Two breweries recently took big steps forward in their quests to open in Northfield, Minnesota.
On May 26th, the Northfield Economic Development Authority approved a building renovation loan for Tanzenwald Brewing Company, which is planning to open this fall at 103 Water Street North in Northfield.
The people behind Tanzenwald are Head Brewer Steve Pittman and General Manager Jenaveve Bell Pittman. Steve has been brewing at Lagunitas for the past six years and received a Certified Master Brewer accreditation from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London. He’s also a graduate of the Brewing Science program at the University of California Davis. Jenaveve has 10+ years experience the restaurant industry, most recently opening M.Y. China, a 250-seat restaurant in Sonoma County for celebrity chef Martin Yan.
Upon opening, Tanzenwald will serve an eclectic list of beer styles from a 10-barrel brewhouse in their taproom, sell growlers, and distribute kegs locally. Steve’s recipes include hop-forward IPAs, clean pale ales and pilsners, and unique barrel-aged and sour beers. Their longterm goal is to eventually expand production and start distributing, while maintaining the taproom as a place for artisanal microbrews. In addition to beer, Tanzenwald will also make German-inspired food, including housemade sausages, soft pretzels, and sauerkraut.
The brewery’s main goal in Northfield is to connect locally through sourcing ingredients from Northfield-areas farmers and connecting to local businesses, organizations, and artists.“Tanzenwald means ‘Dancing Forest,’ and that’s what we want the taproom to feel like—a party in the woods,” Jenaveve said in a press release.
The brewery’s owners grew up in the same Wisconsin town and both attended college in Minnesota, but they didn’t actually meet until they were both living in California: Jenaveve working in the restaurant industry and Steve brewing at Lagunitas Brewing. Their love story soon grew into a business story when Jenaveve’s dream of owning a restaurant met Steve’s goal of starting a brewery.
After their wedding in August, Steve and Jenaveve began searching for a place to start their lives and their business together. The couple wanted to be closer to their families in Wisconsin and missed being surrounded by Midwesterners, so they researched major Midwestern cities all the way from Missoula to Detroit.
Jenaveve was sharing her frustrations with the process over a phone call with a good friend in Northfield. “She told me, ‘Come to Northfield! We don’t have a brewery yet, and it’s a great place to live.’ The location really fell into our lap.”
After just one visit to the Northfield, Steve was sold. “We could have opened our brewery anywhere,” says Jenaveve, “but we chose Northfield for its energy, thriving arts community, and intellect. And, it’s a place we want to start our lives. We have all the faith that the people of Northfield will support us, and we hope to support them through hosting events and supporting nonprofits and community groups.”
Imminent Brewing has their sights set on the garage portion of the Northfield Armory at 519 Division St. South. A group of local investors that includes the owners of Imminent plan to redevelop the Armory site into a multi-use facility that includes the brewery and taproom, a community kitchen, and event, office, and residential space, according to an article in the Northfield News. A purchase agreement for the site is currently in the works.
Imminent Brewing has been sampling beer at Northfield-area events recently, including at the Red Barn Farm’s pizza nights and the Northfield’s Historical Society’s Hops, Grapes and History event on April 15. There’s no clear timetable on their opening date since it’s contingent on the redevlopment of the Armory, which is still in its infancy.