire brewery.  This made sours expensive to brew and purchase.

Bring on the innovation.

Kettle souring appeared on the scene and re-imagined the entire ballgame.  By tweaking the order of the process, brewers could deliver the distinctive flavor profile of sours in small batches without the drawbacks and hazards.  This made sours viable to smaller breweries.

EBC is fully on board with innovation and has several kettle-brewed sours to deliver via a limited release in our taproom beginning on July 21st.

Peach Kettle Sour ABV 4.7% IBU 11
This kettle soured ale is brewed with fresh peach to deliver a light and tart profile. The effervescence and low IBU makes this brew perfect for summer.

Apricot Kettle Sour 5.4% 11 IBU
This brew balances the tartness of the sour with the sweet earthiness of apricot. The bubbly sour is a wonderful introduction to the innovation of kettle sours.

Raspberry Kettle Sour 5.2% 14 IBU
Loads of fresh raspberries shine through with every sip of this framboise style sour.  It will appeal to the nerdiest of the beer nerds while also acting as pleasant entry point for novices.

To clarify, our new kettle sours are not cartoons you harvest with your mobile phone, but actual beers that you consume in our taproom with your friends.

For Pokemon Go players we should clarify that friends are other carbon-based life forms who you interact with via a process known as communication.  This results in relationships.

While this may be out of your comfort zone, if you take it slow you should be fine and the beer can help.