In just two short years, the number of specialty drinks debuting at the Minnesota State Fair has more than tripled. Sixteen new specialty beverages in 2017 has turned into 53 in 2019. And the previous drinks aren’t going anywhere. Add it all up and there are 80 specialty drinks to try at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair.
Trying all 80 feels impossible, even if some do manage to do it every year. As a more reasonable goal, here are five returning favorites and five specialty rookies I’m looking forward to this year.
Five Returning Specialists
Dill Pickle Kölsch - Tin Whiskers Brewery
The world’s greatest beer to pair with a Bloody Mary. They don’t give that award out at the Fair, but they probably should. This is an easy-drinking beer infused with fresh dill and cucumber from the Saint Paul Farmers Market’ appropriately garnished with a dill pickle and a piece of Havarti dill cheese. Find it at Giggles’ Campfire Grill.
Frosé Wine Slushie - Falconer Vineyards Winery and Cidery
There aren’t many beverages better suited to help cool down on a hot August afternoon quite like the slushie, especially a rosé slushie with a twist of watermelon. It’s well worth a visit to Minnesota Wine Country, where you’ll find this delicious concoction as well as several other fantastic wine drinks.
Grapefruit Ode IPA - Castle Danger Brewery
The grapefruit-infused version of the very popular IPA all the way from Two Harbors is only available for the dozen days out of the year that make up the Great Minnesota Get Together. Ode IPA walked so Grapefruit Ode could run and I’ll be running to O’Gara’s At The Fair where a couple pints of this specialty beer is well worth the price of admission.
Mini Donut Beer - Lift Bridge Brewing Company
There aren’t many smells more intoxicating than the aroma of a grease-stained bag filled with mini donuts. You never realize they’re the exact thing you’re craving until the moment someone who just bought a fresh bag walks by you and getting a bag all to yourself becomes the No. 1 priority in your life. It’s a total siren smell.
Anyways, we have the mini donut beer and the Stillwater brewery to thank for kicking off the tradition of specialty beers at the Fair back in 2013. It’s exactly what you think it is and a must for any sweet-toothed beer enthusiast. It can be found in the Ball Park Cafe. It’ll be the one in the cinnamon-sugar-rimmed glasses.
Minnesota Mule Cider - Sweetland Orchard
I haven’t forgotten about you cider lovers. This incredible collaboration is a union of the classic Moscow Mule cocktail, and cider made with all locally grown apples from Sweetland Orchard in Webster, Minnesota. You’ll also find it at the Ball Park Cafe
Five Newcomers to Try
The Great Minnesota Handshake - Indeed Brewing Company & The Freehouse
A session strawberry milkshake cream ale collaboration between Indeed and The Freehouse. Any collaboration between two local power houses will get my attention, and I’ve long believed strawberry to be the best milkshake flavor. This is definitely worthy of a trip to The Blue Barn to investigate further.
Lavender Lemonade Bubble Trouble - Cannon River Winery
There are three different flavors of Bubble Trouble available from Cannon River Winery, located in The Hideaway Speakeasy, this year. In addition to the lavender lemonade, they’ll also be offering cotton candy and moscow mule versions. Lavender Lemonade Bubble Trouble is making its debut and couldn’t sound more refreshing if it tried. Sparkling Edelweiss wine accented with lavender-infused lemonade and served on ice.
MN Brew Together Dreamsicle Orange IPA - Barrel Theory Beer Company & Modist Brewing Co.
Another exciting collaboration to bookmark for this year. Blending a touch of vanilla bean with its orange citrus hop aroma, this IPA will spark the nostalgia of all the orange creamsicle pops from your childhood summers. This cool and creamy collab can be found at the Ball Park Cafe.
Onesie, Twosie, LuLu Lucy - Surly Brewing Company
If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, then chances are you’ve engaged in multiple lively debates about Hazy IPAs. Chances are you either love them, or think they’re the worst thing ever and want to tell them to go back to New England where they belong. For the Hazy IPA does not inspire indifference. If you’re on the love side of the equation, then you’ll want to check out the newest rendition from Surly, which you can find at LuLu’s Public House.
Sparkling Honey Hive - Sociable Cider Werks
- The demographic of cider drinkers and honey aficionados will want to head straight to Giggles’ Campfire Grill to get their hands on the Sparkling Honey Hive from Sociable. It sports a pleasant and distinctive aroma, and a body that’s both sharp and delicate.
- The 16 New Beers You Have to Try at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair [ETC]
- The Growler’s Guide to Beer at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair [GWLR]
- Take on the Minnesota State Fair Like a Pro [ETC]