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3 min read

Beer 101: What’s All the Fuss About Craft Beer?

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Making Sense of Minnesota’s Craft Beers 

The craft beer movement has exploded in Minnesota, especially in the Twin Cities. Local breweries are opening from Duluth to St. Paul to Bemidji to Mankato. It’s not surprising. This new generation of brewers is simply
carrying on our state’s rich tradition of brewing beer, and it means you have more options than ever when you’re looking to choose a great tasting brew.

Minnesota Beer History

Starting with the first brewery in 1848 to the latest neighborhood brew house making news, we can thank our many early German immigrants for instilling in us the thirst for great craft beers. Fast forward to 2015, and we have a slew of craft breweries around the state. Minnesota Beer has put together a map of all the registered breweries and it’s impressive.

What’s a Craft Beer Anyway?

Basically, it’s a beer created by a small brewery. The Brewers Association defines an American craft brewer as small, independent and traditional. Small meaning the brewer produces less than 6 million barrels of beer a year. What’s the difference between a microbrewery and craft brewery? Different letters of the alphabet. Both refer to small breweries.

Beer Categories

While there are many styles of beer on the shelves, there are just two major categories: Ale and Lagers. Ales are the older of the two, having been brewed for thousands of years while Lagers are the relative newcomers. The type of yeast used and fermentation styles are the main differences. When it comes to taste, think of Ales as rich and robust, while Lagers tend to have a crisper and more subtle taste and aroma.

So Many Styles To Taste

Within the major categories, there are so many styles. How do you know the difference between Wheat Ales, Red Lagers, IPAs, Porters, Stouts and Saisons? The Craft Beer Association has created as a useful interactive beer tasting sheet that’s worth visiting. 

So Much To Learn

Want to learn more about Minnesota’s historical thirst for beer? Local beer historian, Doug Hoverson, has written a definitive book on the subject, Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota for those who want to delve into deeper waters of our state’s beer industry. Incidentally, Hoverson has an interesting connection to Haskell's that has nothing to do with beer. He was Beau Farrell's high school history teacher.

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Founded in 1934, Haskell’s has championed fine wines for over 80 years. We have 13 wine stores in Minnesota, two delis and one restaurant.  As one of the top wine shops in North America, Haskell’s is known for legendary service and one of the finest collections of wine, beer and spirits. Led by Chairman and CEO Jack Farrell, and the Farrell family, Haskell’s continues to be at the forefront of the wine scene throughout the world. Haskell’s also can ship wine, beer & spirits all throughout the world, the U.S. and we deliver locally.


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