The year in beer: 2013

Notable developments from the world of alcohol and those who help you drink it.

Thomas Q. Johnson

Minnesota’s beer boom is big and getting bigger. Fueled by a desire for better tasting, locally made brews, the movement is changing the law, the economy and the way we think about the cold, wet stuff that comes out of our local pub’s tap.

Since the Surly Bill passed in 2011, microbreweries have been popping up like wild mushrooms across the Twin Cities. These days, you’d be hard pressed to meet a person who doesn’t know someone with a home brewing kit sitting in their garage.

It’s been a red letter decade for the once specialized craft, and 2013 was happy to contribute. Here, collected for you, are some memorable bits of news from around the world of local beer.


Surly breaks ground on its new brewing home

In October, the Brooklyn Center brewers of Furious broke ground on their new home in Prospect Park. When completed, the $20 million  facility will be capable of producing more than 100,000 barrels of beer each year and will serve its creations on site. The new location should be open for business in late 2014 — heck, you could take the light-rail there.

A new, women-owned-and-operated Twin Cities microbrewery

The microbrewery community has long been a boys’ club. Enter Urban Growler, whose founders used 2013 to raise money to help break the gender barrier by the end of the year. Expect to be sipping their righteous suds any day now.

St. Paul changes regulations to allow more taprooms

Until June, taprooms in St. Paul were relegated to industrial parks. Not so after the City Council’s 7-0 vote on a measure that expands the ability of taprooms to open in mixed-use neighborhoods.

Summit updates its logos

Speaking of St. Paul, the capital city’s largest brewer revamped its logo in February, flattening its iconic hops and barley icons and ditching the serifs in favor of blocky white text. Some hate it, some love it, but the beer’s still the same.

That one pedal pub tipped over that one time

Remember that? While rounding a corner near the Stone Arch Bridge this summer, one of the push-powered drinking vehicles that Minneapolis loves to hate toppled over, sending two to the hospital.

The first light of a distillery boom (fingers crossed)

The sheer danger involved in distilling highly flammable and possibly poisonous drinking alcohol has kept many amateurs out of the game. Besides, until 2011, there was an annual $30,000 state fee for anyone looking to turn their mountain still into a legitimate business. But hark! Microdistilleries like Loon Liquors, Lost Falls and Mill City Distilling are beginning their grumblings. In a state with only one microdistillery, it’s a welcome change for the thirsty.

Cider city

At its soft opening in November, Sociable Cider Werks became the first hard cider taproom in Minneapolis. Sociable Cider plans to sell both hard cider and something called “apple graff”— a fruity combination of apple cider and malt. Sounds like a sweet idea.