Here at Hop & Barrel we are all about bringing people together. This sentiment is true for our Minnesconsin Helles Lager. Our love for craft beer is what brings us together. Raise a glass to your friends and enemies alike and read on to learn about the creation of Minnesconsin.
Where does the name Minnesconsin come from?
Justin: This name is hopefully a little more obvious than some of our others. We wanted something that represents our region and where our brewery comes from. With our Minnesota roots and Wisconsin locale putting the two together just made sense. Before you ask (which we’ve already heard), we tried to put Wisconsin first but there’s already a cold trucking company in the area that goes by that name.
Brian: It’s a rich and splendid blend of words describing the synergy between two states in flyover country. Justin wanted to call this beer “JustinRulez#1” or “Kneel Before Justin” but Charles Awad and D. Witt, who helped us with the original drawings and concept of the beer can art staged an intervention with Justin and we changed it to Minnesconsin.
Describe this style of beer:
Justin: Crisp and clean with just a hint of noble (think classic German) hops. This is the kind of beer our German ancestors brought over to America but was eventually turned into Light American Lagers. It has a more full flavor and hop presence than your everyday American beer today, however they are definitely a close relative
Brian: Picture a shaman crossing The Dunes. There is slow heavy metal music playing. He reaches an oasis where a caravan of men, camels, and equipment await his arrival. He removes his balaclava revealing his face and we find out the shaman is really Gary Gaetti, 3rd baseman from the 1987 Minnesota Twins. He reaches into a bin of ice and pulls out a fresh can of Minnesconsin. He pulls out a cruel looking curved knife, stabs the can, opens the pop-top and shotguns the beer. His thirst is instantly quenched. Everyone starts to laugh and there’s a freeze frame. The Dunes hold many secrets.
Describe its unique flavor:
Justin: Minnesconsin is a fairly neutral flavored beer with nothing extreme to latch onto, but, it does have a very unique malt character from our heavy use of a particular malt from Briess malting in Chilton, Wisconsin. It gives it a sweet bread character that provides a little more flavor than many other lagers in this style.
Brian: Have you ever climbed a mountain? Me either. This tastes like what climbing a mountain would taste like. Victory. Minnesconsin: Taste the Mountain
What stands out to you the most during your time spent developing Minnesconsin?
Justin: The Briess malt we like so much for this beer was new to the market as we were opening. We stumbled across a sampling of it at the 2017 Homebrew Con in Minneapolis and knew we had to use it in a beer. Another interesting note is that this is our most brewed beer.
Brian: Nope. Everything was very serious- for the most part. Some of us knelt in prayer. Some exchanged knowing glances and winks. Some high fived and chuckled.
If you could pair this beer with food from a place around town, what would it be?
Justin: Hamburgers. Another perfect example of an American take on something from Germany. Besides that nod, most lagers pair well with meats that have a bit of fat.
Brian: Bar Peanuts at Ziggy’s.