I live in southern Minnesota (USA). I love living here. I love the fact that a 120°F temperature range between summer and winter is normal. There are many other reasons why I love living here, but that isn't the point of this post. The point is to point out one of the things I really hate about living here. Beer distribution.
There must be some double secret embargo on the import of good beers into southern Minnesota. Sure, there are a few, but not enough. I just discovered Longshot from Samuel Adams. Longshot is six pack featuring three winners of a homebrew competition held by Sam Adams. This is fantastic and I was so excited to find it (more on this below). Then I realized, this competition has been around since 2001. I had never heard of it. The fact is, MN is not the first place they are going to distribute this beer, not by a longshot.
The bottom line is, MN beer drinkers are just too accustomed to the bland macrobrews of the mega brewers to demand better beers (in effective enough numbers, at least). Now, don't get me wrong, I do not dislike macrobrews. I drink plenty of them. I will never turn away a Bud or Miller or PBR or High Life. These are fine drinking beers, BUT THERE IS REALLY GOOD BEER OUT THERE!!!! Don't be afraid of it. A case in point:
The number one beer in Minnesota (or so the legend goes. I have no data to back this up) is Michelob Golden Light. Be honest, have any of you who living outside of MN or Iowa ever heard of Michelob Golden Light? Minnesotans cannot get enough of this stuff, and I will admit, I don't mind it. However, I believe the distribution area is primarily MN and Iowa. They stack this stuff to the ceilings in liquor stores.
Good beers will eventually find their way here. Moose Drool for example can be found in stores and on tap. Moose Drool is one of my favorite brown ales. It is from the Big Sky brewing company in Missoula, Montana. So, why is Moose Drool here and not other beers like, Mirror Pond Pale Ale from the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon or even Fat Tire from the New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado? Well, when I lived in Montana, I noticed there were a LOT of transplanted Minnesotans in MT. I think MT is to MN what OR is to CA. The Minnesotans that came back to MN from MT begged for Moose Drool. And so, it is here. Only time and persistent requesting will improve the beer selection in southern MN.
My point of this post is that we are missing out on a lot of good beers that a lot of other people have access to. That does not mean we don't have good beer here in MN. There are in fact a few fantastic breweries in MN. Two of my favorites are the Summit Brewing Company in St. Paul and August Schell brewery in New Ulm. Summit makes my favorite pale ale. The Schell brewery is the nation's 2nd oldest family owned brewery, and they make great stuff. They also contract brew a lot of beers.
My solution to lack of access: brew my own. That's what I do.
As for the Longshot beers. I drank two of them (the Boysenberry wheat and the Dortmunder Style Export). Both were very good. I like the Dortmunder best. The maltiness and hopiness were superb. Bruce Stott, the fellow who made it, could deliver a case a week to my house and I would not complain.