For the 14 breweries participating in Grumpy’s Limited Action Beer Festival this Saturday, the rules are simple: brew a beer exclusively for the event that uses hops picked from Grumpy’s Northeast, something Minnesotan, and an aromatic herb or flower. Aside from the hops, the other two ingredients are completely up to the breweries, and when Insight Brewing Company’s Ilan Klages-Mundt was done picking his hops at Grumpy’s and set out to find his “something Minnesotan,” he didn’t look far.
More on that in a second.
The October 17 event will be held at Grumpy’s Downtown. Now in its second year, the fest will feature one-off beers from 56 Brewing, Bad Weather, Bent Paddle, Boom Island, Excelsior, Fair State, Fulton, Indeed, Insight, Lift Bridge, NorthGate, Rush River, Schell’s, and Summit.
Complete details on the complete lineup of 14 beers aren’t yet available, but a few have surfaced, including Insight’s Crab Apple Tart—a light blond ale that Insight made using crabapples picked just across the street from Grumpy’s Northeast.
“I wanted to find something ultra-local,” he says. “You get the flavor of the crab apple and the tartness balances out against the malty sweetness of the beer.” Defining the drinking experience as more apple than blond ale, the beer will pour a brilliant red. “These crabapples, they have just enough where you can take a bite and enjoy it but most people wouldn’t go out and eat it.”
Crab Apple Tart is a one-off beer in its truest form. It was labor-intensive to make (Klages-Mundt pureed the apples by hand and added them during fermentation) and he doesn’t know exactly what variety the crabapples were if he were to go out looking for them again. “It really is an excuse for us to do something fun and try some unique beers,” he says, adding that it gives a distinct window into how different brewers work. “I’m going to guess that it’s going to be the first batch of that style for every brewer. To some degree you get to see what everybody’s version one of a beer looks like.”
Insight brewed only about two small kegs’ worth of Crab Apple Tart, which based on Klages-Mundt’s calculations will be sweet with a bit of tartness to finish it off, but that’s only based on the recipe card in the brewery. “I have yet to try the final product,” he adds, because it won’t be ready until shortly before the event. Like everyone else at Grumpy’s on Saturday, nobody knows just what to expect, except that it will be a good time.
The party runs from 2–7pm and most of the beers won’t last the day. Like last year, any leftover beer will be moved to one of the three Grumpy’s locations and served until they’re gone (last year they were all sold out by the end of the weekend). Besides beer, Grumpy’s will also be serving spaetzle and sausage with hop butter.
A few of the other beers that will be pouring at the fest:
Fulton: Baltic porter with maple syrup, coriander, juniper berries, spruce tips, yarrow, and Grumpy’s hops. 23 IBU, 8.4% ABV.
Indeed: Zumack Daddy Lager. A zwickelbier (or kellerbier) infused with sumac berries, and Grumpy’s Hops. 40 IBU, 5.4% ABV. Drawn directly from the fermenter before clarification, this zwickelbier was infused with sumac berries harvested from the wild lands of NE Minneapolis. The sumac berries impart a pink hue and lemonade-like finish to the beer.
Bad Weather: Scarecrow’s Friend. A harvest cream ale brewed with flaked maize, Minnesota wild rice, pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, and Grumpy’s hops. 9% ABV
Boom Island: Harvest Ale. A fall beer brewed with Honeycrisp apple cider, Grumpy’s hops, and fermented with one of Boom Island’s house Belgian yeasts. 7.25% ABV.