Once in a while, you get lucky. In the summer of 2009, the four of us were busily creating and perfecting recipes on a custom-built homebrew system (that is: made of a chopped up & welded together bed frame and 3 “retired” ½ bbl kegs) in a Fulton neighborhood garage. Earlier that year, we had embarked on the path of starting our brewery, and by then we had several recipes that were in consideration for release at our planned launch date later that year. Our favorite was a classic pale ale brewed with Cascade and Perle hops, and we also had a blonde ale that was showing promise after nearly twenty iterations on the homebrew system (if you hadn’t guessed by now, they would later become The Ringer and Lonely Blonde). In particular, we loved our pale ale and thought it was “the one.” It was balanced, clean, and bright; we thought it was perfect. But on every one of our early sales calls, bartenders and managers asked if we made an IPA.
In hindsight, it seems like an obvious question, but even just eight years ago, IPAs weren’t quite the big deal they are in 2017. In fact, we had been working on an IPA, but at that time, we’d only brewed our current recipe twice. And the recipe was a bit unusual. Though far from being an edgy, over-the-top IPA of the ilk that was exploding on the West Coast at the time, ours wasn’t exactly conventional either; the recipe was an unusual convergence of American IPA ingredients with English-style balance. It featured two relatively new or obscure hops, Simcoe and Glacier, along with a malt bill consisting of a healthy dose of White Wheat and Caramel 60. We weren’t sure what people would think of it, but we started bringing bottles of a homebrewed IPA we called “Sweet Child of Vine” on our sales calls.
We’re glad they asked. Every bar we sampled Sweet Child at agreed to put it on tap as soon as we could supply it, which was still several months away. We went from wondering which of our beers people would even like, to wondering how we were going to even meet demand. We launched Sweet Child of Vine as Fulton’s sole beer in October 2009 and didn’t release another year-round beer for another 8 months. Initially, we had to limit our distribution to keep up with demand. Sweet Child was initially available draft only to just 7 bars. Soon we added another 9, then we upped it to 25, then 35, then 50. It was two full years before we had the capacity to release Sweet Child (or anything else) in bottles. What had started out as a homebrewing recipe brewed for our own enjoyment had quickly blossomed into one of the hottest new beers around.
But we had a lot to learn, and our first big lesson was just around the corner. Early in 2010, we called our hops supplier to order a few boxes of Simcoe for our next few weeks production. “We’re out of Simcoe,” came the answer. “Ok, when will you have it back?” Ryan asked, expecting it to be available again in a few days or maybe a week or two. “Three years.”
So that’s how learned about hops contracts. As it turned out, Simcoe was one of the Next. Big. Hops. As a brand new startup, we weren’t prepared in the least for that answer, but we adapted. Less than six months after we sold our first pint of Sweet Child, we had to replace Simcoe in the recipe with something else. We tried a few substitutions, and landed on CTZ (Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus) as our replacement for the foreseeable future. In relatively quick order, the Sweet Child of Vine we all knew and loved became a CTZ beer, not a Simcoe beer—and a great one, at that. As a result, for most of Sweet Child of Vine’s history as a commercially available beer, CTZ, not Simcoe, has been the signature hop variety alongside Glacier.
But those of us who recalled its original formulation with Simcoe…missed it. We wanted to bring Simcoe back, someday. But the bigger the beer became, the more unlikely it seemed that we ever would be able to source enough of the hop variety that was simultaneously exploding in popularity.
Finally, in late 2016, we managed to procure enough Simcoe to revisit and revise the Sweet Child of Vine recipe. In the intervening months, our brew crew has been methodically tweaking the Sweet Child recipe to add Simcoe back into the recipe. At the same time, we subtly dialed back the proportion of Caramel malt in the recipe. The result? Sweet Child of Vine is still the balanced, approachable IPA that you’ve come to know, love, and rely upon…yet it’s not identical to what you remember, either. The toned-down Caramel malt profile melds nicely with a slightly drier mouthfeel, highlighting the mellower but fruitier character of the Simcoe hops. Sweet Child of Vine still drinks magnificently on its own, and pairs with almost any food you can throw at it: from red meat to tropical fruit desserts. In our (extremely biased) opinion, Sweet Child is one of the most versatile and all-out enjoyable IPAs on the market today. Next time you see it, grab a pint, 4-pack, 6-pack, or 12-pack and let us know what you think.
