MN Beer on a Stick – EBC at the State Fair

It’s soooo hot outside….

“How hot is it?” you may ask?

Hot enough where the $1 “All-you-can-drink-milk” at the State Fair is a bad choice (for those that missed the reference, click here)

Sure, the heat was devastatingly and disgustingly overwhelming enough to reduce even the manliest of men to a mere husk of their former self, but that didn’t stop us from heading out to the Minnesota State Fair to show some love for the Minnesota Craft Beer scene, and hang out with some other daredevil fairgoers in the process.

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John Klick and Bob DuVernois schooling the crowd with some Beer Knowledge

We were fortunate enough to share the stage with Lucid Brewing, another great West Metro brewery located right down the road from us, and discuss how and why we’ve gotten into the Craft Beer industry. It was a solid opportunity for those in the crowd to ask questions, pick the brains of the folks behind some of their favorite beers, and maybe consume one or two in the process. This was just a small part of the Land of 10,000 Beers exhibit, taking place at the MN State Fair for the second year in a row. Organized by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild and One Simple Plan, this has proved to be a great way of getting out the word of small, local breweries that many people may have never heard of.

Jeff Troldahl's State Fair inspired art work.

Jeff Troldahl’s State Fair inspired art work.

 

 

Some of the many pieces of breweriana from days of MN Beer past

Some of the many pieces of breweriana from days of MN Beer past

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Among the available flights of Minnesota Beer and the educational aspect are some very unique pieces that both beer drinkers and teetotalers alike can enjoy. New to the exhibit this year, MN breweries were asked to showcase art from their breweries. We commissioned Jeff Troldahl, our resident designer and all-around awesome dude, to put together a piece that encompassed the fair and EBC as a whole. He definitely knocked it out of the park, looking forward to the piece hanging on the brewery walls for years to come. Reminding folks of where MN beer has come from, the 10k Beer Hall also features a TON of historical brewery memorabilia, bringing back memories of the Glueks and Schmidt days for those old enough to remember.

President John Klick and Head Brewer Bob DuVernois then took to the stage to walk WCCO host Jason DeRusha through some of the beer available at the fair, if you have a minute the video can be found here. We appreciate them having us on, it’s always an honor to represent Minnesota beer in front of thirsty patrons!

The day was capped off by a Bitteschlappe Brown Ale and some Indeed Brewing Day Tripper battered onion rings (featuring a Bitteschlappe Spicy Mustard) at Ballpark Cafe, the perfect way to end a scorching, yet enjoyable, day at the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Ballpark Cafe featuring a ton of great MN brews, including EBC

Ballpark Cafe featuring a ton of great MN brews, including EBC

Catching Up – August 13th at Excelsior Brewing

It seems we’re always doing this to ourselves. We come into work Monday, proceed to blink, and it’s already Saturday evening. With summer in full swing, it’s hard to keep up with everything going so let’s recap some of the things that have been happening with us the past few weeks:

Brew Love: Supporting the Ronald McDonald House, this fundraiser is one of the most entertaining around due to it’s focus on drinking beer for a good cause! Not that we need an excuse to sample great local beers, but this just adds a nice element of helping out a premier non-profit that really does good within our community. We look forward to doing some more fundraising with these folks in the near future.

Brew at the Zoo: Yet another worthy cause, this beerfest did a phenomenal job raising money for one of our state’s main attractions, the Minnesota Zoo, and exposing a sold-out crowd to amazing craft beers. On top of that, we totally got to check out the new bear exhibit…so you know, we’ve got that going for us.

Excelsior Brewing Co. 1st Beerthday Party: Holy cow. That was a party. We had all of our regulars and a whole crop of new faces celebrating our one year anniversary and couldn’t be more humbled by the turnout. That party had everything: dunk tanks, live music from phenomenal local artists and our Head Brewer Bob DuVernois in a crash test dummy morph suit. THANK YOU to everyone who came out to celebrate with us, and thanks to Yamamoto for helping make our first Beerthday party something to remember.

