With State Fair approaching, excitement brewing for beer connoisseurs

One sampling is Summit Brewing Co.'s "Helles Ya, You Betcha!"

Sloane Martin
August 14, 2018 - 2:07 pm

In the three years since state lawmakers gave the OK for brew-pubs to serve their beers at the Minnesota State Fair, the options have become endless for connoisseurs.

One option to check out is a State Fair exclusive from Summit Brewing Co. in St. Paul, available at the Summit booth and Shanghaied Henri.

The pale unfiltered lager is called the "Helles Ya, You Betcha!" It's a hazy light gold beer is brewed with experimental hops and a touch of blood orange.

Summit Brewing Co. founder and president Mark Stutrud likens crafting beer to composing music.

"When you know what you're doing, that's when you get people together to rehearse," he said. "Rehearsal is perfecting, it's not designing on the fly. It's perfecting what you're going to do. So, that's how precise brewing is. It's very creative on one hand, and you can take this artisanal approach, but you still have this structure that gives you the foundation to improvise." 

It takes six months from concept to finish, with staff, marketing and management folks discussing what they like best. There's a lot of thought and experimentation that goes into a single beer formulation.

"All of these modalities have their own specific structure and it's exactly the same thing for styles of beer," he said. "It's the structure that defines a helles as being different from an Oktoberfest, even though they're both lagers."

Helles is a German lager from the word for "light" but this is not low-calorie. 

Summit polled their fans on social media and narrowed down 400 names to five finalists for people to vote. Other finalists were Lager du Nord and Pontoon Perfection.