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Which New Craft Brews You Should Try at the State Fair

Bacon, apples and chocolate chips are just some of the wacky garnishes.

A hand holds up a beer next to the baseball shaped neon sign for the Ball Park Cafe on a busy fair day
The novelty beer game has been upped this year at the fair.
Bent Paddle Facebook page

Remember when the lines for Lift Bridge’s Mini Donut went around the building and earned patient drinkers serious bragging rights on Facebook? Today is an impressive list of funky, unique brews, exclusive to the Minnesota State Fair. Here is a list of the new beers and ciders to line up for in 2016.

Bent Brewstillery Sweat Together IPA

This West Coast style IPA is a collaboration between Bent and 2015 Minnesota State Fair gold-medal-winning brewer Jeff Taylor. The resulting brew has big hoppy and citrusy flavors that cut through whatever greasy thing you have in your other hand. Brewed in Roseville by Bent Brewstillery. Served at the Ball Park Cafe.

Bent Paddle Hopmosa

Though not as citrus forward as the Sweat Together, this effervescent IPA is clean and sparkly, like orange champagne, but better than that. Brewed in Duluth, Minn. by Bent Paddle Brewing Co. Served at the Ball Park Cafe.

Cannon River Hard Cider

Utilizing apples from Fireside Apple Orchard in Northfield, this cider is a Grandstand exclusive with a not-too-dry finish. Brewed in Cannon River by Cannon River Winery. Served at Hildebrand Concessions in the Grandstand Concert Venue.

Chocolate and beer: seemed like a good idea at the time. Photo courtesy Big Wood Brewery Facebook page

Chocolate and beer: seemed like a good idea at the time. Photo courtesy Big Wood Brewery Facebook page

Chocolate Chip Cookie Beer

With a nod to a couple of State Fair faves- chocolate chip cookies and craft beer- this is a malty beer with subtle hints of chocolate and vanilla, served in a  glass rimmed with semi-sweet chocolate bits. Brewed in White Bear Lake by Big Wood Brewery. Served at Andy’s Grille.

Frontier Amarillo IPA

Sounds a bit like something you’d find at the Texas State Fair, but this approachable, full-bodied crisp and hoppy IPA is brewed in Minneapolis by Fulton Brewing. Served at Frontier Bar.

Funnel Cloud

With a hint of classic State fair classic funnel cake flavor, this beer is as  oppressively sweet as it sounds. Brewed in St. Paul by Bad Weather Brewing Company. Served at Mancini’s Al Fresco.

Hop Merger White IPA

A hazy, very hoppy IPA with floral aromas of apricot, melon and peach merged with pine, grapefruit and citrus tones. With all that going on, this beer pairs well with food, any food. Brewed in St. Paul by Summit Brewing Co. Served at Shanghaied Henri’s.

A hand holds a beer at the Minnesota State Fair Minnesota State Fair

Sangria as a beer? It works. Photo courtesy Facebook

Red Citrus Sangria Beer and Frozen Red Citrus Sangria Beer

Another winner from Schell’s. May be too fru-fru for hard core beer lovers, but this concoction is fruity and light and winy, in the best way possible. Topped with that creamy frozen foam, and the whole thing becomes dessert. Again, in the best way possible.  Brewed in New Ulm by August Schell Brewing Co. Served at Schell’s Pavilion and LuLu’s Public House.

Sociable Caramel Apple Cider

Utilizing Midwestern Honeycrisp, Haralson and Sweetango apples, this cider is crisp and sunny, not overly sweet or gimicky. The slice of fresh green apple gently drizzled with caramel is a nice touch that does not deter from the cider itself. Brewed in Minneapolis by Sociable Cider Werks. Served at Giggles’ Campfire Grill.

Sweet corn meets refreshing beverage. Photo courtesy Lakes & Legends Facebook page

Sweet corn meets refreshing beverage. Photo courtesy Lakes & Legends Facebook page

Sweet Corn Summer Ale

Another nod to a fair fave, this time highlighting corn flavors in a light, summery beer, with a hint of sweetness. Brewed in Minneapolis by Lakes & Legends Brewing Company. Served at O’Gara’s at the Fair.

Sweetland Orchard Minnesota Mule Cider

The gluten-free cider is crafted from Minnesota-grown apples with a touch of lime and ginger. The concoction is right on trend, and is a wonderfully refreshing version of the cocktail, with a gentle lime start and a bit of a ginger kick to round it off. Brewed in Webster by Sweetland Orchard. Served at Ball Park Cafe.

Minnesota State Fairgrounds

1265 Snelling Ave N, Falcon Heights, MN 55108 (651) 288-4400 Visit Website