LOOKING AHEAD:

Minnesota State Fair: We will be on tap at the Ballpark Cafe with our Bitteschlappe Brown Ale and in the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild tent with various beers for their MN beer flights. Last year was a stellar success in promoting Minnesota beer, we can only imagine this year will be even better. The space is expanded greatly and will give our Minnesota brewers a chance to showcase more of their personality (including a beer related art exhibit that is sure to be intriguing to say the least). Stay tuned to Facebook and Twitter to find out when we’re heading to the fair and come join us for a beer or two!

Border Battle Beer Fest: We, at the brewery, live by the mantra “Better dead than Red”. Everyone knows a Badger can’t hold a handle to a Gopher and this is our chance to show it. Minnesota breweries will face off against some of Wisconsin’s finest in a quest for border dominance! Our locals will have the luxury of signing up for a bus ride to and from the festival, held in Somerset WI, to represent their state with pride (and drinking). Tickets can be purchased here, make sure to get yours and help us kick some ‘Sconnie ass!

Autumn Brew Review: Assuming you were one of the lucky folks to get a ticket for this sought after event taking place at the original Grain Belt Brewery, you’ll have a chance to sample some VERY special beers we plan on busting out for this MN Brewer’s Guild event. Debuting some new seasonals and twists on some old favorites, make sure to swing by our booth and enjoy some deliciousness that you won’t get anywhere else.

As always, stay tuned for more updates on beers and announcements on upcoming beers (hint: special release for our upcoming Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 11/12).

Cheers!

 

keywords: Excelsior Brewing, Border Battle Beer Fest, Autumn Brew Review, Brewlove, Minnesota State Fair

Ales for ALS at Excelsior Brewing

A lot of people are familiar with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) but are unfamiliar with what really happens to those afflicted.

ALS stands for “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis” and refers to a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. This will eventually lead to those with the condition to lose the ability of muscle control and, eventually, will lead to paralysis and inability to breathe.

With 20,000-30,000 currently suffering from ALS and another 5,000 being diagnosed annually, this disease currently sits with no known cure. One of the institutes studying this disease, the ALS Therapy Development Institute, took to a creative way of raising awareness and funds for their cause.

Ales for ALS is a program organized by the ALS TDI and B.T. Loftus Ranches and Hopunion to create a specific blend of experimental hops, which craft brewers across the nation will use in a beer to raise money for ALS research.

Upon hearing about this opportunity, we called them up and jumped in at the last second to take part in what we consider an amazing opportunity to gain traction for a crippling disease through the power of local beer. Bob DuVernois and Niles Lewin took to brewing a sessionable pale using the experimental hop blend, and we’ve been patiently waiting for the right time to bust it out.

Welp…we think our 1st Beerthday Party taking place this Saturday would be a PERFECT time for you to enjoy it. So when you come out to the brewery and celebrate our anniversary with us, make sure you grab a pint of Biscuit Pants Pale Ale (Biscuit Pants was Lou Gehrig’s nickname, the most well known case of ALS). $2 from every pint of that beer will go directly to ALS research, and hopefully, contribute to a cure for those ailing from a debilitating and heart breaking disease.

More information on the program can be found at www.alesforals.com.

Celebrating One Year in Beer – Excelsior Brewing

Dear Drinkers:

It seems like yesterday I was writing to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who came out to support Excelsior Brewing in our opening week. I distinctly remember sitting on my couch starting to draft a blog post on Sunday morning, drinking coffee and wondering ‘what the hell just happened?’

