And Then There Was Beer!
by Mike Lilja, Garlic Festival Fermentation Fugleman
First there was light. Then there was beer. How do we know? Because that wisest sage of his and any time, Benjamin Franklin told us so: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!” Besides, what else did Adam have to do until Eve came along but enjoy a frosty cold one and count his ribs?
As we at the Minnesota Garlic Festival — the midwest’s pre-eminent gastronomical gourmet garlic gala — enter our second decade, I thought it was time to recognize those who started it all and did so much to advance beer and garlic. To that end we are including and honoring those who at this point need none of our help, but are going to get it anyway!
For the first time in Minnesota Garlic Festival history (drum roll please) we announce the inclusion of Summit EPA to our beer line up! Summit, celebrating its 30th anniversary of existence this year, got the whole craft beer movement in Minnesota rolling. Just as Jerry Ford and Greg Reynolds did with the Garlic Festival 11 years ago. Have a beer on me, guys.
For the first time, we are also including Surly Furious! Surly has done so much to promote craft beer in Minnesota by pushing the boundaries of what you can or should do with hops and helped push the Surly Bill which got all those wonderful Tap Rooms going. And besides, Jorge from the restaurant at Surly is one of our chefs this year. Yeah, we bend to those who help us, but its really good beer too.
It’s not only the founders that need to be recognized. There are those who are also pushing boundaries and are limited only by their imaginations (and a necessary malt to hop balance) and are carrying the crafting of beer and the Garlic Festival forward!
Also new this year, RUA from Omni Brewing in Maple Grove. Omni is less than a year old and the first brewery in the northwest metro. After tasting this feisty little red you will be glad you don’t live in Germany where they don’t allow anything but malt, hops yeast and water. Omni tells me Rua is Irish for red and once you get a taste of this ginger infused brew, you will know why red heads have the reputation they do.
Returning for the second year is Finnegan’s. Give these brews a loud and long round of applause. What could be nobler than turning beer into food! You will be able to enjoy either their Flag Ship beer Irish Amber which is great beer to drink all day long or their new beer Freckled Rooster. Sure, they call it French inspired and have some fancy description of it on their web page. I call it the most refreshing farmhouse style beer I’ve ever had.
Also back this year unbeknownst to the brewers, is Badger Hill Foundation Stout. What can be said about this beer that hasn’t already been said. It’s a great stout and its cold. You’ll like it! Badger Hill was one of the first brewers we had when we kicked off the new beer/wine event and we want to say thanks. Thanks for hauling your asses and your beer and jockey boxes out here to help get us going. Just like all those volunteers who haul their asses out here for a discounted meal and one free beer.
Here’s to the volunteers who keep this thing running smoothly! Thanks guys and gals. Have a beer on me (as long as you are of age.)