Craft beer, live music and a mild winter day: we really couldn’t have asked for better in regards to Beer Dabbler this year. The sold out event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds hosted over 120 breweries, food trucks, three locals bands, a heated Coliseum and so much more. I felt the excitement in the air when the gates opened and the flood of people rushed onto the Midway to pick the perfect first beer… or whichever line was shortest. From new to established breweries, local to out-of-state, participating brewers made it clear that they love coming to Beer Dabbler.
“My favorite part of Beer Dabbler is definitely first the beer and second the people. Everyone’s an awesome beer lover here.” Aaron Juhnke, Junkyard Brewing
“This is my third year working Dabbler. I fell in love with the event when it was at Mears Park, there was a ton of snow on the ground and it was raining. Drinking beer outside was the greatest thing ever. You’re outside, it’s cold, you dress warm, drink hot beer and have a good time.” Brett, Badger Hill Brewing
“I really love how Dabbler brings together music and beer, and Winter Dabbler brings a sense of camaraderie to everyone being out in the cold. I love getting the chance to check out the other breweries, meet new people and turn people onto what we’re doing.” Matt Hauck, Fair State Brewing Cooperative
“My favorite thing about Beer Dabbler is anything goes! People’s marketing is so off the wall and there’s all sorts of people that come out. It’s honestly a blast!” Lynn Richason, Brau Brothers Brewing
“We’re big fans of the Beer Dabbler. I think it’s the most organized of all the beer festivals around. The owners are incredible to work with and everyone loves coming here.” Tom, Brainerd Lakes Beer
“My favorite part of Beer Dabbler is the camaraderie amongst brewers and the whole community of craft beer and craft food. It’s all very important to me, especially since we only opened in October.” Luke Steadman, Gull Dam Brewing
“One of my favorite parts of Beer Dabbler is how cold it usually is. It’s too warm this year!” Josh, Harriet Brewing
“The biggest thing about Beer Dabbler that’s appealing to everyone is there’s so many different flavors and so many different beers. Our hot one right now is our Oatmeal Cranberry Stout.” Eric Sargent, Lupine Brewing
I caught some of the set by psychedelic rock band Pictures of Then, and I have to hand it to them for rocking out despite having few people by the stage. I also stopped to enjoy a black bean burger from Gastrotruck while Pat Benetar’s Shadows of the Night blasted from Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill food truck. Someone in a group that passed by said that whoever dropped their tasting glass first had to buy everyone else cupcakes from A Cupcake Social so I debated inviting myself to join them for the day.
My friend Rachel joined me in the lovely heated Coliseum where we found warm chocolate chip cookies thanks to Quiznos, and we sampled a couple ciders. Because for those who don’t know, Beer Dabbler is not just for beer! I’m actually more of a cider fan than a beer fan, so I appreciate having the opportunity to try a couple new ones.
We’re so fortunate to have a booming craft beer scene in the Twin Cities, and Beer Dabbler is the perfect way to showcase our awesome community. Still not so sure about spending four hours outside in the middle of winter? Not to worry, Summer Dabbler will be here before we know it!