Winter Festival, January 27-February 6, 2011. “In 1885, a New York reporter described Saint Paul as ‘another Siberia, unfit for human habitation’ in winter,” wrote Clara James on About.com. “Saint Paulites were highly offended by the insult, so they decided to prove that Saint Paul was not just habitable, but actually fun in the winter.” Ever since, this weeklong fest has celebrated the best of Minnesota culture from Scandinavian cuisine to ice carving competitions to the Torchlight Parade.
Vikings Football. Though Brett Favre pops in and out of retirement like those rodents in the Whac-A-Mole game, freezing your ass off watching football in the Metrodome at the end of the LRT line seems like the second-most distinctly American thing you can do (behind doing the same thing at Lambeau Field). England advises that “If you go, find the Summit beer stand and grab a few.” If you prefer hockey, take in a Wild game at Excel Energy Center, which is two blocks away from the Great Waters brewpub (426 St. Peter St.) accessible from the small Saint Paul Skyway.
Mall of America. Touristy as all get-out, but it’s at the end of the LRT and always a perfect 70 degrees throughout the largest mall in the United States—not to mention that the Hooters actually taps some local craft brews.
Brian Yaeger is the author of Red, White and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey. He homebrews in San Francisco and if you have an intact bottle of Ring of Fire, beer mail him at byaeger on the communal sites or at email@example.com.