Autumn Brew Review 2018

Discussion in 'Midwest' started by fargofallout, Sep 4, 2018.

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  1. fargofallout

    fargofallout Initiate (57) Nov 30, 2010 Minnesota

    I didn't realize until today that it's only a couple of weeks away. Information is here:

    I don't recognize every brewery on there, but it looks like it's only Minnesota breweries this year. I assume it got to be too big with non-MN breweries attending? Anyone have any idea when/if we'll get to see what beers will be pouring?
  2. Crazytrain83

    Crazytrain83 Initiate (60) Feb 19, 2017 Minnesota

    I know that I liked the old space and am disappointed that they had to move.
  3. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,722) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I'm more interested in why the move to all MN breweries. This has been a fantastic festival for years, & to screw around with a proven formula for success seems...odd.
  4. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    It's a guild event that now has more than enough guild members to fill the booths. The temporary site may have something to do with it as well (I'm speculating that there may be less space or logistics may be more challenging). There are plenty of Beer Dabblers if you're missing the bottle pours of Angry Orchard.
    tonye and JMN44 like this.
  5. SudsSavant

    SudsSavant Aspirant (246) Jan 9, 2007 Minnesota

    Angry Orchard, yes. Black Gold, no. There are a few festivals where non-Minnesota breweries actually put up an effort. ABR was one of those. I for one will miss not seeing Central Waters, Founders, Lakefront, and several others not at this event.
  6. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,722) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    Luckily, 12welve Eyes will be there, & I'm sure there will be some recipes that hark back to the 19th century. So you're good to go!
  7. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (3,083) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota

    There's always Great Taste of the Midwest.
    maximum12 likes this.
  8. MNPikey

    MNPikey Devotee (450) Feb 27, 2011 Minnesota

    Used to always be Guild only members, the just changed it 2 years ago to allow for anyone to pour. They are changing it back now. When Hammerheart 1st opened they wouldn't join the Guild for some reason and weren't allowed to pour.

    The event won't ever be back at the Grainbelt Brewery. That parking lot and park are getting totally redeveloped. A new park and housing will take it's place. The city has been planning it for over a year.
    islay likes this.
  9. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    I'll take the hidden gems over queuing for overhyped special releases from the big names any day. If you need long lines, social media buzz, and a big reputation among beer geeks to enjoy a beer, then, in internet parlance, "You're Doing It Wrong." Festivals are a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, explore widely, and, hopefully, discover some new favorites. I have no problem with regionally and nationally distributed beers at festivals, especially if they put in effort (as a handful, but only a handful, tended to do at ABR), but it would be self-defeating at this point for the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild to promote the competition at its members' expense.
    HoppyHawk, JMN44 and KarlHungus like this.
  10. Hookstrat

    Hookstrat Initiate (136) Jan 15, 2006 Iowa

    Looks like they do a Berliner Weisse, but it's flavored with woodruff so probably not for Islay. Hopefully no one dares bring one of those new-fangled Krieks or other fruited lambics!
  11. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,722) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    You're projecting, my friend.

    While I understand you are trying to shame those of us who love a good IIPA with honey & experimental hops or a pastry stout with 13 adjuncts, I am an unabashed fan...who also goes out of his way to try new things/new breweries at every festival we attend.

    This is not a binary choice - I like both. But I'll clear the field. If you're there, find me, & we'll continue this debate beard to clean-shaven face.
  12. Benj68

    Benj68 Initiate (49) Apr 9, 2015 Minnesota

    I'll miss the brewery backdrop, but Hall's Island should have less parking lot and better views of the river. The city has put a ton of effort and money into the restoration project already, so it will probably get better as a venue as they get further along with completing it. In my opinion, they should just move the damn thing to Book Island Park instead. You have a gigantic amount of green space paired with a skyline backdrop. If they can do Rock The Garden there for one year, ABR should be doable as well.
    TrailsandAles likes this.
  13. bergbrew

    bergbrew Initiate (71) Jan 12, 2004 Minnesota

    That's incorrect. Winterfest was always members only; the ABR was always open.
  14. HammsMeASAP

    HammsMeASAP Initiate (131) Jun 14, 2012 Minnesota

    Someone just tell me if I should go or not. Thinking about it.
  15. Rajaholick

    Rajaholick Initiate (158) Jan 9, 2011 Minnesota

    I can't believe how much you defend and promote (every single breweries to visit in the twin cities thread) 12weleve eyes on this board. Their beer is mediocre at best and they make tons of hazy/milk shake IPAs and fruited beer.

    When it comes to barrel theory however you have quite the opposite opinion.

    Makes it look like you just rail against barrel theory because they're "in" and "hipster" and whatever not really because of what their beer actually tastes like.