Ahhhhhhh...the great Minnesota get-together. Each year Minnesotans have the nearly 2 weeks of fair to mark their summer's end. With rides, agricultural attractions, live entertainment and some of the wackiest "on a stick" food options known to man, it's easy to find yourself spending a day (and some serious $$$) at the Fair. For those making a day of it and looking for some refreshment Fulton-style, we've devised this handy map to get you headed in the right direction.
See you at the Fair!
Ahead of next week's heat wave, we've teamed up with our buddies at Bittercube to bring you the Mosaic Radler, a most refreshing summer beer cocktail based around our 300 Mosaic IPA. And, speaking of teaming up we'll be back again at Chef Camp, a Northwoods culinary adventure this September. Join us at camp for chef-led cooking classes taught over the fire, classic summer camp activities (canoeing, archery, crafts), epic meals under the stars and small-group beer workshops taught by our Fulton team.
Right now Chef Camp has a special deal for fans of Fulton. Click here or use code "FULTON2017" for discounts of more than 10 percent on tickets to Chef Camp's September 8-10 session.
For more information, visit chefcampmn.com or come down to the Fulton taproom on Wednesday, July 12 from 5:30-7:30 where the Chef Camp team will be hosting a meetup and answering questions. First 10 people to come say hi will get a free Chef Camp tshirt!
See you at camp!
Picture yourself headed to a Twins game with your friends or family. Maybe you take the LRT into the North Loop and you find yourself with some time to kill. So, being the beer-loving person you are you pop on by the Fulton Taproom to soak up some pre-game suds. On your way out you say to yourself, "Geez, sure wish I could keep these Fultons flowing at the game". Well, faithful Fulton supporter, we're here to tell you that you can. The map below puts you on the path to keeping the Fulton flowing at Target Field.
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
See you at the game!
72 Stretch, our Gose-Style Ale is back. What's better than that? We've made our most summery beer a bit more mobile by putting it in tallboys. Now you can take some with on whatever adventure you're planning. This weekend we're headed South and North on adventures of our own and taking 72 Stretch with us.
On the North Shore? Swing up to Lutsen Mountains from 4-8. We'll be pouring samples of 72 Stretch, Hopstar, Pils, and other Fultons at our tent outside of Papa Charlies as part of the Lutsen 99er kickoff party.
We're at Mankato's Solstice Outdoor Music Festival both days serving up Sweet Child of Vine, Lonely Blonde and 72 Stretch. Maybe on Saturday you're jumping on a tube and floating in the Mankato Monster Float? If so, catch us that morning sampling 72 Stretch around 11.
A year ago we worked with our good friends at FMR, Rahr, and Bob Mitchell's Fly Shop to release 72 Stretch as a taproom-only beer. We chose the name as an nod to the 72 mile stretch that constitutes the Mississippi River National Park. This year BMFS put together one of the more enjoyable (and ambitious!) fishing contests we've seen and we're happy to host their award ceremony in the Fulton Taproom. Not big on fishing? Not a problem. We'll be releasing 72 Stretch for the first time in the cities back in the taproom where it debuted in 2016.
We work with, and support, 100's of organizations each year. And while we do our best to "spread the love", there are a few categories of interest we think are vital to our local community (we tend to try extra hard in these categories). One of these groups that impacts us in ways we sometimes take for granted is the Arts & Creative community here in MPLS. Besides the jobs created and billions of dollars pumped into our local community, there's a public art component that brings perspective, entertainment and inspiration to our lives. In our opinion, one of the best ways to get out, see, do and engage in this realm is Northern Spark. Which, we have proudly supported 3 years strong now.
We hope to see you out and about Saturday night! If all that art interaction gets you thirsty, stop by our (new) beer garden at the corner of Portland Ave and 4th 9-12pm in the Commons Park.
(Northern Spark is from 9:29pm to 5:26am.)
