Now Open (Or Damn Close): Bemidji Brewing

Now Open or Damn Close Rounds Up the Latest Players in the Region’s Brewing Scene

By Brian Kaufenberg

Bemidji Brewing Logo

Bemidji Brewing

A utility meter reader, an adjunct professor, a substitute teacher, and a therapist walk into a kitchen and start brewing beer. No, it’s not the beginning of an old joke. It’s the beginnings of Bemidji Brewing Company. 

Justin “Bud” Kaney, Tom Hill, Tina Hanke and Megan Betters have been busy building-out a brand new brewery space just blocks away from Lake Bemidji. Prior to this new space, the team was working out of Harmony Co-op’s community kitchen in downtown thanks to the funds raised from the group’s Kickstarter campaign.

Bemidji Brewing Team from Left to Right: Justin (Bud) Kaney, Tina Hanke, Tom Hill, and Megan Betters

Bemidji Brewing Team from Left to Right: Justin (Bud) Kaney, Tina Hanke, Tom Hill, and Megan Betters

Now they are brewing five different styles on a 3 bbl nano-brewing system for the patrons of their 50-person taproom as well as a handful of retailers in Bemidji, but their time in the Co-op helped shaped their understanding of creating a true connection with the community.

Tom and Bud know Bemidji well, having met there while at Bemidji State University. After college and many homebrew sessions together, Tom went to the Siebel Institute in Chicago to take his brewing to the next level, but before long Bud and Tom were back in the town of their alma mater to start their own brewery with Tina Hanke.

“It’s a beautiful place to live,” Hanke states succinctly. The town’s community, the landscape and lakes, and the college’s vibrancy are why the team settled on Bemidji for the brewery. They intend to become another part of what makes Bemidji a great place to live, and now imbibe.


The Brewer: Tom Hill
The Beers: Pale Ale, IPA, Robust Porter, Belgian Blonde, English Pub Alea
Visit: 401 Beltrami Ave NW, Bemidji, MN 56601
Hours: Fri: 4-9pm, Sat: 3-7pm
Online: www.bemidjibeer.com

About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the associate editor, writer, and photographer at The Growler Magazine. His column "Now Open (Or Damn Close) keeps you up to date on the newest breweries in Minnesota and his "Brewer Profile" series introduces readers to the men and women who make the beer.

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