    Waiting for a 5 paragraph post that is mashup of the same posts you make every other day about beer that is true to style and how the new generation drinking beer that "doesn't taste like beer" is ruining everything.
    mgretz1, jera1350 and sean_mpls like this.
  16. herman77

    herman77 Savant (966) Jan 24, 2010 Minnesota

    I’ve got an extra ticket if anyone needs one or hasn’t bought a ticket yet. $40
  17. Benj68

    Benj68 Initiate (49) Apr 9, 2015 Minnesota

    You should go. Despite it now being MN only (which is a big let down), there's enough breweries in this state putting out great and interesting stuff to make it worthwhile. Forager, Lupulin, Barrel Theory, Surly, Lift Bridge (BAS variants), Bent Paddle, Indeed, and Wild Mind (probably missing others here) all had good to great variants and one off beers last year. In addition, the festival is well run and the weather usually perfect. It's $50 well spent.
  18. herman77

    herman77 Savant (966) Jan 24, 2010 Minnesota

    Any takers on this? Don't want it to go to waste. Tickets are $45 originally plus $5 service fee, but will sell it for $40.
  19. nogophers

    nogophers Aspirant (219) Jun 28, 2011 Minnesota

    Why did they do away with the cideries this year? Only Sociable with just 2 ciders. Sucks for our friend who has celiac and comes more for the social aspect.
  20. SudsSavant

    SudsSavant Aspirant (246) Jan 9, 2007 Minnesota

    Feel free to point out another cidery that's a guild member:

    Otherwise, Burning Brothers is a second option since they make gluten-free beers.
    Chaz and macgroveguy like this.
  21. nogophers

    nogophers Aspirant (219) Jun 28, 2011 Minnesota

    That would explain it, wouldn't it. Unless they also brew beer (like SCW does), I don't think it's possible for a cidery to join the guild.
  22. Oneeighthcuban

    Oneeighthcuban Initiate (94) Aug 17, 2010 Minnesota

    Sociable Cider Werks doesn't actually brew any cider. It's all legally graff. Weird right? But really smart...
    nogophers likes this.
  23. HammsMeASAP

    HammsMeASAP Initiate (131) Jun 14, 2012 Minnesota

    What's the difference? I know less about cider than I do beer.
  24. DNW620

    DNW620 Initiate (60) Jan 23, 2014 Minnesota

    Graff is a beer cider hybrid. Or cider “brewed” with malt.

    They yell the word SORGHUM into the fermenters and boom you’re a brewery and not a cidery /s
    Hookstrat likes this.
  25. MNPikey

    MNPikey Devotee (450) Feb 27, 2011 Minnesota

    They use sorghum and hops for bittering since bitter apples aren't plentiful in MN.

    When Sociable hired the brewer from Surly, there were brewing IPAs, stouts, etc....what happened to him anyways?
  26. Oneeighthcuban

    Oneeighthcuban Initiate (94) Aug 17, 2010 Minnesota

    Graff is at least 51% malted products for the fermentable sugars (barley, sorgrum) and needs something like 3oz per 100 bbls of a hop addition (so basically none).

    Sociable is legally licensed as a brewery, and cannot call their actual products cider (as they do not meet that legal definition). If you look closely at their packaging you'll notice the word cider is mentioned only in the name of the brewery. This is also why they can brew both "ciders" and beers and sell both in the taproom.
  27. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    That indeed originally was the case, but Sociable applied for a winery license last year with the intention of making true cider in addition to the graff. It's not clear to me if it ever received that license, actually is making any true cider, or is allowed to sell any true cider in its taproom. Dara gives some of the details here (from August 2017). I like that Dara subtly calls out Sociable for confusing and miseducating the public about cider and graff.

    Also note that Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery in Waconia sells both true wine and true beer in the same taproom, and my understanding (based on discussions with the owner) is that somehow it does it all with only a winery license (and not a brewery license).
  28. Oneeighthcuban

    Oneeighthcuban Initiate (94) Aug 17, 2010 Minnesota

    I haven't been to Schramms but had heard you can't buy both from the same point of sale? Lije there is a wine purchasing area and a beer purchasing area. Is this not the case?

    There's no way they are (legally) making beer under a winery license. The legal definitions of each kind of license state in it's definition the ingredients that must be used by the alcohol producer. For example:

    Subd. 29.Wine.

    "Wine" is the product made from the normal alcoholic fermentation of grapes, including still wine, sparkling and carbonated wine, wine made from condensed grape must, wine made from other agricultural products than sound, ripe grapes, imitation wine, compounds sold as wine, vermouth, cider, perry and sake, in each instance containing not less than one-half of one percent nor more than 24 percent alcohol by volume for nonindustrial use. Wine does not include distilled spirits as defined in subdivision 9.
  29. SudsSavant

    SudsSavant Aspirant (246) Jan 9, 2007 Minnesota

    Not the way I remember it and this picture seems to prove it's all purchased from the same spot.
  30. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (3,906) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    Confirmed. Sold from the same spot. The brewery space is in a separate building from the rest of the operation however. But everything else is intermixed.
  31. fargofallout

    fargofallout Initiate (57) Nov 30, 2010 Minnesota

  32. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,131) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    One or more upper midwestern cider producers and meaderies would participate (White Winter Meadery) when beer fests first began to occur locally, but when the national brands crept in some of original local and regional focus was lost.

