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MN Brewers Win Top Honors

Lupulin Brewing’s team on stage at the Great American Beer Festival to receive a gold medal for its Dortmunder lager.

Minnesota was well represented at this year’s Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver, with five breweries earning awards, including two that took home the gold. Winning gold medals were: Lupulin Brewing in Big Lake for its Dortmunder and Duluth’s Bent Paddle Brewing Co. for its 14° ESB. Nabbing silver were: The Freehouse, Blue Plate Restaurant Co.’s downtown Minneapolis brewpub, for its No. 20 Barleywine and No. 33 Gose, along with St. Paul-based Summit Brewing for its Extra Pale Ale. Bringing home bronze was Beaver Island Brewing in St. Cloud for its Oktoberfest. Medals were given in 98 beer categories covering 161 different beer styles. Winners were chosen out of 7,923 entries from 2,217 breweries in 50 states plus Washington, D.C.


When Chick-fil-A at Mall of America opened its doors in early October, the first 100 people who camped outside the door overnight won free Chick-fil-A food for a year. Chairs and blankets were allowed in line, tents were not. Franchisee Alex Wilson is a  graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with a degree in entrepreneurship. Wilson spent the last nine years with Chicago-based consulting firms working in various capacities. However, becoming a Chick-fil-A franchise owner is no small feat; the company receives around 24,000 applications yearly for approximately 100 franchise opportunities. The 1,673-square-foot Mall of America Chick-fil-A is located in the Culinary on North food court. Like all Chick-fil-A restaurants, it will be closed on Sunday, following the chain’s belief that employees and guests should treat Sunday as a “day of rest and time with family and friends.” For malls to agree to a closure on Sunday is a tribute to how good sales must be Monday through Saturday.


Birch’s on the Lake is the latest vendor to join Market House Collaborative in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. After two successful years in Long Lake, the brewery and restaurant will open a second satellite brewpub location mid-2018. Birch’s is owned and operated by local restaurateurs Burt and Ashley Joseph and Brewmaster Brennan Greene. 


Shakopee Brewhall has opened on Shakopee’s downtown strip. CEO and co-owner Ryan Lindquist (Damon Schuler is the other owner) told City Pages he wanted to be in an old building, “reaping the rewards of the historical surroundings around us.” They currently have seven beers on tap and will be closed Monday and Tuesday. 


We were sad to see the North Loop’s Gardner’s Hardware (formerly the Maytag building) close its doors, but are happy that it’s been renovated into something equally visit-worthy, NOLO’s Kitchen. The project includes Brett Johnson of The Hilltop Restaurant in Edina, Marty Collins, owner of McCoy’s Public House and chef Peter Hoff. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, mostly good ol’ American favorites made from scratch. 

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