My goal: Visit every taproom in Minnesota
I fell in love with craft beer just as I came of legal drinking age. Maybe that’s because it didn’t taste like the bottom of a keg half the baseball team just drank off, but there was something else, too.
The first people I met in the craft beer industry were cool. Then I met more people in craft beer, and they were also cool. A pattern appeared to me; there existed a subculture of smart, badass people whose jobs were to make and sell beer.
Thanks to these chance meetings in 2015, I became a witness to a craft beer boom in Minnesota. At the same time, I was coming to terms with the harsh reality that is post-grad life (take me out to coffee if you want to hear about why I think cubicles suck).
Learning that people make a living doing cool counterculture shit and boozing it up gave me hope, and I wanted to learn how they cultivated that lifestyle.
That’s where this blog started.
Kind of like a three-year-old with no impulse control: once I had the idea of writing this blog, I ran with it. As in, this whole thing took shape and manifested on a Wednesday night after work. I bought a domain and asked my boyfriend to drive my existentially lost lil soul to LynLake Brewery, and the rest is history. I’ve now been to 143 taprooms in Minnesota, which accounts for every single one (so far).
In the last two years, I’ve spilled beer on my bare feet while dancing too hard at a block party, wiped the sweat off an EPA while squinting on a sunny patio, and embraced the creaminess of a nitro stout just minutes after stuffing wool gloves in my parka pockets.
Like me, you’ve probably shared flights, recommended the brewery you visited this weekend to all your coworkers, and pored over tap lists with the people you love most. Like me, what you love about beer is how it brings us together.
Unlike me, you might not have driven nine hours round trip to visit two new taprooms in northern Minnesota. You probably haven’t camped for four nights in order to hit five breweries over a long weekend. It’s likely your boss doesn’t introduce you to new coworkers as the new employee with a beer blog.
But none of that matters. Not a stitch. Because beer isn’t about division. It’s not an industry of difference and hierarchy and elitism.
I think that’s why everyone I’ve talked to has been so open with me: in a taproom, there’s no expectation to be anything other than what you are. Like the beer you’re drinking, there is no hiding the hard work and adjustments (and sometimes flaws) that brought you to your barstool.
Thanks to the countercultural, take-no-bullshit, life-at-your-own-pace people I’ve met along the way, I’ve begun to accept my own proclivity to behave the same way. It feels uncomfortable to move in this direction without learning it the hard way—as if this advice is only valuable when learned on my own. But, I’m happy to cut straight to the chase and spend a few more years living my best life.
I’m not letting the adventure die here. I’ll still be drinking beer and maybe even writing a book proposal. If you’ve been following along these last two years, I’d love to hear your feedback, inspiration, and recommendations!