Craft Brewer’s Conference Recap

EBC's recap of the 2013 Craft Brewer's Conference

EBC’s recap of the 2013 Craft Brewer’s Conference

Heading into the Craft Brewer’s Conference last week, we intended on blogging everyday about what was happening, what we were discussing and which of the thousands of available beers we were consuming. However, as can happen in life, we became distracted by our surroundings and missed out on keeping folks up to date. Having the chance to attend seminars from some of the most respected names in beer, along with walking a showroom floor with everything from barley to canning lines, definitely was worth the trip but also kept us preoccupied.

What you do need to know is that we were humbled and amazed to see the number of breweries represented at CBC. Over 1,000 different breweries, along with 6,400 different people, took to DC for education, lobbying and (of course) beer drinking. Getting the chance to speak to smaller start up breweries like ourselves about dilemmas we have faced, or asking some of the established breweries advice on growth, gave us the chance to focus on what we’ve done right and what we can improve. The social nature of this industry shined through the entire conference, validating some of the hours and labor that most people at the conference have put into starting something as crazy as a brewery.

Among the many highlights for us were getting to meet our representatives and their aides, getting locked IN the House of Representatives Office Building and exploring Jason Bourne style, and of course, checking out the local beer scene. DC Brau and Capital City were our two favorites of the week, but other regional folks like Flying Dog and Dogfish Head also made their way onto our palates quite often. Classes and seminars took place all day from Wednesday through Friday, with courses ranging from draft system maintenance to sour beer production dominated our days. Industry related tap-takeovers and get-togethers were constantly happening at night, leading to some rough 9am classes. The Brew-Expo is something to behold for those in the beer industry. Vendors from all walks of beer come together to hawk their goods for attendees. Over 400 different vendors came together with some impressive machinery, hops and neon signs to force us into making some important purchasing decisions in the very near future.

Our highlight was certainly the Thursday night event, Amber Waves. Along with 24 other breweries, many of them well known and established, we were able to pour beers for the thirsty people of DC and bring art together with beer. The premise was based around beer being an artistic interpretation, one that comes across in the liquid form for most of us. To demonstrate this to others, each brewery was asked to bring along a piece of art that represents the beer being poured as well. Jumping at the chance, Head Brewer Bob Duvernois tapped into his naval roots (both of his own doing AND ancestrally) to devise a Revolutionary-Era Spruce Beer. Made with very little hops (all grown in Bob’s backyard) and Colorado spruce tips to bitter, Bob then added sarsaparilla root and black strap molasses to the recipe for a ridiculously intriguing spice profile. With the help of our Assistant Brewer, Niles Lewin, our guys put together a beer that George Washington himself would have been proud of. To cap it off, it was then aged in rum barrels for a couple months to add some more depth and complexity, before being shipped out to Washington DC.

After a stressful few days of locating our keg in DC (with a huge thanks to the Brewer’s Association and Premium Distributors for giving us a helping hand), the beer was successfully delivered and ready to pour at the event. Hosted by Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing, the event was high-class all the way. With great beers, great food and great all-around people pouring and attending, there wasn’t much more to ask for. Unless you’re a Gwar fan. In which case, you were also in luck, as 3 Floyds put in a call and, low and behold, we received the demon-centric metal band Gwar! Pretty much a night of randomness and awesomeness, combined into one. Our beer was extremely well received, with most drinkers never having tasted such a satisfying and intriguing beer like that. Even Dogfish Head brewers, strange in their own right and toting a beer made with Deer Antlers to the event itself, said Bob and Niles’ beer was one of the most interesting beers they had experienced. Validated by Brewer’s Association President/Dogfish Founder Sam Calagione, along with Victory Brewing President/Brewmaster Bill Covaleski, the spruce beer aptly titled “George’s Wooden Teeth” stole the show for many. HUGE thumbs up to Bob and Niles for putting together a beer like that and a big thank you to those who helped put the event on.

