Community notebook: Craft beer week

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May 9, 2011
By: Jeremy Zoss
Jeremy Zoss
MN Craft Beer Week runs May 13–21

There’s no question that interest in craft beers has been increasing steadily in the Twin Cities over the last few years. Several new breweries have started up around the area and some of the best craft brewers from around the country have entered the market over the last several months.

Last year, John Landers and Teshon Dyer of Stub & Herbs realized that while many states had craft beer weeks, Minnesota did not. Minnesota Craft Beer Week was born.

The inaugural event was relatively small, with three bars and eight liquor stores participating, mostly around the University of Minnesota. But the response from the local beer community was huge. “Last year, we held Craft Beer Week during the last week of class at the U,” Landers said. “During that week at Stubs, we’d typically do something like a thousand dollars of business a day. During Beer week, we’d do like 10 to 12 thousand a day.”

Not surprisingly, the scope of Minnesota Craft Beer Week is much larger this year. According to Landers, restaurants, bars, liquor stores and brewers lined up to participate. Starting May 13, special beer-related events will be held at 24 bars and seven liquor stores, with locations all over Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“If you call something Minnesota Craft Beer week, you really have to make sure there’s stuff going on all over the cities,” Landers said.

There are even a few events happening in the suburbs, and some may be added as far away as Duluth.

During Craft Beer Week, beer fans will have a chance to try limited-edition beers from all over the world, special brews from local favorites and have a chance to win prizes that many beer drinkers would die for. To enter, you must purchase a $5 “passport” from the site or any location. Every event you attend will earn you a stamp, and each is good for an entry into the prize drawing. The prizes range from liquor store gift certificates and free beer all the way up to a trip to Boston to visit the Boston Beer (Sam Adams) brewery.


Everspring Health kicking off citywide bicycle scavenger hunt in June

Uptown-based health care co-op Everspring Health is on a mission to promote healthy lifestyle choices, and the young healthcare company has created an event designed to get the whole city moving. Bike Twin Cities is a citywide, summer-long bicycle scavenger hunt that aims to get players riding around, interacting with local businesses and deciphering clues at bike-accessible outdoor locations.

Bike Twin Cities kicks off on June 1 and runs through the end of August.

During its run, players can get a clue from participating businesses around Minneapolis, which will direct them to a location somewhere in the city. Once the clue is deciphered, the player must take a photo of his or herself with the clue and a bike.

To get all three elements in the photo, you’ll likely need to ride with a friend — and that’s exactly the point. Bike Twin Cities isn’t just for hardcore bikers, but for their casual-riding friends as well. That’s why two grand prizes are being given away. One on One Bike Studio will give away a new bicycle to the first person to find every clue, as well as another to a random player who finds five clues or more. Both the die-hard cyclists and casual players will have a chance to win.

John Blaska, president of Everspring Health and creator of Bike Twin Cities, has said he hopes to have between 20 and 50 retail partners involved with the inaugural Bike Twin Cities event. Participating retailers may be offering special deals to players, and Blaska is pursuing primarily independent, locally owned shops. While Blaska is still recruiting partners, he already has about a dozen on board, including The Wedge co-op.

The partnership with The Wedge is a natural fit for Everspring Health, which is why Blaska pursued the grocery store for Bike Twin Cities’ first partner. Like The Wedge, Everspring is a nonprofit co-op.

But rather than healthful foods, Everspring members get discounts on acupuncture, chiropractic care and lifestyle consulting.

“Our mission is quality of life,” said Blaska, who spent several years traveling the world studying various forms of healing before founding Everspring in 2008. “We try to get people to make informed choices about their health. That’s where the idea for Bike Twin Cities came from. Our mission is to get people out and having fun.”


Rock the Garden and Basilica Block Party lineups revealed

Looking to pick up tickets for The Current and Walker Art Center’s annual ourdoor concert Rock the Garden? Too bad. All 9,000 tickets sold to MPR and Walker members before any were made available to the public.

The concert will be held in the Sculpture Garden on June 18 and feature performances by local band Tapes ‘n Tapes, Neko Case, the legendary Booker T. Jones and headliners My Morning Jacket. If you’re broken up about not getting a ticket, never fear: The Current will be giving away tickets closer to the event.

While Rock the Garden may be sold out, tickets are still available for the city’s other big outdoor concert, the Basilica Block Party. The 17th annual concert will be held on Saturday, July 8 and Sunday, July 9 at the Basilica of Saint Mary.

Tickets went on sale on May 7, with single-night passes available for $40 or two-day passes for $70. Performers include David Gray, Lissie, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Amos Lee, Drive-By Truckers and more.


The Fit Tourist bringing guided bike tours to Minneapolis

Minneapolis may be the best cycling city in the country, but much of what makes it a great place to ride may not be immediately obvious if you’re new to the city. The Fit Tourist aims to change that.

