They say ignorance is bliss. Before the craft beer renaissance in the US, beer drinkers happily stocked their refrigerators with light lagers because it was all they knew. But craft breweries popping up every day around the country are exposing beer drinkers to the differences between a flavorful craft beer and light macro-lagers. The revelation is shattering blissful ignorance giving rise to a new attitude—life’s too short to drink bad beer.
It’s the same simple axiom that fueled Brandon Schulz and Jeff Werning’s ambition to open Rochester’s second brewery, LTS Brewing. “The name [LTS] came up while I was on a ‘fishing and breweries’ trip to Michigan with a couple of my best friends,” recalled Schulz. “We stopped at about a dozen breweries and brewpubs on the trip. It came up several times that life is too short to put off your dreams, and it’s also too short to drink bad beer.”
For Schulz the dream of the brewery began in 2010 and since then he’s been absorbed with the idea, searching for a partner to take the leap with him. “I finally found a business partner, Jeff Werning, with compatible goals in mid-2013,” said Schulz, “and we have been working our tails off on the project ever since.”
The “project” was building out a 2,000 sq ft brewhouse and a 2,500 sq ft taproom and kitchen space inside an old repair shop northwest of downtown. Using an existing building was both a blessing and a curse for the founders as they worked to navigate the city’s building safety regulations. The building did have its upsides, including two 14-foot garage doors for shipping and a maintenance pit perfect for the brewhouse’s plumbing and steam pipes.
Now that the 7 bbl Minnetonka brewing system is in place, Schulz, who has homebrewed for the past ten years and completed Siebel’s Concise Course in Brewing Technology, will take on the duties of head brewer. Werning, Schulz’ co-worker at their computer storage day jobs, will handle overall company management including taproom operations.
“We see the taproom as a place for us to really build a community around the brewery,” said Schulz. “I want to feature new recipes and small batches, as well as regularly release special infused casks, and even do real cask conditioned ales on occasion.”
LTS plans to release a lineup of winter friendly beers ranging from IPA to brown ale, Scottish ale, and oatmeal stout for early distribution to local restaurants and bars before the taproom opens. Once they open the doors to the LTS taproom in March, the selection will broaden to new recipes experimenting with ingredients like maple syrup, wild rice, and fruits.
LTS hopes to satisfy the tastes of current craft beer drinkers looking for a local option and introduce those unfamiliar with craft beer to show them that, indeed, life’s too short to drink bad beer.
Brewer: Brandon Schulz
Beer: IPA, Brown Ale, Scottish Ale, Oatmeal Stout
Visit: 2001 32nd Ave NW, Rochester, MN
Hours: Mon–Thu 3–10pm, Fri–Sun11am–midnight