Amid the rise and popularity of distinctive craft beers, Lanesboro is riding the wave in effort to both promote those smaller-scale breweries, as well as its own drinking establishments. April 1 will see a flurry of activity in the city as it hosts its first pub crawl.
“This event began as an experience that will continue to promote craft beer into corners of Minnesota where it hasn’t quite had the same effect as it has had in places like the Twin Cities, where it is ubiquitous,” says Ben Marlof, organizer for the event. “We want those who are crawling to see it as an education in the huge variety of tastes that craft beer can offer.”
“The event will see multiple Lanesboro drinking establishments offering up specials or themes as part of a larger, singular event. Participants in the crawl travel from bar to bar, having fewer drinks per location, but visiting more locations than in a normal night out,” explains Marlof. High Court Pub, Lanesboro Legion Post 40, and the Root River Saloon are co-hosting the evening’s activities and highlighting 10 select brews from Surly Brewing Company, of Minneapolis.
Paul and Lou Hamann, the owners of the High Court Pub, are credited with bringing the idea to light. Gayle Robert of the Lanesboro Legion and Tony Semmen of the Root River Saloon came on board and the event was underway. “Working with Schott Distributing and directly with Surly to get a full range of beer flavors, we’ve put together an event that will be a phenomenal experience for both craft beer experts and learners alike,” adds Marlof, who has been behind the scenes promoting and marketing, scheduling, and working to streamline the event. They admit there have been learning moments in planning the event, but that good communication from the multiple establishments has been key.
Slated for Saturday, April 1, the event begins at 1 p.m. and tasting lasts until 6 p.m. Some local eateries are also offering food discounts as part of the event and participants can snap up a delicious meal at a number of eateries before the evening’s events continue.
A prize drawing will be held at 7 p.m. at the High Court Pub before live music by American Standard begins at 8 p.m. Organizers are planning for at least 100 participants, but that number could easily be exceeded. “We’ll take more,” jokes Marlof. “The more, the merrier!” Some local inns and B&B’s are also offering discounts when guests mention, “Squirrelly with Surly.” “We would love to see folks stay the night as part of the event.”
While the event is free to participate in, the brews are not. “Just show up, get a punch card, and have fun,” says Marlof. “Surly Brewing has done a remarkable job bringing consistently excellent, diverse flavors to the beer scene for more than a decade,” he adds in describing why the brewery was chosen. “We’re proud to have such a great brewery here in Minnesota and we believe that they offer the most well rounded picture of what craft brewing is.”
High Court Pub will be featuring five brews on tap: Hell, Bender, Coffee Bender, Pentagram, and Ten. Root River Saloon will be featuring four taps: Furious, Hell, Xtra Citra Pale Ale, Cynic Ale. American Legion Post 40 will be highlighting three on tap: Furious, Todd The Axe Man, and Overrated.
Participants trying all 10 taps will win a Surly goodie bag and be entered into a prize drawing, at 7 p.m. for some local and beer-themed prizes. “Anything from a night’s stay at a local loft to bar tabs to brewery tours,” enthuses Marlof. Some of the prizes include: a one night stay at the High Court Loft, a Surly Brewery tour and $100 gift card, a Saami Bracelet, courtesy of Crown Trout Jewelers, a $25 Gift Certificate to Mrs. B’s Inn, two tickets to Ole Olsson’s Oldtime Orkestra and Ravlek at the St. Mane Theater, and a $25 Gift Certificate to Granny’s Liquor.
Organizers hope the event will be an annual one. “We’d love to continue to work with great Midwestern breweries to bring southeastern Minnesota the best of the craft brewing scene,” adds Marlof. “There is a real buzz surrounding the crawl, I think that folks are ready for an event that will really be a new experience in our neck of the woods.”
The event is sponsored by Surly Brewing Company, High Court Pub, Root River Saloon, American Legion Post 40, Crown Trout Jewelers, St. Mane Theater, and Granny’s Liquor. More information on the event can be found online at highcourtpub.com or on Facebook under “Squirrelly with Surly.”