September Spirit of the Month: Aquavit

Aquavit is a Scandinavian spirit that is traditionally flavored with ingredients such as caraway, cardamon, fennel, or dill.  You can easily substitute aquavit into your favorite whiskey, gin, or vodka drinks for a tasty new variation.  Through September we will feature some of our favorite aquavits and show you how versatile it can be!  Let’s leave the lutefisk to the Nordics and broaden our savory cocktail arsenal with that dusty bottle of aquavit instead.

Week 1:

Aquavit Mule, aka Dala Horse

In a copper mule mug filled with ice, combine:

Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.


 

Week 2:  Local pairing 

Aquavit can also be enjoyed chilled or over ice. This week we recommend trying Skaalvenn Aquavit with Northern Lights Blue Cheese from the Cheese Shop.  Each batch of Northern Lights Blue is hand crafted in small batches with fresh ingredients and milk from local Brown Swiss cows who are allowed to graze on pasture all year long, which helps create a rich creamy texture and delicious flavor.  The cheese is aged for a minimum of four months, longer than most blue cheese, which adds to its creamy texture and peppery taste.  This cheese will pair nicely with Skaalvenn’s Aquavit, which is distilled from wheat and flavored with caraway, fennel, orange peel, and aged in oak barrels.


Week 3: Nordic Summer Cocktail – Coming Soon


Week 4: AkvaCran & Tonic – Coming Soon

What We’re Drinking: Wine Edition

Barbecues and Up-North getaways are making up a large portion of our August weekends here at France 44, both for staff and customers! With that lazy August energy in the air, we thought it would be more fun to find out what bottles the staff are taking with them on their vacation days, rather than doing an in-depth study of a particular wine or producer. So, without further ado, here’s what the France 44 staff is drinking: Wine Edition!!
 

 
Sam
I’ve been infatuated with this dry Lambrusco that looks and tastes like a perfectly ripe raspberry. It’s a refreshingly dry take on this traditional wine style, and the effervescent bubbles are a good reminder that Lambrusco really was out there doing the ‘pet-nat’ thing before it was a thing. You really can’t find a better wine to take the edge off these hot August afternoons!!
 
 

 
 
Rick
This gorgeous, unique white from the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains is sort of a “Goldilocks Wine.” Using the indigenous grapes Petit Manseng and Petit Corbu, the winemakers of Illaria manage to create a near-perfect balance of fruit and minerality, resulting in a wine that’s not too austere and not too fruity. Enjoy this “just right” bottle with just about any food you can imagine.
 
 
 

 
Dustin
This is a tasty little wine! Sourced from grapes grown in the Camp 4 vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, this is a ripe and rich white made from a blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Roussanne. This blend of grapes is more traditional to Southern France than Southern California, but the winemakers at Kita manage to create a rich, ripe white out of them that is unmistakably Californian, with tons of zesty citrus and white peach flavors. It’s also worth noting that Kita Wines is owned by the Santa Barbara Band of Chumash Indians, who are the first Native American tribe to own and operate both a winery and a vineyard.
 

 
Josh
The Pax North Coast Syrah seems to have everything I want in a Syrah. It has plenty of blackberry, plum, black pepper, and subtle floral notes. It is peppery with an ample amount of fruit yet still somehow refined and elegant. Honestly, all that matters is that it is absolutely delicious. I’m grabbing another bottle of this for the weekend! 
 
 

 

Bennett
What I’m drinking always revolves around what we’re cooking in the kitchen that night. My favorite go-to food wines are German and Italian whites, but here are the most memorable pairings from my summer:
 

 
 
 
Kayla
As a beer team member, I don’t always drink wine, but when I do I drink La Nevera Boxed Wine. It’s dry, fresh, delicious and it’s in a box (four bottles of wine fit in one 3L box!). What else can you ask for? Stay thirsty my friends.
 
 
 
 

 
Adam

What have I been drinking this summer? Rose, bright acidic white wine and lighter body reds. My favorite discovery of the summer hasn’t been a particular wine, but a particular bottle size. I love 1 liter bottles of wine! They are approachable,  affordable, and tend to satisfy all palates. They are crowd pleasers for your backyard BBQ, and you get the extra 250ml out of the bottle. What’s not to like?

