Recently I traveled to Minnesota for work and was able to experience a brief look at the Minnesota Craft Beer industry. I visited a local liquor store that proved to have a decent selection of Minnesota craft beer as well as a selection of national craft beers like Sierra Nevada, Stone, and Founders. I visited two craft breweries, Hammerheart Brewing and Big Wood Brewing, which served some excellent craft beer in their unique taprooms. I'll admit, Minnesota craft beer game is going strong, but there were some things that bothered me.
While having a conversation with my last bar tender for this Minnesota trip I realized, I am craft beer spoiled. though I haven't lived in Michigan for my entire life I can say I have lived here for my entire adult life. My first craft beer may not have been a brewed in Michigan but it was purchased and enjoyed in Michigan. In my head, 95% of the craft brewery tap rooms around serve up delicious beer with delicious grub. And you can walk into the tap rooms and most beer bars and purchase or fill up a growler of one of their many fine beers. Why does this make me spoiled you ask?
In 2011 the Minnesota legislature passed the so-called "Surly Bill" allowing new licenses permitting brewers to sell pints of their beer at on-site taprooms. As recent as 2014, a new law was passed allowing taprooms to be open on Sunday. And up until recently craft breweries couldn't sell growlers out of their tap room. Going into the craft beer environment in Minnesota I had no idea of these rules, so I was a little taken aback when I tried to find a craft brewery that could satisfy my thirst and my hunger at the same time.
Where I live now, I could throw a stone and hit 4 breweries that are restaurants (Royal Oak Brewery, Woodward Avenue Brewery, Bastone, and with the strength of Uncle Rico Falling Down Brewery). My best bet for good beer and good food was the Norman Quack's down the road from my hotel. I leave for Minnesota this Thursday, and hopefully this time around I will be able to experience a couple more breweries, this time I will have a better understanding as to what I am getting myself into. Thanks to my trip to Minnesota I have realized that living in Michigan has made me Craft Beer Spoiled.