Well, I can safely say we’re all STILL wondering ‘what the hell just happened?’ one year later. It’s been a 365 day blur since that was written, but now things are becoming more clear. In our infrequent moments of lucidity amid the frequent moments of chaos, here’s what we’ve taken from our first year of being in production:

  • Our locals are awesome. Seriously. From the folks in the brewery on day one to the regulars we have today, our locals are what make the brewery what it is.
  • Bob DuVernois makes some tasty beers. Don’t believe me? Look at any of our four medals from the World Beer Championships or try some for your self. Malty or hoppy, lager or ale, Bob finds a way to balance out whatever beer he puts in your glass.
  • Persistence is the biggest key to success. While we’ve hit some rough patches along the way, our staff just kept on moving forward. The learning curve in operating a brewery is steep and takes some getting used to. Without everyone’s persistence, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
  • Beer is a powerful community building tool. Every time we do a community based event, the best part is witnessing folks come together over a beer. From neighborhood block parties to the Burgers, Beers and Bingo Bash to raise money for the fireworks, sometimes all it takes for someone to make a new friend is grabbing a beer.

We are humbled by the support of our community, the establishments that choose to carry our beers and the industry members that provide advice and support for everyone involved. There are few people that have the opportunity we do, and rest assured, we do not take it for granted. Your appreciation for Excelsior Brewing keeps us moving forward, and we think that’s pretty cool.

Now, most importantly, it’s time to celebrate! Come out to the brewery on July 20th for our first “Beerthday Party”. We’ll have live music all day, an outdoor beer garden and plenty of partying. We’ll also be breaking out a couple beers that you haven’t seen yet, and most likely won’t see again after the 20th.

So put on your party hats and come grab a beer. Oh yeah…once again: THANK YOU FOR MAKING OUR FIRST YEAR FREAKING AWESOME.

Stay tuned for more info on the party leading up to the 20th. Cheers!

Sincerely,

Excelsior Brewing Co.

Chef DuVernois on Twin Cities Live

Chef DuVernois

In case you missed out on the chance to see our head brewer Bob DuVernois on Twin Cities Live last week, here’s the link to his gorgeous mug on TV. Bob was invited to challenge Antigoni Sander McCloud (co-owner of Kafe 421) to devise a recipe using our Bitteschlappe Brown Ale. Based on Bob’s reaction, I’d say she did a stellar job of meeting the challenge. Huge thanks to Twin Cities Live and Antigoni for having us on, great work on the dish! The full video can be watched here.

Speaking of cooking with beer…one of our favorite locals, Bayside Bar and Grill, will be hosting a beer dinner cruise this Friday June 14th. Two tickets for $75 gets you four courses, four of your favorite Excelsior Brewing Co. beers AND the opportunity to drink on Lake Minnetonka with the fine folks from EBC. Tickets can be purchased here, hope to see you out there this weekend!

BREAKING NEWS: Hops are good for you!

In case you didn’t know (which we certainly did), hops are actually beneficial to your health! Check out this product known as Hops X Factor: Cell Protector which was forwarded by a local nutrition aficionado:
Hops X Factor: Cell Protector

Go figure, a chemical compound found in hops “has been the subject of over 75 research papers due to its role as a cell protector, preventative phytochemical, and as a potentially longevity-enhancing compound.” AKA, hops act as an anti-aging agent, keeping you drinking craft beer longer than you thought! If you care to check out the page, click here.

While I have no idea what the scientific mumbo-jumbo means, and by NO means recommend buying a vial of a hop compound extract, I think that’s just another reason to grab a fresh, local beer.

Here are some more non-cited facts:

An Italian study of more than 200,000 people found those who drank a pint a day had a 31-percent decrease in heart disease risk. Beer can also raise HDL, the good cholesterol in your body.

  • A 2009 study found the high levels of silicon in beer can be good for bones, but too much could mean more fractures.
  • Harvard studies found beer can prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke, and that a few beers a day lowered the risk of diabetes in middle-aged men by 25 percent.
  • Research in Europe found moderate beer drinkers had 30-percent higher levels of the disease-fighting vitamin B-6 compared to non-drinkers.
  • A study in Finland reports that men who drank a few bottles daily lowered their risk of kidney stones by 40 percent.
  • Research found marinating a steak in beer could reduce the risk of cancer. It wipes out the majority of carcinogens that are produced when meat is fried in a pan.

