Lupulin Brewing Company’s Big Beer Week
Lupulin Brewing Company’s Big Beer Week 2023 begins on Sunday, March 5, running through Sunday, March 12. Big Beer Week is going on its seventh year, consisting of daily releases of beers ≥ 10% ABV. What started out as a promotion for being open seven days a week, has grown to an eight day event in both the Big Lake, MN and Sioux Falls, SD taprooms, drawing people from all over to come and enjoy high octane, high quality beers.
How Big Beer Week Started
I have been celebrating Lupulin’s Big Beer Week since the early days. In fact, I have done a podcast episode for each year of the festivities. While this week-long celebration of high gravity beers is robust in its breadth of options and flavors, not many people probably know about its humble origins.
Lupulin President and Co-Founder Jeff Zierdt tells the tale of how it all began. “The tradition of Big Beer Week at Lupulin Brewing Company started in 2017 when we decided to announce that our Taproom was moving to being open seven days a week. At the same time, barrels that we had been hibernating in our back warehouse since the fall of 2015 were ready to share with our customers. It was only fitting that as a brewery in Minnesota following a long and cold winter, that we should celebrate getting through another winter by drinking big, strong and bold beers. The first year proved to be successful and since that time we’ve gone to an 8 day event during the first full week of March, added in daily infusions, food trucks and music to create an all around customer experience. It’s a lot of work for our entire staff as planning and preparation starts years in advance and at the same time is great to have so many of our customers look forward to a community gathering like this in Big Lake and Sioux Falls for 8 straight days.”
The Big Beers That Are Worth Your Time
Big Beer Week boasts an extensive lineup of new and cellared vintage releases including multiple award winning beers. Among the award winners, the most notable is Barrel God Cuvée ‘20/’21/’22, which took home a bronze medal at the 2022 Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beers in Chicago, IL. Barrel God Cuvée 2023 will be the third iteration of the cuvée line up, one of 7 different barrel-aged bottles released throughout Big Beer Week 2023.
A grand total of 42 beers will be released throughout this Iditarod of beer. 16 of these beers are brand-new and 24 are returning favorites. While the beers are exciting and unique, one of the most noteworthy things about Big Beer Week is the quest for the elusive 8-Day t-shirt designed by Marcus Paulsen.
Dedication to Big Beer Week is rewarded with t-shirts with the Big Beer Week art for that year. Upon your arrival to Big Beer Week, you will be issued a punch card. Each day you show up, you will receive a stamp on your card. If you can get 4 stamps, you will receive the 4 Day T-Shirt, containing the art in a simplified design. Run the full 8 day gauntlet of Big Beer Week, and you will receive the 8 Day T-Shirt. The 8-Day T-Shirt contains the full fledged Big Beer Week art for that year, it is known as a badge of honor to those that have them, and enables the wearer to unlimited bragging rights for attending all 8 days of Big Beer Week.
Brewing Up Some Fun
Head Innovation Brewer, Aaron Zierdt, also known as the Big Beer Week Brewmaster – “Big Beer Week is our annual opportunity to showcase beers that demand the utmost patience from us as brewers. Throughout the year, but mostly in the winter months, we spend a great deal of time brewing high gravity beers that are destined to spend 12-18+ months resting in barrels. It’s exciting to experiment with a large variety of barrels because we can take the same base beer and end up with a vastly different end result depending on the type of barrel it was aged in. As far as selection, my primary focus is to get the most freshly dumped barrels possible, but beyond that criteria, we often like to try something new. Prior to being packaged and ready to serve, we spend a great deal of time meticulously tasting and blending barrels to ensure we end up with the best possible beer. It’s a ton of fun to be able to spend Big Beer Week tasting these beers alongside friends, both old and new, and that is what I think makes Big Beer Week so special.”
A One Pint Stand Interviews
Luckily, I had the privilege of sitting down with the Lupulin Brewing Company crew to talk about Big Beer Week 2023. Here are parts 1 and 2 of those podcast episodes. I absolutely love Lupulin’s Big Beer Week and will definitely stop up to partake in one of Minnesota’s most enjoyable craft beer traditions.