While it was great getting to meet everyone, learn a good amount of information and drink a copious amount of beer, there’s nothing like coming home. We’re happy to be back and look forward to some great taproom nights with an open garage door soon enough. Keep your eyes open for our beer on tap at your favorite bars and restaurants, and more importantly, thanks for being awesome supporters of well made local beers.



keywords: Craft Brewer’s Conference, Amber Waves, Craft Beer

Luck o’ the Lake Recap

run16By now, everyone has (hopefully) recovered from the past weekend and the festivities that come along with St. Patrick’s Day. In case you weren’t at the brewery, let me quickly recap what you missed out on:

– Over 500 folks took off from the brewery on the Luck o’ the Lake 5k run. The winner finished in roughly 17 minutes, motivated by the thought of coming back to the brewery for a celebratory beer.

– Irish Elvis knocked the doors off with a SICK performance, setting the tone for the rest of the night

– Copious amounts of beer were consumed throughout the day, making the Giant Jenga games that much more entertaining

– Chris Kelly, yes THE Chris Kelly, made an impromptu appearance Saturday night and showed off some serious musicianship.

St. Patrick’s Day was, is, and always will be, my favorite holiday. Thanks to everyone who came out to make our first one ever something special!

To recap last week, we headed over to our neighbors at Gold Nugget for a five-course beer dinner that was insanely tasty. Chef Eli worked his magic and put together some of the best pairings imaginable, complimenting our beers perfectly. My personal favorite was the Beer Battered Lobster with Big Island Blond Ale, but it’s not easy picking a favorite at this point. Thanks to everyone involved, both attendees and staff, for putting on a great dinner. We cannot wait to come back again this summer and hopefully do it again!

Next week, Niles and Ben will be heading to Washington D.C. for the 2013 Craft Brewer’s Conference. Ben will be live blogging from seminars, events and the after party’s to keep everyone up to date on the state of our Craft Brewing industry. Most importantly, we will be showcasing our Barrel Aged Spruce Beer, aptly named “George’s Wooden Teeth Spruce Beer”, at the Amber Waves event, sponsored by Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing. We are one of 25 breweries selected, head to for more information.

Moving forward, we will have a couple VERY exciting beer related announcements to stay tuned to our Facebook page for real time updates as to what’s coming out.

Follow us at and on twitter @excelsiobrew.


keywords: MN Beer, Gold Nugget, Luck o’ the Lakes, St. Patrick’s Day, Amber Waves


Catching Up – EBC

Good morning!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to update folks as to what’s happening at the brewery!

In beer related notes, our Oar Lock Oat Stout is down to the last few kegs, meaning this weekend in the taproom will most likely be your last chance to drink it! Make sure to swing on out and get your final pints of this tasty stout before it’s too late! In its place will be our red ale, which offers a very easy drinking malt sweetness and low bitterness. The perfect beer for ringing in St. Patrick’s Day in a couple weeks!

We have a couple of surprise brews coming out in the next few months as well, stay tuned for updates as we move forward.

A week or so ago, we had the pleasure of hosting the Red Shoe Society, a group of young professionals that work with the Ronald McDonald House on raising funds. With such a great cause, it should be no surprise the number of people who came out to support the house. The taproom was packed, beer was flowing and money was being raised! Thanks to the Red Shoe Society and Juan Palomo for putting on a great event.

Last week was an awesome one for the foodies in our group, as we partnered with Pittsburgh Blue on a PHENOMENAL beer dinner. Four courses of amazingness that everyone who has ever eaten there has come to expect. My personal favorite was the ancho-crusted filet paired with the Bitteschlappe Brown Ale. Now, we look forward to our beer dinner with Gold Nugget, taking place on March 14th. Five courses, all very unique and creative menu ideas and only $55 (includes tax and gratuity).

