There are winter traditions in Minnesota. Some people ski, some people throw things at their TV when the Vikings find a way to lose, some join a local hockey league, and others put on an extra flannel shirt and snow boots to hit the State Fair. No, it’s not Pronto Pup season, it’s time for the 7th annual Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival.
This year brings 146 breweries and brewpubs into the event space to share their wares in the great outdoors. Past years have ranged from a snowy 9°F to 2015’s 40° melt-fest. While weather reports are never to be trusted, this year looks nice again, settling around the freezing point with a traditional Minnesota overcast sky.
Come February it seems most people in these parts are starting to feel some effects of cabin fever setting in.
With attendance expected at 8,500, get those long johns out of microwave, slip on something waterproof to be safe, and eat a big breakfast. Winter Beer Dabbler is back again. It will be the first time Toppling Goliath has brought a full line-up to a local festival. St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman will kick things off with a barrel-aged Dangerous Man beer at 3:30 p.m., and Bell’s will unearth some Hopslam to remind of warmer times.
In the words of founder Joe Alton, "The spirit of hardiness exhibited by our attendees is what sets this one apart. There is a certain pride and unity on display that we don't see during the summer fest. Come February it seems most people in these parts are starting to feel some effects of cabin fever setting in. The Beer Dabbler is a perfect opportunity to get outside and experience the great outdoors - and some of the best craft beer in the state."
Whether you brave the weather every year, or if this is a first visit, here are seven fun facts to know about the 7th annual Winter Beer Dabbler in St. Paul.
1). On average, Winter Dabbler adds 15-20 new breweries each year
2). Approximately half of the breweries are from Minnesota
3). This year will be the first public tastings from Angry Inch and Lakeville breweries. In previous years, 612Brew and Badger Hill have debuted at the festival
4). Milwaukee Brewing Co. and Oskar Blues have introduced their Minnesota introduction via previous Beer Dabblers
5). Held at the State Fair since 2014, earlier versions of the winter festival took place at Mears Park and the St. Paul Farmers Market
6). 2016 marks the return of the meat and cheese showcase in the heated coliseum, with up to 30 artisan cheeses for sampling
7). First timers to Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival this year include 10K Brewing, Barley John's Brewing Company, Birch's on the Lake, Grand Rounds Brewpub, Rhombus Guys Brewing Company, Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, OMNI Brewing Co., LTS Brewing Company, F-Town Brewing Company, Toppling Goliath Brewing Co., U4ic Brewing Incorporated, Wyndfall Cyder, Lakes & Legends Brewing Company, Sixpoint, Big Axe Brewing Company, Foxhole Brewhouse, South Fork Brewing Company, Lakeville Brewing Co., Angry Inch
There are tickets still available here.