My favorite 1L bottles

Whites- Halozan, Ercole, and Furst Elbling

Reds- Ercole, Azul y Garnacha, Gulp Hablo Garnacha

 


 
 
Jay
I love this wine, especially when it’s hot out and I’m still in the mood for a fun red. Pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes and put a slight chill on it, then sit on the patio and enjoy — it’s like having a glass of cool ripe strawberries.  The bright red fruits and acid make it perfect for sipping on a warm day, but the structure, minerality and spice are there too, and this can easily stand up to barbecue and burgers.
 
 
 

 
Tashi
I recently took Perles Fines sparkling rose to my best friend’s birthday party and it was a total crowd pleaser.  It’s dry and paired well with the birthday cake.  Plus, the muselet has an adorable unicorn cartoon on the cap which was a fun surprise!  This will definitely be my go-to for birthday bubbles.
 
 
 

 

 

Tom
This wine is an absolute grilling & cabin staple. The Graziano family has been making awesome wine in Mendocino since the early 1900’s and the 3rd and 4th generations of winemaking tradition are being carried on by the family today. It is juicy and rich and goes perfectly with just about anything off the grill! Seriously, try this with cheeseburgers. Needless to say, this wine slaps. 
 
 

 
Rob
The wine that I am drinking right now is Hamm’s.
 
 

August Spirit of the Month: Mezcal

Each week for the month of August we’ll bring you a different cocktail recipe or food pairing featuring Mezcal (tequila’s smokier cousin). Mezcal comes from 9 different regions in Mexico, the most common being Oaxaca. Similar to tequila, it is distilled from the heart of the Agave plant. Unlike Tequila, any type of Agave can be used. It is also most commonly pit roasted prior to fermentation, giving the final product its distinct, smoky flavor. If you haven’t tried mezcal before, this might be just the nudge you need to get a bottle to experiment with!

Week 1:

Smoke on the Water
In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine:

Shake until well chilled and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.


Week 2:

Smoky Negroni 

In a mixing glass with ice, combine:

Stir until well chilled and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.


Week 3: Mezcal Food Pairing! 

This week we are going to pair mezcal with a fun snack from the Cheese Shop! We recommend trying Xicaru Silver Mezcal with Jamon Serrano and goat cheese (Order online HERE). Jamon Serrano is a dry cured Spanish ham sliced thin and one of the most iconic Spanish food products. While mezcal is from Mexico, the smokiness will highlight this meat well, and the goat cheese adds a nice creamy finish. Xicaru is available in 375 ML bottles so it’s a less intimidating purchase if you want to try mezcal for the first time. This is the perfect pairing to take along to a happy hour or picnic gathering to introduce your friends to the amazing world of mezcal (and the fun things you can find at our Cheese Shop)!


 

Week 4: The Final Week! 

This week we’re going to make the easiest cocktail pairing ever.  Last weekend at the cabin?  Quick pairing to wind down after a busy week?  We’ve got you covered.  This week’s mezcal is going into Summer Lakes Bootleg mix, which will create a very tasty twist on a mojito.  We recommend trying Derrumbes San Louis Potosi, which uses above ground roasting methods for a less smoky mezcal.  You’ll get hints of bell pepper, minerals, and a little funkiness that’s going to pair great with pimento dip and some crackers from the cheese shop.  Quickest shopping trip ever, and you’ve got an easy but delicious cocktail and snack covered for wherever life takes you.

A Taste of the Tropics

Written by Bennett

Just about every Minnesotan right now: “Well what in da heck, Barb! Jeepers it’s been a doozy of a cold spell, I almost ran out of hotdish for cripes sake. Ope! Better go check the oven. Tell your folks I says hi.” 

Yes, indeed. It’s been one of the most frigid winter spells we’ve experienced—almost record-breaking—if not for a few intermittent hours up in the positive degrees. Almost two weeks spent sheltering indoors has felt like a monotonous slog; a sort of Groundhog Day-esque alternate reality. And unfortunately, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow again this year. *Sigh* Guess we’re not out of the woods yet.

I don’t know about you, but this frigid weather has me daydreaming of tropical vacations. While actual travel hasn’t been encouraged recently, I urge you to take a mental vacation. You deserve it. Close your eyes—Imagine big-sky sunset vistas, toes curled in sand still warm from the day’s light, no problems in the world. I can’t fly you there, but these tropically-inspired craft brews can take your senses on that trip.

Modist Fruitropolis Imperial Smoothie Sour — $20.99/4pk Can

Double of this, double of that! Pineapple, passion fruit, raspberry, you name it—Modist is doubling it in this smoothie brew. Fruitropolis features gobs of fruit with a swirl of milk sugar on top of a smooth wheat and barley malt base. A snap of sourness keeps everything in balance.

