Fall Fest: Oysters, beer and food to celebrate Birch’s on the Lake first anniversary

By Sean Miner
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To celebrate its first year in business, Birch’s on the Lake in Long Lake is holding its inaugural Fall Fest on Sunday, Sept. 25. Billed as a day of oysters, brews and music, co-owners Burton Joseph and Brennan Greene expressed excitement about the upcoming event.

“The main reason we’re doing it is our one-year anniversary, which is pretty exciting for us,” said Greene. “We wanted to do something that was fall-lie, harvest-festival-like, but we wanted to put our twist on it too.”

A large tent will be erected in the Birch’s parking lot, under which the festivities will take place from 2 to 8 p.m. Greene, Birch’s brewmaster, will be brewing a commemorative pumpkin ale, similar to one he brewed last fall.

“The problem [last year] was it came out in November — but right now, everybody wants pumpkin,” said Greene. “I took out a little bit of the clove and adjusted the spices on it, and it’s really tasting great right now.”

The hope, said Joseph, was for the event to happen each year.

“It’s something that we want to do annually,” said Joseph. “We’re hoping to have upwards of 500 to 700 people come through on the 25th, that would be our goal.”

The oysters came from Greene’s experience brewing with Schlafly in St. Louis. The brewery would have an oyster festival each year, which included a “shuck-off”, wherein chefs competed to find who could shuck a large number of oysters the fastest.

“My favorite part, which we’re going to do, is the oyster shuck-off,” said Greene. “It’s just kind of a fun thing everybody can rally around. That’s what I’m most excited about.”

Joseph noted that the exact format for the competition had yet to be determined, but said that he was in talks with a number of metro-area chefs about taking part. Who’s on that list, however, he kept hushed about.

“It looks like we’re going to have between six and eight chefs throughout the city come in and do a couple heats,” Joseph said. “We’ll only release [the list] the week before.”

On the food front, a number of offerings will be available.

“We’re featuring Kramarczuk’s sausage — they’re in Northeast Minneapolis, we use them on our menu,” said Joseph. “It’ll be a nice beer-brat combo.”

Roasted corn on the cob, “massive” pretzels, and s’mores will also make the menu, in addition to oysters, of course. Live music will be provided by Stray Voltage and George Scot McKelvey, as well.

Other activities, like pumpkin painting, will also take place.

“It’s closer to Halloween, so we’ll have pumpkins, we’ll do stuff for the kids,” said Joseph. “So it’s for all ages.”

Tickets are available at the door, or for a discounted presale price. Presale tickets are also entered into a drawing for two tickets to the Ryder Cup on Oct. 1.

Parking and shuttle service will be available at Wayzata Country Club. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://goog.gl/WCaE4m.