MANKATO, Minnesota (WCCO) — Fall isn’t just for pumpkin spice latte lovers. It’s also a big time of year for another type of beverage: beer.
Seasonal beers are being poured all over the state and, according to our WCCO viewers, the best fall brew in Minnesota isn’t in the Twin Cities, it’s in Mankato. There, Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield found a fruit-based beer and a story that goes back four generations.
Nestled in an industrial park, about an hour and a half south of the Twin Cities, you’ll find Mankato Brewery.
Loyal customer Patrick Erdner says of the Pumpkin Grinder brew, “It reminds me of having pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.”
Don Rasmussen of Mankato is also a loyal patron and fan of the Pumpkin Grinder, “First time I had it, I was like ‘wow!’
Tim Tupy is the owner. A homebrewer and native to the area, his friends convinced him to open in 2012, it’s been very well-received.
“If you go to the Cities, there are breweries like this all over,” Rasmussen said. “You know, this is the only one down here, the only one around here in this region and I think it’s great.”
Turns out, for Tupy, the beer business wasn’t just his dream, it’s his destiny. His great, great, great-grandfather came from Czechoslovakia and opened the first brewery in New Prague in 1884.
“I’d love to say it’s the full inspiration. Reality is, I didn’t find out about that until after I decided to do the brewery,” he said.
Well, he couldn’t have planned it better, nor could he have planned the test run they tried on a pumpkin-based beer.
“We put it on and the keg would be gone in one night and people would say, ‘You guys have to make this beer, make this beer,’” he said.
So they did.
Jacob Hamilton is head brewer of the Pumpkin Grinder.
“You can get pumpkin spice anything these days so why not bring it to beer?” Hamilton said.
He says it’s a balance of just enough pumpkin and just enough flavor he uses a secret fall spice blend and it ferments for a month.
“It is really rewarding when you can enjoy the beer that you made and all the flavors come out like they should,” Hamilton said.
This is the best fall brew in the state of Minnesota but it turns out recently this micro-brewery got a big accolade, they won second best pumpkin beer at the Great American Beer Fest in Colorado.
“Having such a huge award ceremony, honoring great beers all over the US and to actually win a medal was pretty neat for us,” Tupy said.
There’s a lot of pride flowing through this rural taproom.
“It’s great to have something you can say, ‘This is my hometown, this is my beer,” Rasmussen said.
And theirs is the BEST if you ask WCCO viewers.
If your taste buds are churching and you don’t want to make the trip to Mankato, the Pumpkin Grinder is available in several stores around the state, including the Twin Cities.
Here are the places you can find Pumpkin Grinder:
Liquor stores: Elevated Beer, Wine, and Spirits-Minneapolis and White Bear Lake, Apple Valley Liquor, MGM Wine and Spirits-Maple Grove, Chalet Liquor-Crystal, MGM Wine and Spirits-Mankato, North Mankato, and St. Peter.
Bars/Restaurants: Town Hall Lanes-Minneapolis, Billy’s on Grand-St. Paul, Pub 500-Mankato