BlackStack Ken Burns Presents — $21.99/4pk Can

Ken Burns is back with a new episode on BSB public beervision—pineapple, passion fruit, and mango! BlackStack takes their inhouse foeder-fermented mixed culture Berliner Weisse and lays it down on fruit, vanilla bean caviar and milk sugar. Roll the can to stir the juicy bits then serve in your best tiki glass. 

Untitled Art Florida Seltzers — $15.99/6pk Can

Currently available in three distinct flavors—blood orange pomegranate, prickly pear guava, and raspberry lime—the Florida Seltzer lineup takes you beyond the conventional sense of seltzer. Mega-brand bubbly water will be a distant memory after you take a sip of these. Vibrant fruit with a pop of acidity almost puts these in sour beer-territory, but without the gluten.

Junkyard Keep Me Cold Rainbow Sorbet — $10.99/Crowler

Just look at the label, how cute. A happy little luau-dressed penguin safe from circling killer whales atop a floating iceberg. This flightless bird has the right idea. Keep Me Cold features orange, raspberry and Tahitian lime, creating a delicious sweet and sour balance.

New Natty Wines at France 44!

Against all odds, the natural wine movement perseveres. Even in the face of a restaurant apocalypse and a pandemic-fueled boxed wine resurgence, people continue to bang down our doors for low-intervention wines with eye-catching labels. Some are drawn by the promise of wines that eschew traditional tasting notes, jumping into the tasting lanes of, “funky,” “crunchy,” or “tangy,” while others are just eager to support the small farms and winemakers that create these unique bottles. Not sure what a natural (or, natty, as the kids say) wine is? Don’t worry, we made a podcast about it. 

Luckily, we’ve recently acquired a whole new selection of these bottles from Sensus Wines, a Chicago-based importer with a wildly fun catalog of artisanal, natural wines from locations near and far. Here’s a taste of what’s (literally) in store, and don’t hesitate to put in an order right away; in true natty wine fashion, quantities on ALL of these bottles are very limited!


From Clot de les Soleres, located in Penedes, Spain, we’ve acquired a unique Pet-Nat made from 100% Macabeu ($29.99). If that sounds familiar, it’s because Macabeu is one of the “Big 3” grapes used to make Cava! Rarely bottled on its own, this wonderful pet-nat is lightly sparkling, with a palate that bursts with rich, ripe apple and candied orange peel flavors. 

Also on offer from the same producer is a one-of-a-kind Cabernet Sauvignon ($32.99). When winemaker Carles Mora began replanting his vineyards to indigenous varietals, he left one patch of Cabernet Sauvignon alone that had been planted in the late ‘80s. The wine he makes from this plot is like no Cab we’ve experienced—a zingy, bright streak of tart cherry rings through the center of this wine, electrifying the edges of your mouth before settling into a classically full-bodied finish. 

Clot de les Soleres Macabeu $29.99 (Click here) 

Clot de les Soleres Cabernet Sauvignon $32.99 (Click here)


Nearby, in the town of Zamora, La Microbodega de Alumbro works with an equally unique patchwork of vines to craft “Malveral,” a blend of Malvasia and Palomino grapes that are allowed to ferment on their skins, yielding a wine that pours a golden amber color. Gently tannic, this “orange” wine has a dried apricot core that effortlessly pairs with a huge range of foods ($34.99).

La Microbodega de Alumbro Malveral $34.99 (Click here)


While “light and fresh” isn’t our typical association for red wines from the Dão region of Portugal, the two bottles we’ve picked up from Quinta da Boavista are just that! These wines, with their whimsical, hand-drawn labels, will make you totally reconsider your opinion on Portuguse reds—guaranteed. “Lero-Lero” ($22.99) is made primarily from the Jaen grape (also known as Mencia in Spain, for all you grape-geeks out there) and tastes like biting into a fresh strawberry—feisty, juicy, and delicious. “Tretas” ($22.99) incorporates a more traditional slate of Portuguese grapes and shows darker blackberry flavors—imagine a full-bodied, classical Portuguese red whipped into meringue-like lightness.

Quinta da Boavista Lero-Lero $22.99 (Click here)

Quinta da Boavista Tretas $22.99 (Click here)


Lying in the shadow of their better-known cousins from Barolo and Barbaresco, wines from the tiny hamlet of Ovada and its surrounding region—the Alto Monferrato—don’t get much love in the U.S. market. Hopefully, experiencing the wines of Rocco di Carpineto, a “radical winery” that produces its wines with maximal respect for the environment and minimal interference in the winery, will spur some interest in this underrated corner of Piedmont. Their “Aur-Oura” Dolcetto ($27.99) is a revelation, showcasing all of the beautiful dusty, dense black fruit that well-made Dolcetto can express, along with a streak of herbal lift and freshness.