So there you have it, in case you needed more reasons to drink beer, we just gave ya some. BOOM!

Cheers!

Shagagogo Recap and Upcoming Shenanigans – Excelsior Brewing

Guessing by the turnout last Saturday, you were either AT the Excelsior Brewing Memorial Day Shagagogo Bash or you missed out on a freakishly good time. For those that weren’t there, let me recap:

– Worked our way musically from Bluegrass (Steve Howard and Phil Nusbaum) to eclectic covers (Chris Kelly) to full out rock mode (Refrigerager) to groovy throwbacks (Shagagogo).
– Packed the house with locals, newbies, men, women, young folks and seasoned veterans.
– Raised over $400 dollars for the ICA Foodsheld via Hammerschlagen
– Enjoyed copious amounts of Italian Beef Sandwiches and Chicago Hotlinks, courtesy of Duncan from Deli by the Bay

Thank you to all who came out, all the musicians who played, all the volunteers who poured and everyone else who made the event a success. It was a fitting way to officially kickoff summer, you folks freakin rock!

Now, we move forward to a jam-packed June. Let’s run down what we have in store (I’m just digging the lists this morning, roll with it):
– June 3rd: Summer Swing Golf Tourney at Deer Run Golf Course
– June 4th: Meet the Brewers Tap Takeover at Edina Grill
– June 7th: Kitchen Window Beer Dinner/Cooking Demonstration AND Republic Calhoun Square Afterparty
– June 12th: Concerts in the Park (debuting our new Root Beer)
– June 14th: Bayview Beer Dinner Cruise
– June 15th: St. Paul Summer Beer Fest
– June 16th: Woodland Winery Father’s Day Bash
– June 20th: Figlio Beer Series Beer Dinner
– June 22nd: Carver Ale Trail
– June 28th: MN Pride Beer Dabbler in Loring Park

You can find info on most of these events by heading to our Event Page, otherwise email ben@excelsiorbrew.com for more details or information.

Looking forward to a great summer and wrapping up our first year of being officially open. The last 11 months have humbled and excited us about our future in Excelsior, looking forward to many more years of brewing. YOU are the reason it happened so…you know…THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! You’re the best. Seriously.

Happy American/MN Craft Beer Week!

10,000 Minutes of MN Beer

Happy American/MN Craft Beer Week! Basically, the greatest week all year, this gives everyone a chance to celebrate our local (and national) beer community.

Know somebody who always wanted to start drinking craft, but didn’t know where to start? Take this opportunity to show them some of your favorite local breweries! Want to drink some rare and new beers? Check out all the local tappings taking place across the state!

We will be celebrating a couple different ways this week. First up, Pittsburgh Blue in Maple Grove for their patio kickoff and our Helios Hefeweizen release! Enjoy the summer evening with a couple seasonal beers, including the Sunburn Cherry Wheat!

If you can swing an afternoon off on Friday, head out to Deer Run Golf Course in Victoria, MN. We’ll be hosting their Funplay Friday, pouring beer on the 4th tee box and kicking off our partnership with happy hour specials in the clubhouse.

For the grand finale, the St. Croix River will see its first taste of Excelsior Brewing as we climb onboard one of Stillwater’s historic paddleboats for the Brewer’s Bazaar. If you live in the East Metro, this will be your first chance to have our beer on that side of town.

We hope everyone enjoys the hell out of a week celebrating local beer, make sure to drink responsibly and set a good example for those just learning about Craft Beer. Hope to see you this weekend, cheers!

30 Shades of (Bitteschlappe) Brown

Amar is the "Indian in the Cupboard"...ya get it?!

Amar is the “Indian in the Cupboard”…ya get it?!

