Of Dogs and Brewers: Jeremy Hale and Blake Verdon of LTD Brewing

Watching as a customer with a dog sits down in the corner of the patio at LTD Brewing in Hopkins, Minnesota, Blake Verdon steps out of his conversation and brings a bowl of fresh water for the dog, then takes the man’s order. He isn’t just being nice, although he does ooze Midwestern friendliness (he’s … [ Read more]

Earth Rider Brewery’s Rule of Three: Allyson Rolph, Tim Wilson, and Frank Kaszuba

Earth Rider’s spacious brewery is filled with the typical elements: a mountain of grain bags stand atop pallets, next to a handful of beer-filled barrels stacked two-high. Looming over everything, the brewing system hums loudly, as one would expect out of an operation that can produce around 3,000 barrels annually. But the bustling brewery and … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Dane Breimhorst of Burning Brothers Brewing

From the corner of Thomas Avenue and Wheeler Street, St. Paul’s Burning Brothers Brewing doesn’t look like a mecca for gluten-free beer drinkers across the region, but the “Gluten-Free Facility” sign hanging from the door tells me I’ve come to the right place. Inside, I find co-owner and brewer Dane Breimhorst and his team casually … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Bobby Blasey of Able Seedhouse + Brewery

For Bobby Blasey, Able Seedhouse + Brewery’s head brewer, it all comes back to the bagpipes. Just a few moments into our conversation, he brings up the bagpipe band he plays in. It’s as though his relationship to the instrument is the lens through which he views the world. “There really wasn’t a definitive moment … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Eric Harper of Utepils Brewing

Utepils wants to be approachable. Despite its size and grandeur—and the facility is quite large and shiny—the brewery aims to produce Old World–style beer simply and without fanfare, and to be a place where everyone can find something they like and not be intimidated. Eric Harper, Utepils Brewing’s head brewer, could not be more well-suited … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Derek Allmendinger of Unmapped Brewing

It’s clear right away that Derek Allmendinger, head brewer at Unmapped Brewing, is a thinker. He deeply considers every question, and when he answers “I don’t know,” it is not a cue to move on to the next question, but an opportunity to further contemplate the answer. This is the gift that Derek not only … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Mat Waddell of Wild Mind Artisan Ales

Walking around the large barrel cellar at Wild Mind Artisan Ales with brewer Mat Waddell, it’s clear to see he’s having a hell of a lot of fun. The room is filled with equipment for experimentation: hundreds of oak barrels, six large foeders, a custom-built coolship, and a blending tank. Mat pinballs around the room, … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Jeff Vondenkamp of Portage Brewing Company

As I sit down to interview Jeff Vondenkamp over beers in Portage Brewing Company’s taproom in Walker, he deflects my first question. Before I get started, he wants to know about my background and what led me to write for The Growler. Curiosity seems to be a big motivator for Jeff. While a first impression … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Ryan Mihm of FINNEGANS Brew Co.

With a flecked beard, an easy-going smile, and a plaid shirt that’s more of a uniform than accessory, Ryan Mihm looks like he’d be just as comfortable cutting logs as slinging kegs. He’s been brewing professionally for almost a decade at Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company, New Belgium in Colorado, and most recently, Insight. Now he’s … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Trevor Wirtanen of Oliphant Brewing

It’s Tuesday morning in the parking lot of the Liquor Depot off the main drag in Somerset, Wisconsin. As instructed, I peer around the corner looking for a brewery. Sure enough, tucked behind the liquor store, is a wall adorned with a vibrant mural and picnic tables set up under a tent. Inside, the walls … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Dan and Aaron Juhnke, Junkyard Brewing

Spreadsheets and printouts line the walls of a small office above the bar at Junkyard Brewing Company in Moorhead, Minnesota. Each page is a piece of the larger business plan that’s crucial to keeping seven large stainless tanks of beer silently fermenting just feet away. Over nitro tap coffee, Junkyard’s cofounder Aaron Juhnke prefaces my questions … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Dave Berg, August Schell Brewing Company

A peacock has marked me with a deadeye stare, its regal tail splayed on the stone walkway outside the gift shop of the August Schell Brewing Company. I’ve just parked on Schell’s Road, and a cyclist zips past on a Surly Cross-Check, nods, and hops off. I snap some pictures of the bird, taking in … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Caleb Levar of Fair State Brewing Cooperative and Oakhold Farmhouse Brewery

I turn on my recorder and loft up what I think is a softball question: “What led you to go the brewmaster route?” Caleb Levar and his business partner Levi Loesch exchange a look. In pure Minnesota Nice fashion, they both immediately look away and smile but clearly something is amiss. I’ve said something wrong … [ Read more]

Minnesota Homebrewer Spotlight, Part 2: Steve Fletty

When Homebrew Con 2017 rolls into Minneapolis next week, beer will not be the only home-fermented beverage taking the spotlight. For years now, Minnesota has been well-known (and highly awarded) for its amazing meads and amateur meadmakers. Often referred to as “honey wine,” mead is a strong, fermented beverage—usually between 10–17% ABV—made from a solution … [ Read more]

Brewer Profile: Michael Koppelman of Badger Hill Brewing Company

It is midday on a Friday, one of the first 70-degree days in May, and Badger Hill Brewing Company’s taproom is hushed, save for a few lone wolves flipping through newspapers at the bar. I’m here to meet with Michael Koppelman, part owner and head brewer of Badger Hill. Though we’ve never met before, he … [ Read more]