Rocco di Carpineto Aur-Oura $27.99 (Click here)


Finally, we’re absolutely pumped to add two more options to our ever-growing Lambrusco section, proving once and for all that this bubbly red need not be condemned to the dumpsters of college house-parties. Ferretti Vini is a 100+ year old family operation in Emilia-Romagna, holding fast to their assertion that “the best Lambrusco is made in the vineyard, not in the wine cellar.” Their two Lambruscos, “Al Cer” ($27.99), deep-pink rosé, and “Al Scur” ($27.99), a fuller-bodied red, are stunningly dry, crisp, and utterly delicious. No sugary-sweet swill here—these are serious, yet way-too-easily-drinkable expressions of a terroir that is rarely given such a pure, well-crafted vehicle to show off in. Bravissimo!!

Ferretti Vini Al Cer Lambrusco $27.99 (Click here)

Ferretti Vini Al Scur Lambrusco $27.99 (Click here)

Discovery Wine Club

Groucho Marx might not have wanted to belong to any club that would have him as a member, but that’s because he’d never heard of the France 44 Discovery Club.

We created the Discovery Wine Club because we wanted you to get as excited about wine as we are. Every other month our wine staff hand-selects six different red wines from around the world and puts together a dynamic case for you—two bottles of each wine—complete with tasting notes, producer information, pairing suggestions, and cellaring advice.

Discovery Club members enjoy this unique program for a variety of reasons: some of them are seasoned enthusiasts who have been learning about wine for years, some are new to the wine world and simply want to learn, and some just appreciate a case of wine pre-selected for them without any hassle or fuss. But the common thread is that they all enjoy discovering new grapes, regions, styles, and producers.

If you’re intrigued by a bi-monthly, curated case of wine that is both delicious and educational, our staff is ready to answer any questions and bring you through the easy sign-up process. Here’s how it all works:

  1. Sign up with a France 44 staff member by providing your name, contact information, and a valid credit card. There are no sign-up fees and no obligations. Every other month, you’ll be automatically charged for a case of wine ($198 + tax). If you’re a Club 44 member, you’ll receive 3% back on all Discovery Club purchases.
  2. On the second weekend of each odd month (January, March, May, July, September, and November) you’ll get an email from us telling you when your case is ready to be picked up. In non-pandemic times, you’ll be able to taste the wines at our Discovery Club tasting bar the weekend of each monthly release.
  3. Pick up your case in-store or via Curbside Pickup and enjoy learning about the wines from our virtual tasting notes videos and printed information inside your case.

Ready to learn more? Click HERE for more information and to get started on becoming a Discovery Club member! Even though January’s release has come and gone, we still have a few cases left if you want to get in on the fun now. Watch our January virtual notes video HERE to get a glimpse of what to expect!

A Holly, Jolly Curbside

We have had great success with our curbside program, which we implemented in March (doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago?). With the holidays coming up, and Covid cases on the rise, we implore you, our dear customers, to consider moving to our curbside model in order to limit bodies in the store and any potential exposure to our other valued customers, as well as our essential employees who make this ship run.

The curbside process is smooth and efficient. Every time you call us, you are connected to a local industry expert on our phone team (restaurant professionals, wine reps, France 44 staff, etc). 45 minutes later, your order is ready! You get to stay warm and cozy in your car while we bring your order outside to you.

There are many other ways to shop with us, as well. For more detailed orders or personal shopping appointments (done over a video service, or telephone call) we have implemented a service-driven Concierge Appointment. Orders can also be placed online here and are ready within the same 45 minute window after you hit Send! We offer next-day local delivery Monday-Friday for $15 or more depending on the delivery location and details (note that someone 21+ with ID must be home to receive the order). These are such wonderful options we instituted for our customers and we have had great feedback on how much these gestures are appreciated.

The 7 easy curbside steps are:

Step One:  Call us at 612-925-3252 (or place an order online).

Step Two:  Tell the phone personnel you’d like to start a curbside order.

Step Three:  List off the items in your order (note the Cheese Shop is online orders only).

Step Four:  Allow a minimum of 45 minutes for order processing (you may pick up at your convenience until closing time, or even next day if you run late).