This week we are releasing an all-new Continental Pilsner, simply titled “PILS.” PILS will be available year-round on draft and in six packs of 12 oz bottles. Why a Pilsner? Simply put, most of us at the brewery love this style of beer. It’s usually the first beer we seek out when we visit a new town or another brewery. Whenever the ageless “desert island beer” conversation comes up, one Pilsner or another gets an impassioned debate. The only problem was, Fulton had never brewed a Pils. So, we set out to make a great one. Ours is built on a base of Minnesota-malted Rahr Pilsner. It features a smooth, well-rounded bitterness provided by German Perle, and a pleasantly floral aroma provided by the style’s hallmark Saaz hops. Pilsner yeast punctuates the beer with a beautifully clean finish. At 5.3% ABV and 30 IBU, this is a beer that leaves your senses wanting for nothing – except another.
It’s always exciting to add a new beer to our repertoire. In the 10 years since we started homebrewing in a one car South Minneapolis garage, we have come to appreciate and enjoy nearly every style of beer. To us, a large part of what drew us to homebrewing was the ability to create any beer, with our imaginations being pretty much the only limitation. As the number of styles and substyles of beer continues to grow and evolve, and the quality and diversity of ingredients available to brew with grows as well, the permutations and combinations of recipe possibilities approaches infinity—or at least a number way higher than we can count. But as a production brewery, the unfortunate reality is that there is a finite number of tap handles and shelf spots in the world; we can’t brew every beer we want, all the time.
So begins the long process of narrowing down the world of endless choice to perhaps a couple dozen beers that will appear in our lineup over the period of a year. Many are small releases of only a few hundred cases and a few dozen kegs. Some are draft only, and some never even make it out of our taproom. A handful make it into our year-round lineup. If you’ve ever drank a Fulton, you’d had one of these. For the first five years of Fulton’s existence, we had only two Core beers – Lonely Blonde and Sweet Child of Vine. We were unusual in that way; most breweries have four or five year-round beers the first day they open for business. We chose to do fewer because we believed investing our efforts in perfecting just a couple beers rather than a half dozen or more made long term sense, in terms of quality of beer and of building brand recognition. Meanwhile we quenched our fans’—and our own—thirst for variety by releasing a growing number of seasonals. First came Worthy Adversary, then Libertine. Later on, it was Expat, Randonneur, and many many more. In 2014, after years of it being a taproom favorite, we added The Ringer to our year-round lineup. Last year, we increased our Core lineup to 5 beers, with the addition of 300 IPA and Standard Lager. In total, we brewed about 25 beers in 2016, with 16 of those making it out in both draft and package formats.
So we have finally have a full calendar of year-round and seasonal beers, and it took just seven years to build. What to do now? Tear it up, of course! Well, not entirely…but substantially. In the name of creative destruction, we’ve re-worked much of our lineup this year. We’re introducing some all-new beers, making some familiar favorites into taproom exclusives, and even retiring a few.
The biggest change: to make room for PILS, The Ringer is moving out of our year-round lineup. Ringer loyalists need not fear, as it will continue to be available in the taproom on a regular basis. And the last of the bottles are still on shelves of some stores, so you may still be able to pick up a sixer for a short time.
There have been even more changes in the seasonal camp. Last month we released a brand-new NE-style Session IPA, "Hopstar." It’s been in such a high demand that it’s gone from our warehouse already, so if you see it on shelves, grab it while you can, because we are out except for a few kegs that our taproom will continue to pour. Meanwhile, in the “addition by subtraction” column, we have drawn back on our saison lineup. You may have noticed Randonneur didn’t appear in bottles this year. We have dialed that back to a taproom-only release, which is pouring now. Our other two saisons, Expat and Maitrise, have retired. Does that mean you’ll never taste them again? Not necessarily, but we don’t yet have a timetable for their return.
On the all-new side, 2017 will see 3 releases in our Culture Project series. Two, a golden ale aged in oak for two years on lacto, pedio, and brett, came out in April. Later this year, Tanager, our 100% Barrel-fermented Brett IPA makes its bottle debut, followed by another Culture Project release late in the year.
