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July 13, 2009

Midwest Trip Part 2: New Belgium, Surly and a Bell's-Filled Wedding

When we arrived in the quaint little town of Northfield, Minnesota for our friends Ian and Catherine's wedding, we knew of a few beers available around those parts that aren't readily available in NYC. Priority #1 was Surly Brewing Co., the Minnesotan craft beers in cans. Unfortunately we didn't have a ton of time, so we made a quick stop into the liquor store and found the Surly Furious and the Surly Bender.

These further prove that craft beer in a can is a GREAT idea. Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale is very good, but Furious and Bender are great. I had previously tried the Surly Furious IPA at an event at Barcade in Brooklyn, but the Bender was new to me. I don't believe I had ever had a brown ale in a can before, but wow is this good. Wish we could have brought more back with us, but we had to save room for upcoming breweries.

We also managed to get our hands on some New Belgium beer, perhaps most famous for their flagship beer Fat Tire, which has been rumored to be the gateway beer for many BudMillerCoors drinkers to make the jump to craft beer. We purchased 1554 Enlightened Black Ale (a Belgian Dark Ale) and Mothership Wit (an organic Witbier). Both are rated with an average of a B on BeerAdvocate, and we all seemed to agree. It's decent beer, and definitely worth buying, but overall neither really challenged our palates as the Surly had done. We mainly sipped all these brews while getting ready for the wedding.

Speaking of the wedding, SOMEHOW Jeff and I were able to connive Ian & Catherine into supplying craft beer for their wedding reception. Just kidding! Kinda.

Ian knows good beer. And it just so happened that he was getting married in the midwest (in the hometown of his now-wife Catherine), the land of Bell's! So he decided to not allow any yellow light fizzy lagers, and instead have the local choices of Bell's Amber, Bell's Two-Hearted Ale and just to make it super-local, Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat. This basically put us in beer heaven. Unlimited free Bell's beers? Not to mention a ton of our best friends partying? Yeah, definitely awesome. Congrats to Ian & Catherine!

Midwest Trip Part 3 coming soon!

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