While living in Europe, co-founder Sandy Schreyer took bicycle tours of many cities and found herself wishing she could do the same whenever she visited Minneapolis. “I’d come here and say ‘I wish I had a bike, because this is such a great place to ride,’” she says. While there are plenty of places to rent a bicycle, no one in the city offered guided tours. So when Schreyer relocated to Minneapolis last December, she formed The Fit Tourist with her business partner Stephanie Croteau.

The Fit Tourist will hold its first group tour on May 13. The company has multiple types of tours planned, including tours of Downtown and the Minnehaha Falls area. The Fit Tourist also plans to offer customized tours, and hopes to show visitors “a little entertainment, a little history, and some hidden gems.”


Olson moving to Ford Center

Prepare to say goodbye to the familiar brick man atop Loring Corners. After years at its current location, advertising and marketing firm Olson is preparing to move to the Ford Center in early 2012.

The firm required more space with room to grow after several years of expansion, and its new location offers 125,000 square feet across four and a half floors and a rooftop deck. Olson is working with preservationists to retain the character of the historic building, which was originally a showroom and vehicle assembly plant.

“There’s a common connection between where we are and where we’re going,” says Olson CEO Kevin DiLorenzo. “One of the reasons we’re so associated with Loring Corners is that we moved in when it was an emerging neighborhood and we helped create its identity. Now there’s a lot of attention on other emerging neighborhoods, and the area by Target Field definitely is one. So we’re excited to join another emerging neighborhood and help it develop.”


MPLS.TV launches Bike City web series

Local online video site MPLS.TV is home to videos about Minneapolis’ music, arts, comedy and fashion scenes, and now a new series about the local cycling community has been added to the mix. The first episode of Bike City launched on April 25, hosted by Gene Oberpriller, co-owner of One on One Bike Studio. The series will focus on both bicycle maintenance and the unique cycle culture that make Minneapolis the top biking city in the country. The first episode features instructions by Oberpriller on how to fix a flat tire and highlights last February’s Stupor Bowl, the annual winter bike race/bar crawl.


Lupient Water Park reopens in June

NORTHEAST — It may not feel like it, but summer is around the corner. The seasonal opening of the Jim Lupient Water Park is scheduled for June 10, with a preview weekend scheduled for June 4 and June 5. The park’s season runs through August 28 and will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. During the preview weekend, the park will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. We sincerely hope it’s actually warm by then.


Court Watch program launches

NORTHEAST — An East Side Court Watch program is now up and running, with residents monitoring crimes that cover the entire 2nd Precinct, from Columbia Park to the University of Minnesota campus.

The group’s initial strategy is to scrutinize recent arrests in a long list of offenses that include narcotics, burglary, theft, assault, public drinking, drunk driving, indecent exposure, robbery, trespassing and graffiti. Group members can then send “community impact statements” to judges in an attempt to influence the sentencing. Crime Prevention Specialist Tom Thompson said there are many actions the group could take — it could analyze whether the system is working, for example, or write to legislators about their findings.

“We’ll see how neighbors react,” Thompson said. “Hopefully we’ll get a couple of good arrests and show them how effective they can be.”

The group is currently meeting along with the 2nd Precinct Advisory Council at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month in the Monroe Village Community Room, located at 1900 Central Avenue NE.


Police urge caution after rash of bicycle accidents

After a significant uptick in the number of incidents involving cyclists and pedestrians being hit and killed by cars, the Minneapolis Police Department is urging caution and warning of an increase in enforcement of public safety laws.

The MPD has released a statement asking cyclists to wear helmets at all times and to simply exercise caution while riding. The statement also asks for drivers and pedestrians to be cautious while on the road.

The MPD has begun to increase enforcement of traffic issues, such as jaywalking, failure to yield and similar violations. The MPD hopes the increased enforcement will prevent additional accidents.   


Plan for new Lunds moving through city process

Lunds hopes to get a site plan for a grocery store at 1201 Hennepin Ave. S. before the city’s Planning Commission next month.

Preliminary plans for a 20,000-square-foot, one-floor grocery were presented to the Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole on April 28. In addition to the grocery, Lunds is planning to build a 5,639 square-foot liquor store on the southeast corner of the lot. A rain garden is also planned. Commissioners expressed excitement about the prospect of a Downtown grocery store but criticized aspects of the plan.

In particular, commissioners criticized the plan for funneling incoming and outgoing traffic to a lone entrance/exit on the west side of the building. Lunds representatives were encouraged to better engage pedestrian traffic on Hennepin Avenue by exploring the possibility of installing a second entrance at the corner of 12th & Hennepin.

In response, Lunds representatives suggested that there might not be space on the already cramped site for another entrance. At 20,000 square feet, the Downtown store would already be the smallest Lunds in the Twin Cities. By comparison, the Uptown Lunds is 38,000 square feet.

It is unclear whether Shea, Inc. — the architect of the Downtown Lunds — will alter the proposed site plan in response to the committee’s criticisms. Reached for comment after the meeting, Shea representatives didn’t comment on whether the plans will be altered, but did confirm that they hope to get a hearing before the full Planning Commission in June.

Michelle Bruch contributed to this report. Reach Jeremy Zoss at