When it comes to food and drink in Eden Prairie, just about every chain and franchise you’ve ever heard is represented. But nestled between Purgatory Creek and the gargantuan Eden Prairie Center mall complex lies something the booming southwest suburb hasn’t seen in a long time.
Fat Pants Brewing Co. is set to open its doors on November 25 at 11am and for the brewery’s three founding partners—Don and Linda Anderson and their daughter Elizabeth—it’s the culmination of a decade-long journey.
Don, a homebrewer, fell in love with craft beer in the early 2010s and began seriously mulling opening a brewery. Two years ago this summer, he and his family put pen to paper to write a business plan and started looking at spaces.
Don has been an Eden Prairie resident for four decades and after looking at 13 total spaces in just about every corner of the metro, including St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood and Northeast (which “was too cool for us,” Elizabeth says), Don, Linda and Elizabeth found the perfect spot in their own backyard.
It’s the epitome of a family business, with the founding partners bringing complementary skills to the table. Don is the head brewer. Linda is the principal designer behind the taproom ambiance. Elizabeth is in charge of day-to-day operations, and at age 24, has a degree in business from St. Thomas and has helped open several restaurants around town including La La Homemade Ice Cream in Uptown and Cantina Laredo in the Mall of America.
“It really fits who we are,” Elizabeth says. “We want people to just come in and be comfortable. We want to be accommodating and fat pants are, if nothing else, accommodating.”
The space seats about 250 between the taproom and the dining area. The taproom has recycled pallet wood handsomely lining the walls and bar top and features a fireplace, a small stage for entertainment, and a striking walk-in cooler with 10-barrel serving tanks servicing their most popular taps (whatever those end up being). There are a few TVs designated for special events and some games. There will even be a giant Scrabble board on one of the taproom walls.
Though Eden Prairie technically isn’t zoned for a food truck, Linda wanted one to be a part of the experience—so they installed an indoor food truck parked 50 feet inside the front door. Fat Pats will have a full apps-burger-and-pizzas menu but will rotate items to give it a food-truck feel.
“We’ll have some staples you can always get,” Don says of the menu. “But we’re going to have a variety as if there was a food truck pulling up every day.”
Beyond the food truck is the brewery itself, a 10-barrel system you can see through big windows from the dining area. Tucked next to the brewery is a small room that will serve as a small meeting/party space and double as their pilot brewhouse where they’ll brew test batches, experimental beers, and even open the doors for guests to get an up-close look at the Fat Pants process.
They’ll eventually have 24 taps flowing from the bar when they’re running at full steam. Their starting lineup will include three IPAs: a session, a Mosaic IPA, and a Centennial IPA that is Don’s homage to Bell’s Two-Hearted. He’ll also open with a Belgian dubbel and a brown ale. After that, part of the Andersons’ vision is to experiment with making beer- and malt-based beverages (Don is currently working on a hard lemonade) with the hope of bringing non-beer drinkers a little closer to the world of craft beer.
One way they’ll mark success, Elizabeth says, “is if someone comes in and tries some of these alternatives and fall in love with beer. Maybe it just doesn’t taste like what they traditionally thought of as beer.”
“We’re really trying to make a community gathering spot in Eden Prairie,” Don says.
“That’s what our house is like,” Linda adds. “That’s what we want to bring to our customers.” A place where you can slip into some fat pants, feel at home, and have a good time.
Brewer: Don Anderson
Beers: Citra IPA, Mosaic IPA, Centennial IPA, Belgian dubbel, cherry whit, milk stout, hard lemonade
Address: 8335 Crystal View Rd, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Hours: Mon–Fri 11am–10pm, Sat–Sun 11am–11pm
Opening: November 25, 2019 at 11am