Step Five:  Drive to France44 and park in a designated Curbside Pickup spot outside the front door.

Step Six:  Call the Curbside staff at 612-978-1061 with your last name and parking spot number.

Step Seven:  Pop your trunk or open your back door for product delivery!

We sincerely value the support that our customer base has shown us these last 8 months. It is because of our vibrant community that we have weathered this storm together. Please consider using our remote shopping options to continue enjoying our fine provisions, and to support our hardworking staff by reducing foot traffic in the store. For anyone choosing to shop in store, please remember that mask wearing is mandated by Governor Walz, and please limit your shopping party to 1 person from your household.

May you all stay happy and healthy during this time!

2,000 Years of Wine Tradition Gets a Facelift at France 44

written by Dustin

France 44 would be remiss if we didn’t share our new treasure trove of German wines with you. Over the past year our market had lost one of the most famous German wine importers that had serviced the US for over 40 years. We worked tirelessly to get any news of what happened to these wines, phone calls, emails, the ever so important Zoom calls, and now we have finally found a new life line to bring us back some of our favorites.

Last week, we were lucky to land 14 new German wines. The, all important, and fan favorite Frtiz Muller Rose has reclaimed its spot in our rosé section. The Von Buhl Bone Dry Riesling and Rosé are now smiling back at us from their once empty shelf spaces. If you have never tried any of the aforementioned wines, you must, but please do not look over some of the other house favorites that have come back.

German wine is and always has been historically known for Riesling. Riesling once rivaled the storied wines of Champagne and Bordeaux in demand amongst world leaders, it has been known to be one of the most versatile food wines, and has a history of making some of the most age worthy wines of all time. The grape itself gets a bad rap due to the possibility of it having a high residual sugar content. But please, look no further, we have brought in several dry expressions for those who love a crispy white wine!

Maximin Grunhaus Riesling Monopol Mosel, Germany $25.99/ bottle

“A blend of fruit from the three grand crus that opens with clear, aromatic mango fruit and, after a while, lots of flinty notes of crushed stones. Silky, pure and enormously salty on the palate, this is a stunning, complex, tensioned and almost challenging Estate Riesling with lingering salinity and immense complexity and charisma.” – Wine Advocate

Becker Family Pinot Blanc Pfalz, Germany $21.99/ bottle

Looking past just Riesling there are many other white wines produced throughout Germany. Unfortunately, many of these other expressions of white wine are scarcely imported throughout our country. Lucky for you we have acquired wines from a small estate called Friedrich Becker Family. The winery specializes in pinot noir, pinot gris, and an exquisite pinot blanc.

“Prominent notes of toasted barrel and nut accent crisp white plum and grapefruit here. It’s a briskly composed and easy-drinking but elegant Pinot Blanc made completely dry.” – Wine Enthusiast

Meyer-Nakel Estate Pinot Noir Ahr, Germany $39.99/ bottle

One of the many hidden treasures of German wine is pinot noir. Sharing a close border to France, Germany has a history of making pinot noir that some suggest could rival its neighboring red Burgundies. Just like many of the non-riesling white wines, pinot noir is ever so difficult to procure in the US. These wines embody the vigor and opulence of world class expressions of pinot noir and are definitely worth a try.

“Bright and tangy, delivering black cherry, currant and raspberry fruit on a juicy profile. The long, spicy finish echoes sweet berry and toasty oak notes.” – Wine Spectator

Bobbin’ for Apples

written by Chaz

It is after Labor Day, and it seems the world is a’changing. The air is crisp, sweaters are out, my jeans still fit on my quarantine body (score!), football is back, and the Edina Starbucks ran out of pumpkin cream cold brew due to all the Gen-Z teens in the area needing a pick-me-up before attending their online school, leaving none for the rest of us. Nature is healing.

The classics of fall are all back, so naturally, we are back to selling a plethora of apple spirits, mainly the classic apple brandy. Now, while we all love ourselves a good apple brandy old fashioned, sidecar, or spiked cider, we want to challenge you to maybe think outside the “basket” a little.  I present to you two eau de vie, an apple flavored whiskey with cinnamon, and some apple liqueurs.

Quick eau-side 

In France and most of the European Union, eau de vie is referred to as a colorless fruit brandy not made from grapes. Everywhere else, this term can apply to most colorless brandies and fruit distilled liqueurs. Where a lot of classic brandy (think E&J, Camus, Remy Martin) can get big and fat, eau de vie is light. There is even a Canadian maple syrup eau de vie. It is a close cousin to schnapps, and a whole other list of liqueurs, but we are getting a little too deep into the weeds, or orchard, one may say.

