By Drew Kerr
Red Wing Brewery
- Photo Courtesy of Red Wing Brewery
Sixty years after the last of Red Wing’s five breweries closed, Scott Kolby and William Norman are bringing brewing back to the historic Mississippi River community.
In early December, Kolby and Norman opened the Red Wing Brewery, a Main Street brewpub that aims to reinvigorate the city’s reputation as a hub for locally-made beer.
“It’s new for Red Wing, but it’s really not new for Red Wing,” Kolby says. “Brewing has a very strong tradition in this city, so we’re just hoping to bridge that gap and add to that in whatever way we can.”
Kolby and Norman’s recognition of Red Wing’s brewing roots shows not just in their collection of memorabilia from the city’s historic breweries, either.
With help from the local historical society, the brewers researched recipes from Red Wing’s former breweries and found a way to replicate them. The result is a trio of historical beers, including Remmler’s Royal Brew, which was produced by Remmler Brewery beginning in 1861.
“Because of the love for history that the people of Red Wing have, the historical beer has piqued a lot of people’s curiosity,” Kolby says. “It’s also a living tribute to Red Wing’s brewing history.”
While rooted in the past, Kolby and Norman are building some of their own tradition, too. The longtime homebrewers have put a porter, a brown, and red and India pale ales into their tap rotation, and could eventually triple the lineup.
The combination of new and old has won such a quick audience that Kolby and Norman are already looking to double their six-barrel-a-week operation by this summer.
However popular the beer becomes, though, Kolby and Norman intend to stay true to the brewery’s Red Wing roots. As a brewpub, the beer will only be served on tap or through growlers from the Red Wing location.
For Kolby, the distribution model fits the brewery’s hyper-local focus.
“A Red Wing beer sitting in another city means less than it does sitting here in its home city,” he says. “We wanted to give people another reason to visit, and for residents another brewery to be proud of.”
The Brewers: Scott Kolby, William Norman
The Beers: Barn Bluff Brown, Red Wing Premium, Remmler’s Royal Brew
Visit: 1411 Old West Main St., Red Wing, MN Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11