2023 Autumn Brew Review Preview

Photo Credit: MN Craft Brewers Guild

The Autumn Brew Review takes place on Saturday, October 14th at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis from 1:30-5pm. This festival is put on by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. The beers pouring at the Autumn Brew Review will work any craft beer geek into a tizzy. However, if you have an unabashed lust for malt-forward beers leaning heavily into flavors and aromas described as roasty, nutty, caramel, and spiced, you are going to want to make sure you have your safe-word ready.

There are tickets still available and you can check out this link for information. The festival runs from 1:30-5pm, however, VIP tickets get you into the fest a half-hour early. The festival will have food vendors, and unlimited pours of all the beers available. If you want to get a jump on your festival planning, head to Untappd and search Autumn Brew Review under Venue and you will see the list of what breweries are bringing. This will also allow you to check-in the beers you drink at the fest and collect the Untappd badges that we all love.

I have a list of beers that I am excited to try if you want a starting point for your palate adventure. I have perused the beer list with the focus of a Jedi attempting to levitate 17 ’63 Buicks at the same time. My list of beers is not IPA-heavy given the fact that Fall is here. Fall, to me, means drinking the bigger, maltier beers. Also, at this year’s Autumn Brew Review you can swing a dead cat and hit 17 different booths pouring an Oktoberfest beer (Marzen and Festbiers are abundant). So, this list gravitates towards those beers.

Since the weather is going to be in the 50s, the crispy beers will stay cold, and the higher octane beers will warm you up. In other words, the Autumn Brew Review will be taking place during optimal drinking conditions!

We have all seen the Jackwagon who is drinking nothing but high ABV beers for 4 hours at a beer festival. They are oftentimes a middle-aged guy who got a kitchen pass to have an afternoon away from the friendly confines of the homestead. The mantra of this chowder is usually this: “I paid a pretty penny for this ticket, so I have to get my money’s worth!” The world is his oyster and he is going to throw caution to the wind and pack 6 months of fun into one afternoon. Don’t be this guy!!
In fact, if you mix in a few of the beers listed below, you will probably keep your wits about you and actually remember what you had to drink the next day. The added bonus of these beers is they are small on ABV but big on flavor.

A winner of a 2nd Place MN Brewer’s Cup Award for Brown Ales and Porters, London Calling from Heavy Rotation in Brooklyn Park is a perfect example of why Britain is known for incredible beers. London Calling is an English Dark Mild. At 4% ABV, this is the perfect beer to drink while you are debating the age old question of whether you should or should not wear white capri pants after Labor Day. The satisfying flavors of roasted malt and dark fruit in this beer are tremendously satisfying. Give this one a try and then go and tell your favorite local craft brewery that you would like them to brew this beer style!!!

Another lovely British-style beer that you can enjoy is The Old Crown from Sunken Ship Brewing. One thing about this style is that it is not bitter at all. In fact, it is a balanced and easy-drinking ale. The malt character in this style shines with flavors of biscuit and light toffee notes. The hops are there for balance and are more earthy and floral than piney and aggressively bitter. I can’t wait to try this!!

This is one of the latest beers from Wabasha Brewing that I quite smitten with. An Altbier is a German beer style that originated in Dusseldorf (also the name of my childhood imaginary friend) and is a roasted malt delight. The roastiness of this beer will pair well with the chill in the air and pretzel necklace that you are wearing.

Just like Mario & Luigi were everywhere in the mid to late 80s, Italian (Pronounced Eye-Talian if you are from Cokato or over the age of 60) Pilsners are definitely having a moment in craft beer. No, it is not dry-hopped with meatballs or strained through linguini. An Italian Pilsner is usually heavily dry-hopped with Noble hops like Tettnang, Saaz, or Hallertaur Mittelfrüh. Why not talk about a hoppy beer from Lupulin Brewing? Well, because you already know they brew sensational hoppy beers. What I am trying to put you onto is their lager game which is stronger than my love for thin-siced pastrami. Try it, you’ll like it!!

In the Minnesota craft beer scene, the Hoops name is synonymous with quality. In this case, Hoops Brewing in Duluth is giving us a black lager which I think is the perfect beer to transition into fall with. This is the perfect beer to showcase malt at the Autumn Brew Review.

Despite the fact that Oktoberfest is in the rearview mirror, that doesn’t mean we cannot still revel in the plethora of options fitting the style. Also, I don’t know about you, but I believe you can’t have an Autumn Brew Review without a cider. This next section is highlighting some quintessentially Fall drinks that will be pouring.

Yes, I know, many people despise the infusion of pumpkin everything that is synonymous with fall. I know that my pumpkin beer fans are few and far between. However, I know they are out there. Since Wandering Leaf Brewing opened in April, they have impressed me with a steady stream of beers that are diverse in style and high in quality. I am excited to see that Wandering Leaf is bringing a pumpkin beer. If it is along the lines of all the other beers they have put out, security is going to have to drag me from their booth kicking and screaming.

I tried this a few years back and it was a malty delight. Tipping the scales at 7%, this fall favorite from Chanhassen Brewing will definitely put a spring in your schnitzel! I think that the roasted malt levels in this beer are dialed in just right for my palate. You will probably enjoy it as well.

There is nothing I like better than a bawdy beer moniker. You know what I also like? A fantastic lager that is 4.7% ABV and packs a lot of flavor into every drop. I guess that is the calling card at Little Thistle Brewing. If you have had Brave Woman, you know what true artistry tastes like. I am guessing that Graburschnitzel will be along those lines.

A friend was nice enough to bring me a can of Ursa Minor Brewing’s Oktoberfest last year and I loved it. I am happy to see that it is being poured at the Autumn Brew Review. It is a very balanced Oktoberfest that is incredibly smooth.

Montgomery Brewing is bringing one of the underrated peanut butter beers available in the state. Many have sought to replicate the level of satisfactory roast in a beer quite like this one. I cannot wait to drink it!!!

It isn’t the Autumn Brew Review without some eye-popping, warming, and decadent craft beers. There are so many available that it was hard to pick just a handful of ones that I thought sounded intriguing. However, this is why they pay me the big bucks. Here are the big beers that I am most excited about.

A good English Barelywine is just what we will need to take the nip out of the air on Saturday. Luckily, Jack Pine Brewery has this gem. I cannot wait to see what flavors of toffee, dark fruit, and caramel away in this beer!

Who doesn’t love a big Imperial Stout that rested for a while in a Bourbon barrel? If you have been to Omni Brewing’s Hibernation party, then you know that they are adept at aging big beers to make them spectacular. I think that at 12.9%, this one will definitely keep you warm.

This is one of my favorite fall seasonals. I know that pumpkin beers are often hated for their overuse of spices. Well, this 9.5% beer is spiced magnificently and the warming sensation after each sip is pure paradise. I will more than likely head directly to the Prye’s Brewing taproom afterwards to get my hands on a full pour.

Don’t be intimidated by one highest ABV beers at the Autumn Brew Review. This beer from Revelation Ale Works is smooth and delightful. The notes from the barrel round out some of the sweetness from the beer and give it a fantastic complexity.

The Autumn Brew Review is so much fun. In Minnesota, October is a fantastic month for leaf peeping, watching the Vikings disappoint, and drinking craft beer. I want to thank the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild for the press pass so that I can literally soak it all in on Saturday. I am curious to hear what you are excited to try, so drop that in the comments! Cheers!

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