Month: April 2015

Fortnight Brewery Brothers – Surly Brewery

Because #localbreweries, am I right?

A guy invited all of his brothers, a brother-in-law and some random blogger to join him at breweries every other week in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but don’t worry, it’s just the set up for many psuedo-funny stories to come.

The first brewery we visited was probably the third most famous brewery to ferment out of Minnesota, assuming Grain Belt and Summit are more famous than Surly.

The Surly brewery has recently opened in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.IMG_1824

It has no fewer than 4 bars from which to order your beverages and I saw at least one other still under construction. The grounds are new, fresh. One can smell sawdust that still lingers in the air which speaks to the inner lumbersexual in all the hipsters that converged last Saturday evening. Myself included.

Outside there are stone/glass firepits fueled by gas. It took two brewers and three lighters to get the fire going. Then my friends and I proceeded to kick at the glass to see if we could kill the flame. We were successful. IMG_1825


The brewery offers food for hungry drinkers. I did not participate in much of menu. It is meat, meat, meat or fries. I had the fries and they were delicious. Mike also had my fries. He said they were delicious dipped in meat juice. IMG_1830IMG_1827

And, of course, the beer. Surly has a wide variety of brews ranging from hops to darks. Much of what I had tested from them in the past has been *hesitant* good? Beers I could drink a pint of, then need something else. Not an all-night beer.

And then I was introduced to the Cacao Bender. Imagine-me-this: a chocolate bar of 70% cacao soaking in a delicious stout. This beer gave me hope in the Surly enterprise. I knew there were probably really good beers coming out of the brewhouse, but I hadn’t encountered them until this night. If recommendations come on a scale of one to ten, I give it a yes. Try it.

Then go home and watch a beer bottle smoke a cigar. IMG_1834

Don’t be Careful

I listened to a webinar given by author Donald Miller last night. It was a talk for first time writers. He gave a lot of tips that I found very useful. Things like believe in your work, develop a work ethic, treat your writing as a business/job.

Donald Miller

One major tip I walked away with was, “Don’t be careful.”

Writing a book, writing a blog, writing an email, whatever it is that I’m working on, I find myself being very careful. In an email, it’s probably ok for me to be careful, but in creative writing I shouldn’t be. Neither should you.

Being careful means (in extreme cases) dishonest writing.  It means the writer isn’t conveying his or her conviction – the drive that makes him/her write. If a writer is too busy keeping everyone happy, s/he is going to forget to write his/her message. The writing will flop and the writer will slip into oblivion. No one will have time to read his/her nothing work.

It reminds me of an Anne Lamott quote I read recently:


“You own everything that happened to you. Tell our stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”

This ties into the original statement of “don’t being careful.” I don’t need to carefully please the people who don’t deserve to be pleased. I’m really good at trying to please people. It doesn’t work well in life and it doesn’t work at all in writing. Mr. Miller even said in his talk that people pleasers make terrible writers.

A writer needs to balance empathy and the guts to offend the status quo. Empathy to give voice to the hurting people of the world, and guts to upset the oppressors. Too much empathy and the writer becomes soft to mean people. Too much offence and the writer becomes calloused to the hurting people.

Writers need to stir up some controversy if they are going to have any sort of impact on their society.

What are your thoughts? Do you disagree? If so, sorry.


Image Credit: Laura Dart

Image Credit: Karen Salmansohn