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Tap Talk: Tin Whiskers Faces Off Against Urban Growler In 1st Ever Brew-Off

I love "Top Chef."

As an avid watcher of Food Network, "Chopped" is a close second. But one of the most frustrating things about these shows is never getting to try the concoctions these chefs are able to whip up. I mean, who hasn't wanted to try one of the 20-minute desserts made from pineapple, marshmallow and quick grits?

Well, now you can!

OK, not really. But you can try beers made by two local brewers using new ingredients chosen by Twin Cities locals.

St. Paul brewery Tin Whiskers decided they wanted to take this food trend of wacky ingredients and apply it to craft beer.

If it sounds "Chopped" inspired, it's because it is.

"One of our customers brought up the idea based on the TV shows "Iron Chef" and "Chopped" and it just seemed like such a fun and cool idea," Tin Whiskers co-founder Jeff Moriarty said. "It gets craft beer drinkers involved and it forces us to try ingredients we may not have even bothered to use before and to do so in a fun way."

The "brew-off" challenges each brewer to incorporate three ingredients into their batch of beer made special for the competition.

Each brewer can then use the ingredients how they choose within the brew.

Then on the date of the brew-off the beers are unveiled and the public decides which brew is the winner through a tasting event.

Both breweries will feature their beer in their taproom for a period of time after the challenge.

"Community involvement and exploration of full flavored beer is at the heart of the craft beer movement," Moriarty said.

So, now that  you know what a brew-off is, here's what you need to know about the Inaugural Brew-Off.

The challengers: Tin Whiskers and Urban Growler

"We have a great relationship with Urban Growler and with us both being St. Paul breweries that started at about the same time it seemed like a perfect [fit]," Moriarty said.

The venue: The Happy Gnome

"Since this time we challenged a St. Paul brewery, we wanted to keep it all in St. Paul," Moriarty said. "When we approached them about it they were very excited about it."

The ingredients: mango, coconut and ginger

"We polled our Facebook followers for a list of potential ingredients," Moriarty said. "We then scrubbed that list of things like meat that would not work with beer and then us, and Urban Growler, narrowed it down to six ingredients from which our followers got to vote on with the top three getting selected."

The winner will receive the title of Brew-Off Champion.

Moriarty hopes the brew-offs will continue, possibly growing to be an event that takes place every three to six months.

He said moving forward, Tin Whiskers will take on challengers as interest arises. As both challengers were St. Paul-based this time, he said he'd be interested in reaching out to a Minneapolis taproom for the next one. He is also open to expanding the challenge to be between three or four brewers down the road.

The first ever brew-off takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at The Happy Gnome, located at 498 Selby Avenue in St. Paul's Cathedral Hill neighborhood.

For those that may want to indulge, there are plenty of public transit options available.

Metro Transit Bus 21 drops off at several locations along Selby Avenue, Bus Route 83 drops off along Lexington Parkway and the closest Green Line stop is located at Lexington Parkway and University Avenue.

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