That’s right. The Beer Stand Blog went beer fest’in again! Hundreds of unique beers, all in one place, several of them unique to the festival.
Don’t mind if we do…
All Pints North was on July 26th from 3-7pm. There were a LOT of people there, but not so many that you felt crowd. Also, PLENTY of port-a-potties, which, in my opinion, is a key component of any beer fest.
The below map shows how well laid out this festival was. What it doesn’t show is the lovely bay that is right behind that stage. It was a brilliant backdrop to all of the delicious beer. (All program screen shots courtesy of MN Craft Brewers Guild.)
Now the only thing I would say is that it would’ve been nice if the beer tents were staggered. That way, you’re not all cramming into the walkways. They certainly seemed to have the space. In the end, it wasn’t too bad though. It only got bad when there were a pile of people waiting in line for certain special beers.
When we first got there, they were scanning people in. They put us all into that courtyard walkway, which I would liken to cattle in a cattle run. I didn’t mind. It gave me the opportunity to plan where I was gonna head first…
The program was well-done, as is every program that the MN Craft Brewers Guild does (including Winterfest and Autumn Brew Review). It gives you enough room to take notes on each beer, as well as a solid description of each beer. It’s organized by brewery, so everything is easy to find. We also got adorable tasting glasses, as per usual.
I loved the fact that Mr. Michael Agnew himself, our local beer class teacher, gave his basic tasting note ideas in the program:
These are solid ideas for any beer that you’re tasting, so give it a try next time you have a brew in your hand!
Of course, your fearless leader took copious notes in the midst of the fray. Below are his thoughts on many of the beers he put down:
612 Brew - Rye IPA on Sour Patch Kids - Not really tasting the Sour Patch Kids as much as I thought I would. Good but not great. 3.5/5.0
Bell’s - Hopsolution IPA - Great citrus flavor that is sweet but not bitter. 4.5/5.0
Brau Brothers Brewing - Bancreagie Peated Scotch Ale - Great toffee flavor with more carbonation than I thought. 4.0/5.0
Castle Danger Brewery - Wimpy - Strong citrus aroma, but flavor is more mild and has a slight alcohol bite. 4.0/5.0
Central Waters Brewing Company - Satin Solitude Imperial Stout - Very good, easy to drink. Smooth! Love it. 4.5/5.0
Deschutes Brewery - Black Butte Porter - One of my all-time faves. Sweet toffee aroma. Mild though with great flavor. 4.5/5.0
Side note from Annie: Check out the sweet-ass beer barrel truck Deschute’s brought! It would be even more awesome if the giant tap on the back actually worked. Hashtag highway beer…
Enki Brewing - I Anno Enki Chocolate Hefeweizen - Spicy aroma. Sweet upfront, chocolate follows, and finishes yeasty, 3.5/5.0
Fargo Brewing Company - Barrel Buster Imperial Porter - Smooth with a sweet caramel/toffee aroma and mild hop flavor. 4.5/5.0
Fargo Brewing Company - Raspberry Infused Stone’s Throw Scottish Ale - Finishes well with a bit of raspberry upfront. Pretty good. 3.5/5.0
Great Waters Brewing Company - Raspberry Ka-Pow IPA - Eh. Too much raspberry with no IPA characteristics. 2.5/5.0
Great Lakes Brewing Company - Edmund Fitzgerald with Cherry and Vanilla - Cherry/Vanilla is really mild. This is a great twist on an already great beer. 4.5/5.0 (Annie almost had an orgasm over this beer. No seriously)
Great Lakes Brewing Company - Triple Dog Dare - Spicy sweet with nutmeg. Tastes like Christmas. 4.0/5.0
Great Lakes Brewing Company - Wandering Pelican Black Lager - Malty sweet with a heavy caramel/toffee flavor. Hints of cherry and apricot as well. 4.5/5.0
Green Flash Brewing Company - Double Stout - Mild coffee but heavy toffee aroma. Good mouth feel with a mild toffee flavor. 4.0/5.0
Hammerheart Brewing Co. - Barrel Aged Surpensblood - WOW! 5.0/5.0
Mankato Brewery - Leaf Raker Firkin - True to the description, malty, nutty flavors, hint of smoke as well, More carbonation than I thought. 3.5/5.0
Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub - Smokehouse Porter - Strong hop flavor. Wasn’t expecting that. definite malt and smoke flavors as well.
Odell Brewing Co. - St. Lupulin - Great sweet hop flavor that finishes just a touch bitter. 3.5/5.0
Red Wing Brewery - Pepie’s Porter - Hoppy up front and doesn’t finish well. 2.0/5.0
South Shore Brewery - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Mint Stout - Best of show right here. This was an outstanding beer. Very subtle flavors and incredibly smooth. The mint works really well. 5.0/5.0
Side Note from Annie: This stout was my favorite beer as well, even though Bent Paddle won the best beer award for their Madagascar Vanilla Cold Press on Nitro (another solid beer - but I think it got the edge because the brewery itself is mere blocks from this festival ;) No offense guys!)
Surly - Blakkr - Do I even need to note this? 5.0/5.0
Surly - Darkness 2013 - Duh. 5.0/5.0
WHEW…as you can see, he went all out with the notes while I wandered aimlessly and jotted barely readable numbers next to a few beers. Well done, Doug.
So in the midst of all of this beer, we got some food. We agree that we wish there would’ve been a bit more selection. What we did find at the Chow Haul food truck was really delicious though!
We went with the Braised Pork Tacos. So much num, and desperately needed after plowing through some serious beer…
All in all, it was a super successful day. The weather was utterly perfect, other than the first half, which was crazy hot. I didn’t mind though. Some breeze and coolness came in during the second half that really helped. We were also treated to this in the end:
I’m 100% sure this was God smiling on our totally awesome afternoon activities. Probably.
Until next time,