2023 MN Brewers Cup Awards Ceremony
On Thursday, April 20th, the MN Brewers Cup & Awards took place at the Union Depot in St. Paul. The MN Brewers Cup is a beer competition put on by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild for its members. During the span of an evening that included wonderful Minnesota beers, cocktails, and dinner, 24 different awards were given out for beer categories.
Bob Galligan got the evening started with some opening remarks and then turned it over to Anthony Jennings and Phil Owens, two of the three amazing hosts of the Black Brewers Podcast. Anthony and Phil did an amazing job emceeing the event because they are two of the most charismatic humans in the tri-state area.
It was incredible to have two of the dynamic and diverse voices in our local Minnesota craft beer scene standing center stage for most of the evening. Representation matters and Anthony and Phil are two forces of nature in making craft beer more inclusive and accessible to all.
Anthony, who also works at Arbeiter Brewing, did his classic hat throw when he announced Arbeiter’s first place win for their Czech Pils. Phil had one of the best lines of the night when he was about to announce first place in the Best In Show category. As the audience waited, rapt with palpable excitement and anticipation for the beer that would get first place, Phil said, “Diacetyl,” and it brought the house down.
Ope, I’m Just Going To Sneak By You And Grab This Award
In addition to the 24 beer winners, there were also five different awards that were member-voted categories: Best Member Volunteer(Winner: Ashley Hauf MNCBG Board President), Best Allied Trade Member(Winner: ABV Technology), Best Art & Design(Winner: Marcus Paulsen from Lupulin Brewing), Best Collaboration Beer (Winner: BlackStack & Team Nevertheless-“We’re Not Waiting”, and Most Innovative Brewery (Winner: Modist Brewing).
Best In Show At The MN Brewers Cup
Of all the beers entered into the MN Brewers Cup, 3 stood above the rest and placed in the Best In Show category. Third place went to Freehouse for their No. 68 Red Lager, second place went to Fulton Brewing for their 300 IPA, and first place went to Falling Knife for their Tomm’s Lager.
Hidden Gems in the Land of 10,000 Beers
I have long been telling anyone who will listen that Minnesota is a craft beer must-visit. What the Brewers Cup & Award Ceremony validated is that there is great craft beer being made all over the state. From Montevideo to Duluth, one can find supremely delightful examples of great beer styles.
In talking to several brewers, the vibe at the Union Depot was one of positivity and mutual respect. One brewer said, “Tonight just shows that we are all winners because there is so much great beer to be had in Minnesota.” I think that statement speaks volumes. The adage that the craft beer industry is 99% asshole-free is one that gets thrown out there more than an awful left-handed relief pitcher for the Minnesota Twins.
Of the 24 winners announced, I was happy for all of them. However, there are a couple of breweries recognized that I feel fly under the radar. The fact of the matter is that there are just so many places to find some tasty beer all over the state. Any time a brewery gets some well-deserved love for just keeping their head down and brewing beers that they want to drink, I think that is noteworthy.
I was happy to see Shakopee Brewhall get some love as they took home awards for both American Lager (3rd place) and Dark Lager (2nd place). While it has been a while since I have been into the taproom at Shakopee Brewhall, I always seek them out at festivals because Ben brews some quality stuff.
I was ecstatic to see Chanhassen Brewing get first place for in the Wood-Aged Beers category for their Carver County Reserve. Max Filter, the Head Brewer at Chanhassen, along owners Matt and Laura Rosati, have worked so hard to make Chanhassen Brewing a fun and welcoming place for the community to enjoy craft beer. The Chanhassen Reserve is an outstanding beer and it beat out two other stellar beers from Lupulin and Arbeiter. I love it when good things happen to great people, and Max and his team definitely earned it.
Heavy Rotation Brewing
A newer member of the Minnesota craft beer scene, Heavy Rotation Brewing, also took home 2 awards in the American Wheat & Cream Ales (3rd place) as well as the Brown Ales & Porters (2nd place). Heavy Rotation is a craft brewery that people should check out because they are brewing quality beers that span the entire gamut of craft beer styles. I am also going to be heading that way to chat with the crew about the beers the brewery, so stay tuned for that one!
There are many others that I could mention here, but you get the idea. My key takeaway from the Brewers Cup Awards Ceremony is that the Minnesota craft beer scene is strong and getting stronger. There are so many reasons to get out and about to explore new breweries. I am guilty of getting stuck in my own routines just like anyone else. After seeing some breweries get recognition for brewing some of my go-to styles, I will be doing some more pounding the pavement this summer.
For a complete list of all the categories and winners, here is the link.
Again, I want to thank my friends at Lupulin Brewing Company for bringing me along. I have wanted to attend the MN Brewers Cup Awards for years, and I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. So, congrats to all the winners and keep doing what you are doing. Your beers are quenching the thirsts of many and bringing all sorts of people together. Cheers!