Firkin Fest 2009

What the firk is a firkin you ask?  



14th century Middle English

1: a small wooden vessel or cask
2: any of various British units of capacity usually equal to 1/4 barrel

I should really attend more beer tastings/festivals.  I intend to, and I’ve been talking about it for long enough.  Yesterday’s Firkin Fest will most certainly help jump start that resolution.  What a firkin awesome event (sorry, could NOT resist that…).

My roommate Sasha and I got there around 5pm and started making our rounds of the many, many different beers there from all over the country.  I think I heard/read that over 30 breweries represented.  

I tried to make a point to hit up as many local ones as I could and was REALLY excited when I saw that Lift Bridge Brewery (Stillwater, MN) had a spot.  If you’ll recall, I tried their Biscotti at the Blue Door Pub when I sampled the BDP’s Lucy incarnation and just fell in love.  More on the LBB later.

Now, as I’ve said before – I am not a beer connoisseur by any means, but I do love me some good brews and prefer a flavorful, unique imbibe over a Coors Light any day (except softball game days when I want my beer light, COLD, and plentiful and then I say BRING ON THE COORS).  I did jot down some thoughts, but after tasting the first 5-10-15… well, I stopped taking notes and started truly partying.

I don’t think I met a single beer I just straight up didn’t like.  New Belgium’s wood-aged La Folie Love (Ft. Collins, CO) and Sprecher’s Generation Porter (Glendale, WI) were the most unique and therefore the most memorable.  The La Folie was tart and REALLY made you pucker (go figure; their website discusses hints of sour apple in the flavor).  The Porter had a beautiful finish that tasted like raspberries.  SO very cool.

Back to Lift Bridge.  They showed off their Kimono Girl Saison, which is apparently a spin on their flagship Farm Girl, but I didn’t know that until just now when I read Heavy Table’s [very cool] write up of the event.  I loved the Kimono Girl, and other people must’ve agreed because this one won the Crowd Favorite.  Congrats!  The brew guys were super nice and let me come around their side of the casks to get a picture with me:


Evan joined us after a short while and within a few hours, the three of us were happily hopped up (oh, I’m just so punny today aren’t I?) on brews from all over the country.  Here are some more pictures that support Ben Franklin’s statement about beer being proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy: 


beer = happy

I wish I were cool enough to remember what beer I was drinking so I could tell you how much I loved it, but… I don’t.


Me, Ev and Sasha


Isn't that beautiful?

All in all?  FANFREAKINGTASTIC day, and I am now making it my personal mission to tour any and all breweries within a day trip radius before the end of 2009 and at least two more Fests of sorts this summer.  

Firkin Fest – WIN.


Blue Door Pub – The Blucy

My apologies for the complete lack of pictures from the actual experience.  My camera batteries are dead and the ones I took on my iPhone did not work out so well. Bad blogger, I know.

The bar/restaurant: The Blue Door Pub, St. Paul

1811 Selby Ave
St. Paul, MN 55104

The first thing of note was that the place is WAY smaller than I’d expected. I guess I didn’t know what to expect, but I’d heard about Buck Hunter and such, so I had pictured a spacious area with lots of seating.

Not so! There were 6 seats at the small bar by the front window, and (hang on while I count ’em)… something like 8-10 tables, 4ish booths, and a bar/barstools by a front window for perching and side-by-side eating.

With no room for a podium for a host, let alone room for a host to really stand in one place, I asked a bartender if we needed to get on a list of any kind. He said, “find the cute redhead and give her your name.”  The cute redhead was easy to spot with such an apt description, so as I glanced around the place, I quickly found her. We put our names on the list and headed towards the bar to wait. Twenty minutes later, we were seated at our table.

Beers: between the two of us, we got a Surly Furious and the Liftbridge Biscotti. I’d recently skimmed a note on MNBeer about it, so when I saw it on the menu it piqued my interest. It’s awesome. MNBeer describes it here as:

“… an array of malts, oats, wheat, pure local honey, light European hops and delicately spicing with Grains of Paradise, Madagascar vanilla beans, whole star anise, all brought together with traditional Belgian yeast, the result is a cloudy, deep copper colored, complex experience.”

After we were seated, we immediately started off with an order of beer-battered green beans (delicious!).  That counts as a veggie serving, right?  Right.

Onto the burgers…

While I was more than tempted by such Juicy offerings as a Pizza Blucy or a Bacon Blucy, I decided to keep it real and opted for their signature burger – The Blucy:

The Blucy – 6.50
Our flagship burger! We stuff bleu cheese and finely chopped garlic into a half pound of Angus beef.

It was amazingly delicious. As, I mentioned on Metblogs, it was perfectly cooked (just a teeeeeny bit pink, right in the middle), flavorfully bleu-cheesy and garlicky and the bun was perfect. When you get to the gooey center you’ve got to REALLY love bleu cheese as that is some intense smelly cheese action, but all in all? Awesome, awesome, awesome.


  • Service: beyond friendly, and they were not a bit flustered by the packed house (though, as the bartender mentioned, that crowd was totally normal for dinnertime).
  • Food: The burgers were impressive.  For Jucy Lucy purists (Hi, Matt’s Bar), their signature is not your “classic” meat+cheese+fried onions offering, but they do make one appropriately titled “The Classic” for those of you that hate idea of anything other than the basics. For putting their own spin on the original, it’s a much better version than Bar Abilene attempted with their Southwest Lucy (not enough cheese, too many toppings).  I want to try all of them, and their other Blucy offerings include Luau, Pizza, Bacon, Breakfast and Cajun.
  • Price: It’s important to note that the burger itself doesn’t come with an included side of fries or other options, but at $6.50 for the burger, it’s tough to complain about a couple bucks to add on some potatoes, or in our case – the beer-battered green beans for $2.75. Fries and tots are $1.75. As for the beers, I found nothing on the tap list that was more than $4.

Overall – I will be back.