Before photos by Brian Kaufenberg
After photos by Aaron Davidson
When we last visited Badger Hill’s new space in Shakopee, Minn., the trees lining the front of the building were just beginning to bud and the grass was shaking off its winter dormancy with a flush of green. The turn of the seasons stood as a perfect parallel for Badger Hill, which would experience their own rebirth in a brewery space they could call their own.
The massive 13,000 sq ft warehouse within shouting distance of Valleyfair was a blank canvas for the founders Brent, Brittany, and Broc Krekelberg to realize the vision of Badger Hill they had been constructing in their minds over the past three years. “The [new] brewery allows people to meet us. It allows us to exemplify our philosophy,” explained Broc Krekelberg. “We’re looking forward to showing people who we are.
[shareprints gallery_id=”23268″ gallery_type=”thumb_slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”xlarge” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]Eight months later we returned to Badger Hill to view the progress on their brand new 20 bbl brewhouse and taproom. Walking in the front door of the new taproom we were met by artist Teri Harriet working on a two-wall mural featuring the Badger Hill logo and an animated brewing process. Down the hall in the lounge area Brittany Krekelberg, donning a red winter sweater, was assembling chairs for the taproom. She greeted us warmly and walked us into main bar area for our first glimpse of the newly renovated room.
The sterile series of cubicles and blank office space Broc Krekelberg had taken us through in April is now a spacious taproom with low-top tables, worn wooden pews, vaulted ceilings, warm brown walls illumined by incandescent lights, and an immaculate wall of white subway tiles serving as the backsplash to the bar and bringing together the colors of Badger Hill’s branding.
Centered on the bar is a draft tower studded with Badger Hill’s wooden tap handles where they will pour their flagship beers, rotating seasonals, and at least three taproom-only drafts. Look to the far wall of the room through a patchwork of glass windows stretching from floor-to-ceiling and you overlook Badger Hill’s 20 bbl brewhouse and row of gleaming 60 bbl fermenters where brewers Michael and Todd Koppelman, and Broc Krekelberg are working.
Broc saw us through the glass and came inside the taproom to greet us and pour us a few pints from the draft tower before giving us on a back-the-scenes tour. It was soon was clear that if there is one focus of the new brewery, it’s consistency. The brewhouse is a carefully laid-out grid of fully automated tanks and pumps allowing Badger Hill’s head brewer Michael Koppelman to maintain the highest level of control over the brewing process. The new system also helps to maximize the team’s efficiency, freeing up time for the small team to accomplish everything necessary to take the company to the heights to which they aspire—namely, being not only Shakopee’s, but Minnesota’s next destination brewery.
As of Friday, December 12 Badger Hill has passed all their inspections, and the team will be putting the finishing touches on the taproom, clearing the last legal hurdles, and scheduling soft openings to work out the kinks in the taproom in the coming days. Soon, they will open the doors to the public and show everyone what Badger Hill is all about.
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