My St. Paul mini-tour obviously had to include a local staple, Summit Brewing Company. These people have been around for three decades (think: before some current brewers were even born), and that has been ample time for them to get it right. Regardless of your preferred style, you can sample any Summit beer and find something good to say, thanks to 30 years of hard work on their part.
Though Summit may be old in the world of craft, their ongoing Unchained series–which explores craft beer and all its possibilities–is a testament to the fact that a more established brewery doesn’t have to lose their craft. When Summit isn’t hosting fun events in their taproom, or supporting local sports teams, they are brewing great beer. If this sounds like a dating profile, it’s probably because I would be perfectly happy to find myself in a long-term relationship with Summit beer.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet several people at Summit, including their Founder and Brewmaster, Head Brewer, and marketing team. Every one of them helped me fall a little more in love with the brewery. When Damian McConn insists on a hug over a handshake because “fuck that–we’re brewers, not politicians!”, you know it’s good people.
The night before my visit, I was at a Summit tap takeover for work (yep…it’s a tough job) where I got a taste of their 30th Anniversary Double IPA, and holy heck it hit the spot.
Today, I’d had a bit too much beer before noon, and opted for a root beer in the Summit taproom. This is the first time I went the non-alcoholic route in my beverage choice, but I figure I’ve earned it by this point.
My advice came from Dan (or “Dan the Man,” as I privately referred to him–told you I’d had too much beer). He told me “The laziest man works the hardest.”
Dan explained to me that cutting corners doesn’t get you very far, because it usually goes wrong, and it requires doubling back to fix a problem that could have been avoided. While this advice easily translates to life, I also think it carries some weight in the world of beer. Being lazy, boring, or cheap can easily result in a bad beer and a barely-liked brewery. Time spent recovering from those mistakes is time brewers and owners aren’t enjoying the business, or living the dream they quit their day job to pursue.
FYI: Yes, I took that Summit hat. And, yes, I wore it all weekend while coaching a soccer tournament of 11-year-old girls.