The Dabble

-food with a side of life-

Minnesota Liquor Stores and My Search For Good Beer

Let’s talk beer. I want to take a break from food for the day. You might be aware of my love for wine but I also love good beer. Greg and I went to Blue Max Liquors for weekend goodies last Friday, as suggested by the Heavy Table. I love those guys!

Located about 30 minutes away in Burnsville (MN), we arrived at a building that most people would be a bit leery to believe held a great collection of liquor, wine and beer from around the world. We found a few old beer pals from our days in college when Chumleys, with its vast amount of beers on tap and bottles, was calling our names in Lafayette, Indiana.

Don’t let it fool you. We were impressed and sure to return. If you aren’t able to make it to the other stores towards Minneapolis-if you’re like us and on the southern end of the state, traveling to other locations involves an hour or more-go here. Go here regardless! This is a great place to try new alcoholic beverages, not just beer, or find obscure beer/liquor that you might have had before and couldn’t find anywhere else.

You have to be willing to pay a bit more and I bet if you’re a fan of good brews, you’ll do so (quality over quantity). Think of it like this: it’s not lackluster, mainstream stuff….although they have that too. People were friendly and more than helpful and welcoming at the store. With Memorial Day coming, give it a try or try it later, they will be there. (Watch them go out of business. Noooo.)

Above and below are the beers we gathered: Rogue Juniper Pale Ale and Brutal Bitter, Old Ruffian Barley Wine-Style Ale, Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse and Collaboration Not Litigation Ale. What have you tried recently? What would you recommend?

Not a one had the reaction of “we paid $5 to $8 for this one beer?! Bad idea.” Greg enjoyed both the Juniper Pale Ale and the Old Ruffian Barley-Style Ale best and my top picks were the Hopfen-Weisse and Juniper Pale Ale but they were all worth trying. Of course, this is based on the styles we like but we both enjoy almost every kind with standouts in our minds. We haven’t met a Rogue or Surly that we weren’t fond of but we’ve found ourselves in bad moods with Coors, Busch Light and the like. There’s a time and place for those, I know. I’m eagerly awaiting our trip to Europe (it isn’t planned-just a dream at this point) for so many reasons, beer tops many of those reasons.

On that note, we finally ordered a beer kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop. We’ll be making our own very soon. Since money is tight, we bought the gallon kit with their Belgian Tripel (the most recommended of their kits, light pale in appearance). I enjoy a good Tripel. We’ll see and hopefully find ourselves obtaining more equipment for a larger “operation” one day. What do you like?

12 thoughts on “Minnesota Liquor Stores and My Search For Good Beer

  1. I refuse to shop at Blue Max because of their insistence on scanning IDs. I’d rather go to any other liquor store around town (and many have the beers which you selected) than have my ID scanned at Blue Max.

    1. I’ve heard about that. Greg’s was scanned, mine was not. Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bite him with stolen identity or whatnot.

  2. Blue Max used to be a go-to location for us. That was until we moved into our current house, which is less than a mile from Cellar’s on Cliff Road in Eagan. It’s not too much further up the road from Blue Max if you decide not to frequent them any more. Jason and Mark are great and they have an email newsletter you can sign up for to know when they’re getting new stuff in – very helpful in planning a trip.
    Good luck with the homebrewing! We’ve done it in the past but not to the point of making GREAT stuff, like some of our friends have. Not sure what your plans are (keg, 12 oz bottle, or bombers) but if you’re in need of either size bottles, get in touch with me.

    1. We’ll have to try Cellars and I’m signing on for the newsletter after this. We’re going the 12 oz route. We have quite a collection of bottles but I will definitely keep you in mind if we need more. Thanks, Kris!

  3. Why did you order a brewing kit from out of state? Minnesota is the home of two of the largest homebrew supply shops in the US. Northern Brewer and Midwest Supplies.

    Please check them out. Good luck and cheers!

    1. I couldn’t refuse the price. We considered one of those shops but the price was too high for us. Plus, we supported a small operation and we like that.

  4. I don’t understand why scanning your id is an issue.

    My husband and I make the hour trek to shop at Blue Max often. Their selection is awesome and their staff is great. We’re big beer geeks and appreciate the hard to find brews and overall selection.

    Four Firkins in St. Louis park is also a great spot–small, but great. Alvey has a ton of knowledge, and you can’t get enough of his accent, lol.

    Finally, Zips on Franklin in Minneapolis is another great spot. (and across from one of my favorite vegan clothing joints!)

    1. Because those machines store your personally identifiable information (which could later be tied to credit card receipts if you use plastic) and are easily stolen and used for any number of nefarious purposes.

      I see absolutely no reason why an ID needs to be scanned to buy alcohol. If you choose to allow your name, address, and birthdate to be stored by third parties, that’s cool afterall it’s your information to do with as you please but I prefer that I am the keeper of that information, not a liquor store.

  5. If you attend any major festivals, your id is now being scanned.
    They’re not trying to store or steal your info, they’re validating your age and legality to drink.

  6. sure, they can figure out your age…but what they don’t know without scanning is if you’ve just had a dui or are not allowed to drink at present….that’s not on your license. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love scanning, but I’m not going all conspiracy theory over why it’s wrong either.

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