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Local Suds: 5 Minnesota beers to drink in July

Jerard Fagerberg

Jerard Fagerberg

Beer is best when shared.

The spirit of collaboration has always been a hallmark of the Minnesota beer scene. In this state, no brewery is an island, not even Beaver Island. In recent years, we’ve seen standout collaboration beers from Surly/Dangerous Man and Barrel Theory/Lupulin, among others, but most amazing is how beer has ventured into so many other industries.

Wheaties, Angie’s, Faribault Woolen Mills, Askov Finlayson, First Ave, Game Informer, and even Har Mar Superstar have all had their names slapped on a can of Minnesota-made beer, simultaneously working to raise the profile of two local institutions. What will be the next collaboration? When will we see a Glam Doll Donut beer? A 3M beer? A goddamn Hormel beer? If things keep going this way, it won’t be long.

Lupulin Operation CoHoperation #2
IPA, 7% ABV, 50 IBU

After scoring huge with their previous Operation CoHoperation collaboration with Barrel Theory, Lupulin Brewing decided to take the show on the road. For the second CoHoperation, they’ve teamed with one of the country’s best IPA purveyors—Colorado’s Odd13. Both are IPA titans in their states, so when Lupulin and Odd13 join together, they're releasing a showstopper of a beer. CoHoperation #2 is a showcase for the South African hop varieties Southern Star and XJA2, but it also makes use of an extremely varied malt bill to play on the softness of the kushy hops.

Jerard Fagerberg

Jerard Fagerberg

Surly Rosé Lager
Fruit beer, 5.2% ABV, n/a IBU

Surly’s small-batch hitmaker at Brooklyn Center is firing across the board. Debut beer Inside the Upside Down was an experimental charmer, but the intervening two (Zest Crazed and Mosaic Kettle Sour) were less exciting. Now, with the release of the wine-imitating Rosé Lager, BC Small Batch is back on their shit. A “pink as hell” lager fruited with black currant and strawberry, this summer sipper looks just like blush wine in the glass. It’s a little more sophisticated on the swallow, retaining that signature beer mouthfeel (and a little bit of brewer’s yeast ester) while otherwise looking and smelling like nothing beer has ever looked or smelled like. This one is a feather in the cap of Surly brewer Ben Smith, who’s an unabashed fan of pink wine.

Jerard Fagerberg

Jerard Fagerberg

Finnegans Tipped Cow
Saison, 6% ABV, 35 IBU

Finnegans released a whole damn fleet of canned beers last month, all of which come from their new Elliot Park brewery. Of the three new offerings, it’s their Tipped Cow farmhouse ale that stands out most. Peppery and bursting with that clove/banana/bubblegum goodness that Belgian yeast offers, Tipped Cow is a classic summer beer. But there’s an underlying refreshment factor that’s uncommon in the saison style. Tipped Cow has a juicy undercurrent of mandarin orange and tangerine. If that, for some inexplicable reason, isn’t your style, try the Cluster Truck IPA or East Town Pilsner, the two year-round cans released alongside Tipped Cow.

Jerard Fagerberg

Jerard Fagerberg

Bent Paddle Citrus Party Kanu
Pale ale, 4.8% ABV, 48 IBU

After wowing with their green-tea-infused Paddle Break, Bent Paddle released the second in their Infusion Series this month with a pithy take on their Kanu session ale. Beer writers are warned against using the word “citrusy” in their writing, but there’s really no better way to describe Citrus Party Kanu. Bent Paddle dropped in zest from oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, covering the gamut of what that problematic word can signify. The result is a pale ale that, refreshingly enough, gets its fruit flavors from actual fruit instead of mimicking them with hops.

Jerard Fagerberg

Jerard Fagerberg

Modist Shook Mango
IPA, 7.8% ABV, n/a IBU

Shook Pineapple was a revelation. Shook Strawberry was divisive. Now with their third milkshake IPA, Modist restores the balance. Shook Mango is an undeniable crowd pleaser. Both sides of the aisle will be pleased by it’s fresh-squeezed ripe mango flavor and vanilla sugar sweetness. There’s still that tickle of hops, but the IPA qualities are mostly swallowed up in this delightful confection of a beer. Shook Mango has been hard to find since dropping on July 11. If you're coming up empty-handed, stop by the North Loop taproom and sample their other July release, Empires Rise Extra Brut.

Brewers interested in being featured in Local Suds should email jgfagerberg@gmail.com.