This coming Sunday, July 14, a budget-friendly $25 gets you unlimited samples of beverages from your favorite local breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cideries at Lake Monster Brewing. Tempting as it may be to fill up on booze, you might want to save some room for solids, too. Food trucks also will be offering brand-new creations, while picture-perfect baked goods will be available from local purveyors, and more. It just might be the best $25 you spend this year.
Oh yeah, and everything—from the beer to the cookies and cocktails—is completely vegan.
We sat down with Aubry Walch, Erinn Mueller, and Laura vanZandt from event co-organizer The Herbivorous Butcher to get the details on the first annual Vegan Invasion Food Festival and Drink Sampler. (Reverie Mobile Kitchen is the event’s other co-organizer.)
Beside the not-so-subtle name, how is Vegan Invasion different from other Twin Cities vegan events, such as the beloved and increasingly popular Veg Fest?
“Veg Fest has lots of advocacy organizations,” explains vanZandt. “We decided to focus on food and drink, and retail. [Vegan Invasion] is a big party to celebrate veganism, and really focus on the food and drink vendors.”
The roster of drink vendors is impressive: over a dozen breweries, plus a handful of distilleries, cideries, and wineries. Bittercube will be mixing up cocktails in conjunction with Lawless Distilling, and Lake Monster Brewing will be sampling one of their vegan sours. On the non-alcoholic side, expect Bittercube mocktails, kombucha, and craft soda.
“We want to show people there are a lot of good vegan drinks, and this is a fun way to showcase them,” says Mueller. “It’s a fun introduction for people who aren’t super familiar with plant-based food.”
Speaking of the food, over a dozen vendors will be on hand, with everything from comfort food to cotton candy. Many of the featured food vendors are new to the local vegan scene—for example, These Wingsz? is a Chicago-based company that makes plant-based wings. Another newcomer is Keiko's Kitchen, a local pop-up that focuses on plant-based alkaline comfort foods.
In addition to new faces, some familiar vendors will be offering a new spin on their offerings. Prairie Vegan Pies and Vegan East will try their hand at savory food items in addition to their usual sweet treats. “It will be interesting to see what savory items normally dessert-oriented vendors come up with,” says Walch.
Mueller promises that the Herbivorous Butcher Food Truck and Reverie Mobile Kitchen “are going to come up with some crazy stuff.” No details yet, but we’re betting it will be delicious.
Vegan Invasion will be rounded out with retail vendors selling everything from vegan baking mixes to plant-based apparel and soap. DJ Jake Rudh will be on hand spinning records throughout the event.
General admission tickets to Vegan Invasion are $25 advance, $30 day-of and include a souvenir glass that get you unlimited 2-ounce samples from drink vendors. VIP tickets cost $45 and get you in an hour early. Are you the designated driver or under 21 years of age? Get a discounted ticket for just $20 that includes a souvenir glass and unlimited non-alcoholic drink samples.
Lake Monster Brewing Company
550 Vandalia St. #160, St. Paul
Sunday, July 14
Noon to 5 p.m. (noon to 1 p.m. VIP only)