    I’d say the Minnesota Cider Guild is worth noting, and has a pretty good fest of its own:
    stinsonwbs, nogophers and KarlHungus like this.
  33. terabin

    terabin Initiate (120) Oct 9, 2009 Oregon

    Was anything good today? I miss ABR
    nogophers likes this.
  34. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,722) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    You didn't miss much, IMHO. We've been to 20+ festivals over the past 10 years or so, including many ABRs, & this was the first one we ever left early.

    Really missed the out of state breweries, which were replaced by a bunch of newer, sub-par MN breweries. The water ran out at one point, which was just piss-poor planning. There were fewer food trucks, which led to longer lines & longer waits. Way too many places pouring mostly beers I can get on just about any shelf.

    Apologies for all the complaints, but we've looked forward to ABR every fall for years, & this is the first one that failed for us. I hope it returns to form in 2019.
  35. macgroveguy

    macgroveguy Initiate (51) Jan 22, 2015 Minnesota

    Agree on the lack of out of state beers and the running out of water for 1+ hours of the fest. Food truck avaviblity doesnt matter for anyone with uber eats or bite squad on their phone.

    I had fun at the fest but it didn't feel as special as it had in the past. I will still attend annually until there is an alternative fall fest of similar size and quality.
    Benj68 likes this.
  36. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    It definitely had a different vibe from past years' events, mostly for the worse, although for me that had more to do with the inferior site (the historic brewery setting always was a draw), the heat (which, admittedly, would've been worse on asphalt at the old site), and the fact that the novelty of beer festivals clearly has worn off than the lack of non-Guild breweries. I personally don't mind not having to navigate around huge lines for overhyped special releases from out-of-state breweries, but I suppose I should be sympathetic to the people who choose to spend their time that way, and, sure, quality overall will be lower in a local showcase in an immature market like this one. I agree that the water running out mid-festival was problematic (potentially dangerous in that heat and with that much alcohol consumption). I think if the grounds of the festival could've stretched past the bike path toward the river, that would've helped considerably (better scenery, cooler air, more space).
    JMN44 and Benj68 like this.
  37. nogophers

    nogophers Aspirant (219) Jun 28, 2011 Minnesota

    Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I liked Hall Island better...It was a larger space that didn't place the toilets next to the food/beer vendors; the grass was so much better on a hot day, but I imagine it would have been worse had it been raining; dropping a glass didn't win you a chorus of boos.
    Running out of water was inexcusable.
    Lack of gluten free options for my celiac friend (see cider rant in post #19), although kudos to Lift Bridge for 2 awesome GF sodas.
    I was not wanting for more beer. There were some great ones, plenty of good ones and several more that were dumped on the grass.
    The volunteers were great...Always had a smile.
    JMN44 and Benj68 like this.
  38. Benj68

    Benj68 Initiate (49) Apr 9, 2015 Minnesota

    It was OK this year. The scenery wasn't as good as the old brewery, but I felt the layout was better and not having asphalt was a huge plus with how hot it was. Beer-wise, it was really hit or miss. Wild Mind had some great stuff again this year, ditto for rarer/special releases from Junkyard, Barrel Theory, Lupulin, Sisyphus, and Forager. Town Hall had Czar Jack (great this year) and Indeed w/ Espresso Rum King, which are always welcome in my book. My disappointment seems to echo with what others mentioned: all of the out of state breweries were replaced with very mediocre or existing up-starts that are putting out very bland/not good ipas, lagers, and kettle sours. Once you rolled through the expectedly good stuff from some of the consensus best/fav breweries on here, there wasn't much left. I just hope the aftermentioned breweries continue to put the effort into bringing great/interesting stuff for next year and this fest doesn't turn into a glorified Beer Dabbler. 2016 & 2017 this festival felt like an ever growing mini-Great Taste. This year was a significant step back.

    Hats off to Barrel Theory & Wild Mind for bringing their very latest bottles (same day release) in What the Fluff and La Reine. La Reine was my favorite all day, What the Fluff was worth the wait in line too.
  39. SudsSavant

    SudsSavant Aspirant (246) Jan 9, 2007 Minnesota

    Don't suppose anyone still has their glass that they'd be willing to part with for fair compensation? I managed to carry mine with me for several hours afterward but stupidly left it at the last bar I went to after the event and they didn't hang on to it.
  40. nogophers

    nogophers Aspirant (219) Jun 28, 2011 Minnesota

    Rule #6 of ABR: Don't keep drinking once you leave.
    That said, I left my glass at a restaurant as well.
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