by Chip Walton
This article was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of Zymurgy magazine.
Homebrew Con returns to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/Saint Paul this summer (Thursday, June 15 to Saturday, June 17), and the local planning committee can’t wait to have everyone here to celebrate our shared homebrew culture and to enjoy all that our area has to offer in craft beer and beyond.
You may be asking yourself, “Wasn’t the conference just in Minneapolis?” It’s true, the conference (then the National Homebrewers Conference) was held in Minneapolis back in 2010. But, let’s be honest—Bloomington is not Minneapolis, and that conference was too far from the heart of the city. This year, Homebrew Con is smack-dab in the middle of downtown Minneapolis, with quick access to bars, restaurants, breweries, and taprooms. Other great beer-centric areas of the city are just a quick cab or light rail ride away.
Location isn’t the only thing that’s different. Since 2010, changes to the law have paved the way for epic growth in the number of Minnesota craft breweries, specifically those built on a taproom model. A craft beer scene that boasted maybe a dozen or so breweries in 2010 has grown to include more than 100 breweries, many of which are within 15 miles of downtown Minneapolis. The variety of breweries is stunning. There are breweries that focus on smoked beers, sour beers, wild fermentations, German-style lagers, and more. Whatever your passion in beer, you’ll find brewers making it for you here. And we’re here to point you in the right direction—just let us know what you like!
Homebrewers coming to the Twin Cities with family for an extended vacation will enjoy a whole week of great beer events and discounts in the days leading up to Homebrew Con. It all kicks off Saturday, June 10, with the St. Paul Summer Beer Fest at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. This is a great opportunity for you to sample beers from all over Minnesota and the Upper Midwest in one wonderful location. Even better—the fest folks are offering discounted tickets for AHA members.
A hop-on, hop-off bus tour, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, June 14, will help you hit the great breweries that Minneapolis and Saint Paul have to offer, safely and conveniently. And the local planning committee is lining up a host of discounts at beer bars, stores, and taprooms throughout the area for AHA members to take advantage of during Homebrew Con week.
Homebrew Con 2017
Where: Minneapolis, MN
When: June 15 – 17, 2017
What: The ultimate experience for anyone interested in homebrewing and understanding beer, mead and cider. For more information, visit HomebrewCon.org.
A day- or overnight trip to Duluth should also be on your agenda. (We will have at least one pre-conference bus tour to Duluth—more details coming soon.) Duluth is an awesome city located on fascinating Lake Superior. Not only is the craft beer scene there booming, but you can also use it as a home base to visit an aquarium, docked ships, historical lighthouses, waterfalls, and parks along the lake’s beautiful shoreline north of town.
Also worthy of a road trip is August Schell Brewing Company, one of the longest-running breweries in America, and its recently announced sour-focused Star Keller Brewing Company, south of the Cities in New Ulm. We are currently organizing a tour to New Ulm, so stay tuned.
A visit to Rahr Malting will be available for 150 attendees on Saturday, June 17. Rahr Malting’s Shakopee plant is the largest single-site malting facility in the world, and Rahr’s base malts are used in thousands of craft beers, including Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. Tours will visit several malthouses as well as the new Rahr Malting Technical Center, featuring a state-of-art brewery and lab.
As if the beer scene isn’t enough to keep you entertained for the week, Minneapolis/Saint Paul also has a wide range of other activities, including a stellar restaurant scene, professional sports, museums, galleries, and outdoor recreation at our many lakes and parks. For baseball fans, both hometown baseball teams (Minnesota Twins and Saint Paul Saints) have home game series the week of Homebrew Con.
We can’t wait to host this year’s landmark homebrew party! The Minneapolis/Saint Paul local planning committee is hard at work lining up pre-conference and late-night events for Homebrew Con 2017 attendees. To keep up with the latest information available, visit homebrewcon.org.
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Chip Walton is the producer and host of Chop & Brew and serves on the American Homebrewers Association Governing Committee. He lives in Saint Paul.