Capping off a crazy busy two weeks was the Food and Wine Experience at Target Field, and the Mille Lacs Kite Crossing in Garrison, MN. President Klick found his way up to the kite racing event, finding time to pour a TON of beer for the competitors and get in a little racing himself. Down at Target Field, we sampled among some of the best beers, foods and wines that are available in MN. While the Sunday session didn’t QUITE go as planned (our kegs were tossed in a freezer overnight, leaving us with some Popsicle action in the kegs) our Saturday session was stellar. We cannot wait to do it again next year, hopefully this time with our beer in a liquid state.

Thanks again to everyone who supports us by drinking our beers, whether it be at a restaurant, in the taproom or in a growler. You folks are the BEST and we’re proud to serve you!


How ’bout this weather?

Welcome to Minnesota, home of frozen people, frozen cars and frozen lakes!

While our fat bike race may not have gone off as planned with the weather conditions, I have to commend the folks that came out anyway. Whenever you bank of certain weather conditions as a determining factor for an event in our state, you’re taking a chance. While the temperature cooperated, the massive wind gusts did not. That being said, it was hella cool seeing over 100 fat bikers lined up for our race on Lake Minnetonka. We knew we were in for some trouble when course officials were being blown across the lake while standing on their feet, but that didn’t deter our racers. Everyone made an honest effort to trek out onto our course and it was a badass scene to say the least.

Despite having to call the ride off early on, some brave individuals (including our head brewer Bob Duvernois) completed the trek anyway. Hats off to the folks that made an effort and to the few that finished anyway. There are hardly any friendlier people than bikers, and they all seemed to take the day in stride. The rest of the day was awesome, with Tim Mahoney and Bob Barley putting on stellar performances and Deli By the Bay providing AMAZING food for visitors. Thank you to everyone (bikers and drinkers alike) who made the day a success in spite of Mother Nature’s intentions.

We also had the chance to pour at the first annual ‘Hops for Hunger’ event in NE Minneapolis. This was a kickass fundraiser for the SACA Foodshelf and featured great beer and music at Uppercut Boxing Gym. Props to Dave for putting it on, cannot wait to do it again next year.

Now that we’ve gotten in our workout for the winter, it’s time to focus on drinking some beer! This weekend, we have a bevy of events for you to quench your thirst. Saturday we will be participating in the Winter Beer Dabbler in downtown St. Paul. Over 7,500 are expected to attend, it’s going to be a party and a half. That same day, we are sampling with the folks at Warehouse Winery in an attempt to break down the boundaries of fermented grains and fermented grapes. Finally, this Sunday, we will be pouring at Biella for a 6 course beer dinner. Tickets are still available, call Biella ASAP to make your reservations. If you cannot make any of these events, fear not! The taproom is open as always, swing out for a fresh pint and play a game of jenga or two.

Again, thanks to everyone who helps us do what we love everyday. Those who support us are not forgotten, we wake up everyday knowing that we can only do what we do because of you folks. Cheers to everyone who came out last weekend and those we will see this weekend!

Gold Medals, ICA and Arctic Fever

We have quite the exciting Friday on our hands, folks! Just found out that Mr. Jimmy’s Baltic Porter, our first of many tribute beers to Jimmy Hutmaker, won a GOLD medal with the World Beer Championships (full details can be found here). Full credit to Bob and Niles for coming up with such a freakin awesome beer and bringing recognition to a style that flies under the radar.

Another great aspect that this beer brings to the table is the idea of giving back. When deciding to honor Jimmy Hutmaker with a series of beers, we wanted folks to remember the legacy of giving back that his name conjures up among locals. For every pint of Mr. Jimmy’s we sold in the taproom, $1 would go back to the local ICA Foodshelf as our way of remembering Jimmy. On Wednesday, we were proud to walk over the ICA with a check for over $1,600 (plus another $500 raised in the taproom separately). We’re fortunate to be involved with a program like the ICA and always look forward to contributing to their cause whenever possible.

