If you’ve ever swung by the Summit Ratskeller Beer Hall on a Saturday afternoon you may have seen an interesting looking game taking place.
For years, Summit has been home to the St. Paul Kubb Society. The league hangs out on the back lawn playing practice games.
But, what is Kubb and how did it come to be connected with Summit? Read on below!
Kubb is said to be a Swedish game that dates back to the Viking era. So, one may ascertain that’s how it made its way to Minnesota. The game is quite popular in our neighboring state of Wisconsin. Eau Claire, Wisc. even boasts the title of Kubb Capitol of the U.S. In fact, they are responsible for the formation of what is now the St. Paul Kubb Society.
“The St. Paul Kubb Society got started when our friend from Eau Claire ripped the bocce balls from our hands and made us play, or at least try, a couple games when he would visit,” St. Paul Kubb Society founder Tim Motzko said. “After that, we were hooked.”
Like most yard games, the object is to throw one item at another. With Kubb, players throw a wooden baton with the objective to knock down wooden blocks that are set up strategically around a lawn. It can be played individually or as teams and at various difficulty levels.
After trying it with the Eau Clarie friend, Motzko and a group went to the U.S. National Kubb Championship in the Wisconsin city and decided they had to form leagues here. In 2015, the St. Paul Kubb Society was born.
Shortly thereafter, the St. Paul Kubb Society began practicing and playing on the back lawn at Summit (a location they have been since).
Motzko said they chose Summit because the brewery was a favorite of several of the original club members. One even happened to be a casual friend of President and Founder Mark Stutrud.
“We saw the backyard, put in a call to Mark and he said, ‘Go throw dem bones!'” Motzko said. “And we have!”
Motzko also shared that the St. Paul group is rather European in their approach to the game.
“Eau Claire is the Kubb Capitol of the U.S. but Saint Paul is the Cool Kubb Capitol,” Motzko said. “We are a very loud club compared to most other states, and very Euro in that regard.”
This is similar to Summit’s European approach to brewing. As fans of ours know, we aim to emulate true beer culture through brewing authentic, traditional European styles.
After years of practicing and playing in Summit’s backyard, the destination has become well known throughout the Kubb world.
Motzko explained that every year before Nationals the St. Paul Kubb Society invites friends to come play at the field with “the big grey wall,” as it’s known in the Kubb world (to us, it’s our cellar).
“It truly is the perfect place to play,” he said.
The St. Paul Kubb Society’s spring league is now in session. The club plays at Summit Brewing Co. from 3 – 5 p.m. Saturdays.
While the society does ask that teams sign-up to play on Saturdays beforehand, there is opportunity to learn about the game or casually play after the league. Teams also do not have to be formal, they can come with little to know training!
Folks can also learn more from the St. Paul Kubb Society Facebook page! According to Motzko that is the best place to find out about pick-up games, league tournaments and just enjoy general banter.
“Kubb is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with an amazing community of people,” St. Paul Kubb Society member Tony Kutzke said. “It provides friendly competition through a game that challenges you both mentally and physically.”
Additionally, when playing at Summit you can also always have a beer in your hand.
“When I think of Summit beer I think of relaxing and fun times with friends. The St. Paul Kubb Society experience is elevated to the next level when enjoyed with a cold Summit,” Kutzke said.