Welcome to 30 Shades of Brown, where we will be featuring all things Brown-related at the brewery. If you don’t already know, our Bitteschlappe Brown Ale (one of three flagship brews) has taken off over the past few months. With a hefty amount of Vienna malt, you get a delicious blast of sweet caramel and soft roasted flavors throughout the beer. It features a medium body and low bitterness, making this beer the most flavorful and drinkable combination we could imagine. In our numerous beer dinners, this beer finds its way as the feature of the night paired with the main course. With Eat Shop’s Pork Loin, Pittsburgh Blue’s Ancho-Crusted Filet, Pig and Fiddle’s Braised Beef Cheeks (among many others), this beer has proved to be the quintessential beer to enjoy with food.

Currently, restaurants like Nightingale, Butcher and Boar and Ike’s have looked to the Bitteschlappe to go with their delicious grilled items. BUT let’s not forget our BBQ brethren Chuckwagon Charlies, Famous Daves and Hurricane Wings, where their sauces have met their match with our brown ale. Sweetness and char take the beer to a WHOLE other level.

This brings us to our 50 Shades of Brown:

Bitteschlappe is currently on tap at:

  1. Biella
  2. 318 Cafe
  3. Jake O’Connors
  4. Hurricane Wings
  5. Franc 44 Cheese Shop
  6. Chuckwagon Charlies
  7. Pairings Food and Wine
  8. Eat Shop Kitchen/Bar
  9. Wayzata Bar and Grill
  10. Birches
  11. Butcher and the Boar
  12. Bulldog NE (cask)
  13. Dakota Jazz Club
  14. Bachelor Farmer
  15. Moto-i
  16. Rye’s Deli
  17. Nightingale
  18. Famous Daves

That’s a nice selection across the metro, with a wide range of food styles to suite your palette, no matter what mood you’re in!

WHICH brings us to the second portion of 30 Shades of Brown, our profile on accountant/financial manager extraordinaire, Amar Patel. Featured above as an “Indian in the Cupboard” (because he’s Indian…and it’s a pun. Ya get it?!), Amar has worked with us from the get-go. If you’ve been in the taproom or at events and have had the chance to meet him personally, you’ll know he’s the most easy going human you could ever meet. BUT there are a ton of other facts about our “Knight of Numbers” that you may not know. So, without further ado, here are 12 facts about Amar:

  1. Graduated from THE Ohio State University
  2. With HONORS
  3. Biggest Beer Geek at the brewery
  4. Grew up in Plymouth, MN (right down the road from us)
  5. Loves Phish. Likes fish.
  6. Has culinary skills that you CAN’T believe
  7. Huge fan of ‘Hopping Frog Frosted Christmas’ beer
  8. Competed in the Ultimate Frisbee Club at OSU
  9. Loves Game of Thrones. Loves it. Lives for the realm.
  10. Has traveled extensively to other nations
  11. Can grow a wonderful mustache
  12. Has excellent fine motor skills.

There ya have it, 30 Shades of Brown to get you ready for your weekend! See you in the taproom soon, cheers!

Bridge Jumper is BACK

When we opened our doors 9.5 months ago, we were greeted with a beautiful accident that came to be known as Bridge Jumper. The result of an uber-efficient brewhouse and a craft veteran Head Brewer, this behemoth didn’t just knock the doors off our opening, it blasted those suckers into kingdom come! Our locals have waited patiently for the return, asking when the malty monster would be returning to their palate in our taproom.

The wait is over.

We officially tapped it this past Saturday in the taproom, but have no fear if you missed out. We have 20 bbls of it ready and waiting for you in both the taproom, and select bars. Are you a member of the Beer Club at Eat Shop Kitchen/Bar in Plymouth? Grab a pint or two this Thursday night with us! If you aren’t a member, you’re missing out as it may be the best beer deal in town. Have plans Friday? Cancel them now. Pig and Fiddle will be our destination to launch Bridge Jumper to the waiting masses in Edina/South Minneapolis. We’ll be tapping at 6:00 so come early and come thirsty!

This beer will only be around for a limited time, make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to find out what the fuss is all about. Cheers!