Dampfwerk Apple Brandy

This is brandy in pure form without the barrel aging process. Dampfwerk runs a spectacular spirits program just over the way in St. Louis Park, and their lineup of brandies are all beautiful pieces of craftmanship, inside and out. Fresh apple skin aromas pierce the nose as you open and pour. MacIntosh apple with a slight green texture dominate the palate here, and a watery texture allows you to enjoy this brandy neat or mixed, not demanding anything from the drinker.

FINAL RATING: Getting your first iPhone

Neversink Apple Brandy

This is a similar product to Dampfwerk, but hailing all the way from Port Chester New York, an hour outside The Big Apple. Another eau de vie, this brandy stems into more granny smith character. Big fresh and juicy apple flavor permeates the profile, but Neversink still holds notes of tree bark, soft spices, and more.

FINAL RATING: One bushel of Honeycrisp apples from a local farmer’s market

Du Nord Spiced Apple Liqueur

Starting in Lake City by the Mississippi River, this spirit begins by picking Wealthy apples, the first apple to grow successfully in Minnesota. After juicing and traveling to Minneapolis, Du Nord blends the juice with a corn-based spirit and finishes with light spicing. Red apple forward, this juicy libation still features a good spice profile thanks to its 30% ABV, a little higher than most apple liqueurs. Du Nord has been making a great catalog of spirits locally, and this is one of the best local options for your apple cocktails.

FINAL RATING: Hitting all the health goals on your Apple Watch

Panther Spiked Apple

Panther Distilling out of Alexandria brings a corn whiskey infused with Minnesota apples and cinnamon. It’s apple pie in a bottle. Doughy pie crust, roasted apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg all flow through this whiskey. Plus, at only 15% ABV, you are not going to feel bad pouring yourself a second glass of this if the night takes you this far.

FINAL RATING: One fresh baked apple pie from granny

 

Tattersall Freewheeler Pommeau

A partnership with Sociable Cider Werks, this is one of the more complex apple liqueurs. Made by distilling an apple brandy from Sociable’s Freewheeler Cider, blending in unfermented Freewheeler juice, and resting on oak. The combination is a deeper apple complexion having both bright and fruity flavor at the top with a smooth finish. A perfect spirit to drink neat, over ice, or adding a full apple character to any cocktail of your choosing.

FINAL RATING: Bobbin’ for apples, getting the golden one on the first try, and winning a $100 gift card to the local Applebee’s.

A Taste of the Fair

Written by Bennett

One of the profound losses for Minnesotans during this year’s pandemic was the cancellation of a great get-together that we hold most dear, the Minnesota State Fair. The annual twelve day festival attracts visitors from the farthest outskirts of our state to a fairgrounds bustling with upwards of 100,000 people in daily attendance. It is an event that any true Minnesotan must experience for themselves, just not in 2020.

Each year we would come for the amusement rides, live music, art, competition, parades, livestock and yes, some great people-watching. But above all this, we would come for the drink and food (as long as it’s on a stick). Over the last decade our growing local beer scene has bolstered the plethora of drink options with some wild, wacky creations that exemplify what the fair is all about: a little bit of excess in the name of fun. Amongst the dozens of craft beers served exclusively at the fair, you would undoubtedly find creations that stretched the concept of beer itself.

Though we missed out on the bulk of state fair brews this year, we are fortunate enough to have gotten our hands on two fun beers that were originally intended for this year’s celebration. So come get yourself a little taste of the fair and cheers to 2021.

Modist MN Brew Together Orange Dreamsicle Sour IPA — $18.99/4pk Cans

A collaboration between Modist, Barrel Theory and the Ballpark Café. This Sour IPA pours a milky, golden yellow with a dense, creamy eggshell-like foam. Sharp aromas of orange peel and dank hops give you a preview of the tangy citrus flavor with a bitter orange- and grapefruit-like finish. Just a hint of high-toned acidity brightens with each sip.

Pryes Winning Cobbler Blueberry Pastry Ale — $15.99/4pk Cans

A collaboration with Freehouse and The Blue Barn. This Pastry-style Ale looks beautiful in a glass, opaque garnet coloring with a salmon-colored foam on top. Jammy, candy-like aromas with a hint of pie crust. Its medium body is fruity but not sweet and has just a splash of vanilla. The lingering berry aftertaste is just right.