We plan on celebrating our Gold this Saturday during Arctic Fever, taking place at the brewery. We are hosting our Fat Bike race, starting at 2:00, and setting up our heated beer garden for folks to embrace the MN winter, all within the comforts of a warm tent. Live music from Tim Mahoney will start at 5:00, with Bob Barley and the A’lers finishing out the night at 7:00. Amazing food from Deli by the Bay will be available, plus plenty of beer to warm up the bikers coming in from the race. It will be an event to witness, don’t be ‘that guy’ who misses out.

As always, thanks to the folks that have come out to the taproom and those who grabbed a pint of beer at one of the restaurants/bars carrying our beer. You allow us to do what we love and for that, we are always grateful.

Cheers to you folks, see everyone tomorrow!

What’s Happening – January 7th

Ton’s of stuff happening since our last blog, I hope everyone had a great holiday/New Year celebrations. By now your livers should be detoxing appropriately and ready for some more beers!

We’re proud to stay we’re still running strong over six months after we’ve opened our doors! It’s been an experience so far, with 8 different beers brewed and countless pints consumed in the taproom and in bars across the metro. Our newest beer is my personal favorite, the Oar Lock Oat Stout. If you haven’t made it to the taproom to try it out, you are truly missing out. This is an easy drinking, roasty brew that will satisfy any craving of chocolate in coffee, all while delivering 6.5% ABV of awesomeness. We will be releasing a firkin in the taproom this Friday (January 11) so make sure to come enjoy the beer like your forefathers in England did!

If you just can’t make it to the taproom, fear not! We will be heading to Pig and Fiddle on January 16th to officially unleash it on the public! Josh and the crew over at P&F are some of the coolest folks out there, don’t miss out on their delicious food and a tasty Oat Stout or two.

Speaking of events, there are a ton of different happenings going on in the next couple months. For a full listing check out our events page on the website. However, the most pertinent event for our locals is the upcoming Arctic Fever Fat Bike Race taking place on January 19th at the brewery. The race itself starts at 2:00 and is FREE to register. You just need tires at LEAST 3″ wide to enter and you’re eligible to race! Click here to signup! We will have a heated tent outside for the after party, featuring live music and plenty of beer! You know you want to celebrate the Minnesota outdoors, I think it’s a good opportunity to do so!

Plenty of more stuff on the horizon, stay tuned for some VERY exciting things in the weeks ahead. Cheers!

Jared Allen, Movember & Beer Dinners

With mustache-free faces, we would like to say thank you to everyone who donate or supported our time during the Movember fundraising season. With your contributions and our facial hair, we raised over $2,000 for prostate and testicular cancer research initiatives! Everything from explaining why we looked so manly, to hosting The Life Time Agency’s Movember Awards, to donating a keg to the ‘Stache Bash’ at the Blue Nile were great for us to take a step towards eliminating disease that affects all of us in some way. Be ready. November 1, 2013…we will be back with the ‘stache

On an awesome note, we were fortunate enough to have Jared Allen swing by the brewery and show some love to taproom attendees. Owner of a brewpub himself (Praying Monk, AZ), the man knows his beer. After swinging in for a couple pictures and MASSIVE handshakes, we were left with the awesome picture below. Such a classy dude, glad we had the chance to have him in and can safely say he is welcome back whenever he wants.

Defensive End > Accountant

THIS WEEK: For those in the taproom, we will be going through what is most likely our last few kegs of Mr. Jimmy’s Baltic Porter. If you haven’t already, make sure to come in and get a taste of this beer before it’s gone! Fear not, we have plenty of other beer in the taproom. From our standards (XLCR Pale Ale, Big Island Blond, Bitteschlappe Brown Ale) to a newcomer (Shattered Solstice Ale) and a soon-to-be staple (oat stout – out in 2 weeks).

If you’re free on Thursday night, make sure to get yourself down to Pig and Fiddle for one of the coolest beer dinners you’ll ever see. 4 courses, 4 breweries, 1 night of awesomeness. We are partnering with Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater, Indeed Brewing of Minneapolis and Rush River Brewing from River Falls to put on a unique dinner. Our beer (Bitteschlappe Brown Ale) is featured with the main course, but you know the other dishes will be stellar as well. Tickets are $40/each and include food and beer. Call now, there are only a few tickets left!