Enough change yet? Almost, but not quite. In addition to our just-released collaboration with the Star Tribune, Extra! Extra!, we have a couple more collaborations in the works that we can’t talk about just yet. And we’ll have more all-new taproom-exclusive releases dropping occasionally throughout the year.
That gets us back to where we started—brewing what we want, when we want. At any given moment, we generally have 20-24 beers available in the taproom. The lineup changes on an almost weekly basis. Keep an eye on the taproom page of our website; we keep the taps listed there as fresh as the beer. Of course you can always find our perennial favorites on tap, and every limited release visits the taproom as well. Drop by for a beer sometime soo, and meanwhile, pick up a six pack of Pils next time you’re in the liquor store – it just might become your desert island beer.
This week, we’re releasing not one but TWO all-new beers in cans. The first is “Hopstar”, our Northeast-style (read: hazy and twice-dry hopped) Session IPA. If you attended the Gran Fondo or have been in our taproom or a select number of bars in the last two weeks, you may have already enjoyed a Hopstar or two on draft. Beginning this week, Hopstar cans hit distribution in the metro area, with the rest of the state following shortly thereafter. Hopstar has already become a crowd favorite, so pick up a 4-pack when you see it – it won’t be around for long. In fact, pick up a couple of them: Hopstar resonates with juicy tropical hop notes from Citra, Amarillo, and Mosaic, but at just 4.9% ABV and a pleasingly balanced 37 IBUs, you’ll find the cans emptying themselves at an astonishing rate.
Speaking of limited edition canned beers you may have already been hearing about, we’re also releasing “Extra! Extra!” this week. This one is a collaboration with our neighbors—you may have heard of them—at the Star Tribune. This Thursday, May 26th, is the Star Tribune’s 150th anniversary, and as part of their summer-long sesquicentennial celebration, we came up with a beer that’s both timeless and all-new. It’s an interpretation of the classic American Pale Ale style, but brewed with the addition of an experimental hop variety, dubbed simply “09326”. Extra! Extra! launches at our taproom on Thursday, and will be available—again, in very limited quantities—in 4-pack 16 oz cans in liquor stores this week as well.
In other can-related news, just last week we received and commissioned our brand-new canning line. Built just hours from here by American Brewing Equipment in Lincoln, Nebraska, our new line cruises along at 60 cans per minute, and will enable us to put more of your favorite Fultons in cans more often. Last week got a little crazy, as we had to unpack, install, and commission the line in just four days before we started filling Hopstar and Extra Extra! cans. Our crew had some long days and short nights, but by Friday afternoon we were pumping out cans by the pallet. If you see any of our packaging and brew crew out and about, give ‘em a high five – they deserve it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Limited-Edition Beer Debuts on May 22 at Fulton Taproom at VIP Tasting event, Public Taproom launch May 25, Available at Retail on May 26
MINNEAPOLIS – May 11, 2017 – Fulton Brewing Co., one of the upper-Midwest’s leading craft brewers, today unveiled “EXTRA! EXTRA! American Pale Ale,” a limited-edition brew to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Star Tribune. The beverage will be the star attraction at an invitation-only VIP “First Tasting,” on May 22 at the Fulton Taproom 414 N. 6th Ave., Minneapolis.
On May 25, the 150th anniversary of the Star Tribune’s first date of publication in 1867, EXTRA! EXTRA! American Pale Ale will be available to the public at the Fulton Taproom. The following day it will be on sale throughout the state of Minnesota while supplies last. In addition, Fulton will feature the ale at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival in mid-June.
Made with locally malted barley and a double charge of Cascade and experimental hop varieties, EXTRA! EXTRA! American Pale Ale was brewed to appeal to beer enthusiasts who appreciate a lighter, refreshing brew.
“For a century and a half, the Star Tribune has been recognized for its award-winning journalism,” said Steve Yaeger, vice president and chief marketing officer of Star Tribune Media Co., “But while some awards gather dust in a display case, thanks to our friends at Fulton, we now have an honor we can enjoy with our readers, advertisers, employees, and supporters as the summer kicks off. We raise our glasses to the Star Tribune family and the talented people at Fulton Brewing for bringing an ‘Extra! Extra!’ level of fun to our anniversary.”
