Mankato Magazine

Page 38

ON TAP By James Figy

Erin Hutton and Tom Giesen of Giesenbrau Beir Co. have won several awards for their tradition German beers.


Don’t mess with the Fest

ypically when a plan seems foolproof, you haven’t factored yourself into the equation. That was the case in writing this article. I wanted to find the Minnesota brewery reinventing Oktoberfest. Who was adding mango puree to Märzen, serving schnitzel egg rolls or hiring a DJ to remix polka standards? The headline would be: “Not your Opa’s Oktoberfest.” I contacted the usual suspects in the Minnesota River Valley. I reached out to other contacts around the state. Finally I emailed Brian Kaufenberg, creative director at Beer Dabbler. No one fit the bill. “Since it’s such a tradition, most folks are sticking 36 • SEPTEMBER 2022 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

with tried-and-true recipes and approaches,” Kaufenberg replied. I was the fool. But the answer wasn’t completely satisfying. To understand, I needed to talk to a brewery that fully embraces the traditions. This led me to Erin Hutton and Tom Giesen of Giesenbräu Bier Co. “Of all the parties in the world, Oktoberfest has the biggest reputation as the best party,” Hutton said, sitting in his New P r a g u e b i e rg a r t e n o n e J u l y afternoon, pint glasses sweating on the table. “Anybody who’s been there has had a great time, and if it's the best party in the world, why would you want to stray from that?” During a Giesenbräu Oktoberfest, staff and patrons