Monday, July 2, 2018

Locally-Made Boozy Musts for July 4th Celebrations

There's never been a better time to #drinklocal

Be honest, what's better than a strong cocktail on a rooftop on a gorgeous day? Nuthin'

We're in the throes of #libation season, a favorite time of year for me, and I couldn't resist sharing some of my favorite new finds ahead of the coming holiday. If you're off on Independence Day and planning a celebration (aren't we all?), there are some kickin' local breweries and distilleries you should source some of your drinks from. I've tried selections from each of these brands and can confidently say that there is something good for everyone here. Supporting local business is always a good idea - read about some other locally-made, family-friendly treats here.

The new Finnegans taproom has so many kickass new flavors!

Finnegans: Beer for a Worthy Cause
The delightful new Finnegans tap room has received oodles of local press, and for good reason. This delish local beer brand has been brewing up a storm since well before the current craft beer craze exploded. Donating 100% of profits to charities that provide food for the hungry, Finnegans is a perfect model of having your cake and eating it too (literally) - you get affordable, delicious beer that supports the local economy, and in turn your money helps provide meals for those who don't have enough to eat. What is there to lose?

Finnegans is truly mission driven in the best way possible

I *highly* recommend you check out Finnegans gorgeous new space in Downtown Minneapolis when you get a chance (and even consider becoming a member of their exclusive Brewer's Den; more details here), but if you don't have time to do so before the holiday, pick up a case or two of one of their beers (my favorites? the Irish Ale or the Cluster Truck IPA) to sample with friends at your July Fourth cookout. I can testify that the beer is awesome and it's the perfect conversation starter to help you feel good in more ways than one.

Can't stop thinking about these gorgeous liquors

Crooked Water Spirits: Perfect Cocktails

Adhering to specific liquor brands was never really my thing, but I might change my tune after sampling the wares from Crooked Water Spirits. First things first: this line of eight spirits is good - really good. In fact, it's the first ever whiskey I've liked to drink straight, and their pre-mixed Old Fashioned has become my go-to housewarming gift for friends who drink. Their gins are made with local herbs and mix beautifully into light, summery cocktails, and you can't go wrong with just about any combo you make with their products. I've been keeping a bottle of the gin in my freezer and it's a delicious, chilled nightcap for warm days.

Heather Manley = literal #girlboss

The fact that this is the first ever certified women-owned distillery in the U.S.? That's just icing on the proverbial rum-soaked cake. I've met the founder Heather Manley, and she's a straight up #girlboss who is going to totally transform the liquor industry one barrel at a time. This line is well priced for the quality and I highly recommend you check it out. You can buy Crooked Water Spirits online by clicking here, or physically find it in Minnesota (and in many other states!) on liquor store shelves at Target, Walmart, and other local purveyors. Oh, and don't forget to follow the Crooked Water Sprits Instagram account - it will give you serious #FOMO and some awesome cocktail ideas.

Ale Asylum has a huge line of beers for every palate

Ale Asylum: A Lighter, Diverse Range of Wisconsin Beers 

For a long time Ale Asylum's brand was exclusive to Wisconsonites, but no more. With their launch at Republic last fall, Ale Asylum cracked into the Twin Cities market and has charged faithfully forward ever since. I have sampled a few of these beauties and while they're not going to knock the door down a la other local brands like Dangerous Man or Surly, they are totally drinkable, really good fits for summer outings. They've got a robust listing of different varietals - so it's not all big, hoppy IPAs if that's not your thing - including a giant range of seasonal beers. Buyers take note: these are some high ABV beers and can quickly creep up on you, so if you're outside in the heat drinking them make sure you hydrate too. If you want to know how to find a case or two to keep on the boat (#YOLO), check out Ale Asylum's awesome beer finder (click here) to search by zip code and type.

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