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Cheers to winter: Polar Fest kicks off slowly but surely with beer tasting, Royal Court light up tonight

Jason Brands (left), Doug Brands (center), and Travis Vansanten (right) are in town for an ice fishing trip and stumbled out of the cold and into Lakeside for a bite to eat. Lucky for them, they got to enjoy a little free winter shandy as well. Kaysey Price / Tribune

Lakeside Tavern debuted their Polar Fest brew today at their Winter Shandy Beer Tasting, part of the festivities kick-off.

Nick Murray, the brewmaster at Lakeside says this year he chose to make a chocolate cherry stout, a special request from his wife.

"It's a pretty solid winter beer. Darker beers go better in winter, and I'd say we've had a pretty solid winter," he said.

In fact, the winter has been so solid, that it actually put a damper on the kick off to Polar Fest. Due to treacherous roads, not many people were out and about Thursday afternoon.

Three guys visiting town for an ice fishing trip did happen to stumble into Lakeside during the beer tasting, just looking to get out of the cold for a while and have a few drinks and a bite to eat. They enjoyed a sample of the shandy.

The tavern will offer the shandy throughout polar fest, though Murray says depending on how popular it is, he's brewed enough to last into March or April, so no one needs to worry about missing out.