Hope to see everyone in the taproom this weekend. Until then, cheers!

Movember — Day 29…

Day 29…

Ben and Amar have worked hard on their mustaches…please donate to justify their glorious facial hair!

Our morale is high and the mustaches are heavy. After 29 days of growth to raise awareness and money for prostate and testicular cancer research, our ‘soup strainers’ are going strong. BUT we are still scrambling the last couple days. Our initial goal was to raise $1,000 for the month, and as of now, we are still only halfway there. PRETTY PLEASE head over to and give $5 or $10 to help out the cause. As it is something we are all affected by, I know everyone can relate in some way to this.


Last week we were lucky enough to participate in our first ever Christkindlesmarkt with the town of Excelsior. Three days of local goods, local food, local beer and local music couldn’t have gone better. Folks braved the suddenly chilly temperatures to come out and support local at every level, something we are elated to see. For all of those who came out, thank you! It was great seeing you, hopefully we’ll catch you again next time you are in the taproom.

We also had the opportunity to head over to Republic at Seven Corners, where they served up a firkin and the combo of Bitteschlappe and Mr. Jimmy’s Baltic Porter. As usual, it was a great time at Republic. After visiting their new location in Uptown last week, it appears that those folks are further cementing themselves as a craft beer staple for the Twin Cities. It’s always good to see bars switch their taps over to local beers, but when you dedicate your mission (and the majority of your tap lines) to making sure the local guys are represented, that’s something special. Cheers to Republic, thanks for being gracious hosts.

Tonight we have a ton of opportunities for you drink some Excelsior brewed beer. Our taproom is open from 4-10, as usual. We will be featuring a cask of Bitteschlappe conditioned with white ash, should be a tasty beer. EDIT: We will be tapping the firkin Friday, not Thursday. If you’re in Eden Prairie between 5-7, come on out to Champps where Ben will be handing out samples and talking about the different Excelsior offerings.

Finally, we are supporting a great cause tonight at Bayview Event Center and you should too! The ‘Don’t Stop Believing” Pancreatic Cancer Benefit concert is raising a ton of cash for a great cause, AND some stellar music in there too. Details can be found at’t-stop-believin%22-pancreatic-cancer-benefit.

Excelsior Brewing Co. – Exile on Water Street

West Metro representing on active duty! Cheers to Craig for his service

Its All Over Now as our favorite lake is looking a little lonely waiting for the ice to form and the pond hockey games to begin.  Our guys are waxing down their ice surfers and iceboats in anticipation, and our assistant brewer is making final tweaks to his fish shack that will surely see some ‘eyes this winter if not some Tumbling Dice.  If the limited sunlight has you thinking that I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, then the guys from Excelsior Brewing have plenty going on to lift that Beast of Burden.

Whether red, blue, green or whatever color the Libertarian Party claims (Paint It Black), we can celebrate the end of the nauseating commercials and honor the men and women who protect our freedom to cast our votes and let our voices be heard.  The Street Fighting Men and women of the armed services should be honored daily and thanked often.  November 11th, we officially celebrate Veterans Day, and since our Tap Room isn’t open on Sundays, we will raise a pint on Saturday night to honor our friends like Craig Shaver (pictured above).  All active duty and veterans will receive the first pint on us.  Please bring your proof of service and exchange it for a much deserved ‘Thank You’ and a beer of your choice.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want, but Bob and Niles have been busy brewing up what you need.  The guys were hard at work again this week, filling the town with their wonderful aromas.  You almost wonder if our legendary ambassador of years past, Jimmy Hutmaker, can smell the aroma from his resting spot?  In 1964, Mister Jimmy had an encounter with the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, who was visiting our town after playing the Excelsior Amusement park the night before.  As the song lyric states, his “favorite flavor, Cherry Red” was unavailable and sparked the response “you can’t always get what you want”.  We celebrate the legend by donating $1 per pint to the ICA from our release of Mr. Jimmy’s Baltic Porter.  This lager was boiled with licorice root and conditioned with cherry wood, to give you a subtle oak-ish after taste of this wonderfully layered Porter.  Not your bag?  No need to Start Me Up or any of our wonderful volunteers, because our taps will still have a wide selection of beers including the remaining ounces of the Oktoberfest.

