As the great American Homer Simpson once said, “Mmm, beer. Mmm, doughnuts.”
It’s well-known that the Twin Cities is in the midst of a craft-beer renaissance. At the same time, hardworking doughnut makers are beginning to etch out their own space in local food culture. And we agree with Homer: There’s something deliciously deeper to the combination that must be explored.
The science of pairing beer and food has long informed the work of Eric Biermann, owner of Lucid Brewing in Minnetonka. To keep the taste buds of his brewers working overtime, Biermann established bacon-only days at the brewery, filled with Bacon Long Johns and BLTs.
“The whole idea is to keep things different,” Biermann said. “Sometimes you find something cool that someone else is doing and you try to figure out how to incorporate it into your own work. People are becoming more aware of their beer and their food — we want to make sure our beer fits into that experience.”
Doughnuts have a complex makeup of their own that is just now being widely explored. Anne Rucker, owner of Bogart’s Doughnut Co. in south Minneapolis, said the ceiling for experimentation is one of the things she gets most excited about.
“With doughnuts, there are so many different avenues to go down,” Rucker said. “You’ve got the old-school, mom-and-pop shop or the punk rockers. Each shop has its own influence, and it’s really exciting to tour and try.”
We decided to pay tribute to our booming beer and doughnut movements with these six pairings. Mmm, caloric harmony. Ø
Pain and Relief
The doughnut: Peanut Butter and Sriracha from Glam Doll Donuts (2605 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls. 612-345-7064).
The beer: Lucid Air from Lucid Brewing (6020 Culligan Way, Minnetonka, 612-615-8243).
Glam Doll’s Peanut Butter and Sriracha doughnut is the definition of densely layered flavor. It’s also the doughnut on this list that requires the most careful consideration of if and how it goes down your throat. Lucid Air is a light beer washed in a faint breeze of citrus. It’s the perfect partner to help you with this monster.
The Augustus Gloop
The doughnut: Nutella Doughnut from Bogart’s Doughnut Co. (910 W. 36th St., Mpls., 612-886-1670).
The beer: Chocolate Milk Stout from Dangerous Man Brewing Co. (1300 NE. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-236-4087).
Bogart’s isn’t big on slathering their ’nuts in overloaded chocolate, but its Nutella Doughnut is enough to satiate even the hungriest sweets monster. Pair it with the smooth milkiness of the Chocolate Milk Stout from Dangerous Man, and you’ll feel as if you were a fat little German boy who has drowned in a river of chocolate.
The doughnut: The Pinup Girl from Glam Doll Donuts (2605 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls. 612-345-7064).
The beer: Classic Cider from Sociable Cider Werks (1500 NE. Fillmore St., Mpls. 612-758-0105).
The Pinup Girl is an apple bourbon fritter that’s frosted and topped with bacon. She’s the kind of girl with a beret from the secondhand store who keeps you warm on cool fall rides. Classic Cider from Sociable crisply brings out the apple, leaving your mouth coated in sunshine-y refreshment.
The Indulgent Blackout
The doughnut: Puppy Dog Tails from Isles Bun & Coffee (1424 W. 28th St., Mpls., 612-870-4466).
The beer: Fulton Worthy Adversary (414 6th Av. N., Mpls., 612-333-3208).
The correct way to order Puppy Dog Tails, the cinnamon-twist staple of Isles Bun & Coffee, is by the dozen. Their easy size and gooey richness make them hard to put down — and hard to keep your friends and loved ones away. As long as you’re stepping up to your own box, try the aptly named Worthy Adversary, which packs 9.5-percent alcohol by volume, to vector off your sugar high. Suggested use: Buy the doughnuts, double down on the beer and then beat lurking friends away with the big empty bottle.
The doughnut: Maple Bacon Long John from YoYo Donuts & Coffee Bar (5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka, 952-960-1800).
The beer: Forest Fire from Big Wood Brewery (2222 4th St., White Bear Lake, 612-360-2986).
You can almost hear the crack of a mighty ax and hearty bellowing of lumberjacks from across the Canadian border when this combo comes into play. The Maple Bacon Long John from YoYo boasts a formidable flavor that can only be washed away by the liquid smoke of Forest Fire, a Smoked Imperial Rye from White Bear Lake’s Big Wood Brewery.
The doughnut: Plain Raised Doughnut from A Baker’s Wife (4200 28th Av. S., Mpls, 612-729-6898).
The beer: Grain Belt Premium.
The perfect combination for the no-nonsense, salt-of-the-earth, blue-collar hipster that you are. A Baker’s Wife’s Plain Raised is literally a bread-and-butter staple, free of extra garnishes that would take away from its rich and balanced dough. Wash it down with a six-pack of Premium because beer is beer, dammit, and if you close your eyes it tastes like blueberries.