“After 150 years, it’s only appropriate that we take a moment to salute one of our state’s great institutions,” said Ryan Petz, president of Fulton Brewing. “We invite Star Tribune fans and our loyal customers to join us in an EXTRA! EXTRA! American Pale Ale toast to celebrate the countless contributions the Star Tribune has made to the life of our city and state. Cheers to a job well done—and our sincere wishes for 150 more years of continued success.”
Extra! Extra! Pale Ale is an American pale ale made with American pilsner malt and high-quality German specialty malts. This beer features Cascade hops as well as a new experimental variety (09326) that is a daughter of Cascade. These ingredients come together to create a pleasantly crisp and aromatic pale ale with notes of citrus and tropical fruit.
Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017, Star Tribune Media Co. LLC is a locally owned, award-winning media company serving Minnesota and the upper Midwest. With the fifth-largest Sunday and sixth-largest daily circulation newspaper in the U.S., the most-visited local website, a quarterly magazine, a popular arts/entertainment publication, and a range of home-delivered advertising solutions, Star Tribune reaches more consumers than any other Minnesota media brand. For more information, visit www.startribunecompany.com.
Fulton Beer was founded by four homebrewers in a Southwest Minneapolis garage in 2009 with the mantra “Ordinary Guys Brewing Extraordinary Beer.” Since then, Fulton has become one of the fastest growing breweries in the Midwest. In 2012, Fulton opened the first taproom in Minneapolis, which offers an ever-changing tap selection as well as house-brewed non-alcoholic soda. Fulton commissioned its second brewery in 2014, a 51,000 square foot facility in Northeast Minneapolis. Fulton is best known for Sweet Child of Vine, a balanced and approachable India Pale Ale, and Lonely Blonde, an easy-drinking Blonde Ale. These and Fulton’s seasonal and limited release beers are currently available on draft, in bottles, and in cans throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas. Information regarding beer availability, taproom hours, tours, special events and more can be found at www.fultonbeer.com.
Fulton Brewing Co,
Star Tribune Media Co.
Hopstar is all juicy hop flavor and no lingering bitterness. Twice dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and Amarillo and left intentionally hazy, Hopstar punches in at just 4.9% ABV, making it your perfect warm weather IPA companion. Hopstar will be available on draft and in cans throughout Fulton's distribution footprint in May and June. Join us at the Whole Hog Feast this Friday night -- and of course at the Fulton Gran Fondo block party on Saturday -- to be among the first to try it.
Join us for a feast on Friday night (5/5) at our NE brewery, featuring Chef Camp Chefs Erik Sather of Lowry Hill Meats and Yia Vang of Union Kitchen. Sather will be cooking up a whole hog (from Tangletown Gardens) porchetta-style and Vang will be slow roasting veggies over the fire. Join us for an epic meal, North Mallow s'mores bar, fun camp activities and of course, a couple of beers -- including Hopstar.
Tickets are just $20, and can be purchased ahead of time here. No need to be a Fondo rider to participate.
Join us at the 4th annual Fulton Gran Fondo for bikes, bands, and beers. The ride departs in the morning from the Fulton Production Brewery in NE Minneapolis. This year, we're again offering the 100 mile "Gran" as well as a 40 mile "Medio" Fondo. Start times are 9:00 AM for the Gran Fondo, and 11:00 AM for the Medio Fondo.
Enjoy riding, but never ridden in an organized ride before? The Medio might be the perfect fit for you. 40 miles isn't too far, and there's a rest stop at the halfway point teeming with goodies from 10 --count 'em -- local food and beverage companies. More on that here.
Whether or not you're riding the Fondo, there's enough beer and fun for everyone at the block party. The party starts at 1 and is free to attend. We've got more music, more food, our growing Fulton Partner Market and nearly an endless amount of beer. Grab your friend, roomie, sibling...whomever, and get on over to our NE production brewery at 1pm.
A very special thank you to North Memorial Health for sponsoring the 2017 Fulton Gran Fondo.
Yep, it's perfect bike riding and block party weather this weekend. See you soon! Oh, and be on the lookout for Sasquatch.