When did the brewery hire White Goodman away from the Globo Gym?  “Nobody makes White Goodman bleed his own blood.”  Try to keep up with White, er, Ben and his Movember ‘stache as he’ll be all over town next week when he isn’t working the Brewery.  Gimme Shelter from the cold weather rolling in.  On Ruby Tuesday, November 13th at The Eat Shop in Plymouth we have your shelter.  Ben and the crew will be part of a great beer dinner that night, pairing some Excelsior Brew with Jeff Anderson’s wonderful creations.  Jeff focuses on local ingredients, and what better way to enjoy his cooking than with your favorite local beer.  Let’s Spend the Night Together on the 17th down at the Pig & Fiddle in Edina.  We will be taking over the taps for one night with all your favorites from the Tap Room including Mr. Jimmy’s!  And finally, in the afteroon on the 17th, the Cask Master, Bob DuVernois will putting his magic to work on a pumpkin.  What?  That’s right, our Pumpkins aren’t Shattered, and Bob will be unveiling his Pumpkin Wassail. Enjoy this concoction of Bitteschlappe Brown Ale, hard cider, spices and roasted Gideon apples DIRECTLY from the pumpkin.

Thanks again for your continued support around town, asking, no demanding your favorite restaurant to include our beer on tap.  We love those phone calls!  We don’t have Sympathy for the Devil, so Get Off of My Cloud and head over to the Tap Room where the beer is great, the Volunteers are in high spirits and the vibe is Happy!



keywords: The Eat Shop, MN Craft Beer, Excelsior Brewing, Pig and Fiddle, Veterans Day

Excelsior Brewing Co. Happenings – Movember, Beer Dinners and Launches

Now sitting a couple weeks out from Oktoberfest, we are back to business as usual. Some fun facts about our October 13th celebration that you may or may not know:

– The ICA raised over $1,000 at the Hammerschlagen booth

– Bring It! Studios raised $1,200 for breast cancer patients at Ridgeview Medical Center

– Maynards and Patisserie Margo raised $2,000 combined for the Excelsior Fireworks Fund

– Over 35 kegs of beer were consumed throughout the day by over 2,500 people

It was a helluva day, so humbled by the turnout and the atmosphere. We’re psyched to do it again in 355 days or so, but until then, it’s onwards and upwards!

Coming up next month we will be participating, as a brewery, in Movember. For those unfamiliar with the project, head on over to and check it out. The idea is to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues like prostate cancer by sporting mustaches throughout the month of November. We are selling mustache pint glasses in the taproom all month long, all proceeds will be donated to our Movember page (to donate directly, go to If you would like to join the team, we would love to have you! Email to get an invite, and more importantly, a great reason to sport a mustache all month long!

For the foodies out there, we are excited to announce our first ever beer dinner at Eat Shop! There will be four courses available, featuring our beers as the centerpiece. We will be drinking Big Island Blond, XLCR Pale Ale, Bitteschläppe Brown Ale and our NEW Mr. Jimmy Cherry Baltic Porter. It’s going to be a great time with some AMAZING food and beer. Details on tickets to follow, but it will be taking place November 13th. So be ready!\

Our taplines are growing like crazy right now, to see everywhere you can drink and Excelsior Brew head to We are especially excited to head on down to Edina for our launch at The Pig and Fiddle on November 15th! We will be selling flights and hanging out in a great beer environment. If you haven’t made your way to P&F yet, you are missing out on a knowledgeable and friendly staff, stellar food and most importantly great beer!

Until next time, cheers!