HOPtoberfest: New Twin Cities Autumn Craft Beers

The leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, there is a crispness in the air. The lighter, sessionable, citrusy beers are making way for more malty, caramel and darker beers to help us stay warm. I love fall for many reasons, and the Oktoberfest beers are one reason. At HOPtoberfest at the Cub Stillwater Wine and Spirit shop last week, I sampled local craft beer and met the brewers from Rush River, Lift Bridge, Summit, Bad Weather and Fulton breweries.

HOPtoberfest Cub Stillwater | Kale and Ale

The scene at HOPtoberfest at Cub in Stillwater.

It was fun to talk in an intimate setting to the brewers and those on the front lines in the shops, about their beers and thoughts on beer. And it was fun to talk with others there about what they liked, why and what brought them out. It was a diverse crowd. I love beer tastings, because I’m a lot more likely to try a few ounces of a style of beer I would never order a pint of. Case in point: My favorite non-hoppy beer was Lift Bridge Fireside Flannel Brown Ale (a rebranding of the Chestnut brown ale) with coffee, chocolate and just the right amount of cinnamon.

HOPtoberfest Rush River | Kale and Ale

Rush River with it’s Wet Hop Minion IPA growler.

I also finally tried Fulton’s Hopstar, and learned that shortly there will be a hopped up version of it, Specter NE IPA. I can’t wait to try that. While Summit brought it’s 25th version of the Unchained series, the brewer for 26 was there talking about it. West of Seventh will be a Belgian dark ale available later this month. How perfect will that be for winter? Bad Weather brought it’s Earl Gray beer, Tippin It Down. The Earl Gray is noticeable, but not intrusive, as it lends a great balance to the beer. Rush River threw a happily surprising curve by bringing a growler of it’s wet-hopped beer, Minion IPA with wet hops. What a treat, I’m glad I could experience that, since I don’t see myself getting to the taproom during the wet-hopped beer timeframe.

What seasonal local beers are you now drinking or looking forward to? Do you plan to try any of the above beers?