By Brian Kaufenberg
Bartley Blume, owner of Bent Brewstillery, lives in a world of alliteration. His father Bob, mom Betz, brother Brad and wife Brenda are living proof (even his dogs have names starting with “B”). The thing Bartley Blume loves more than the letter “B” is brewing and distilling.
A homebrewer turned professional, Bartley began brewing when his wife bought him a Mr. Beer kit five years ago for Christmas. “And she’s regretted it ever since,” he jokes. “It’s totally taken over my life.”
Starting the only brewery-distillery in Minnesota is the latest in a long line of adventures for Bartley Blume. After attending Auburn University, Blume began working for NASA in their non-destructive testing department, where he tested the durability of equipment and materials, sometimes with explosives. After NASA, Blume was hired on at an aerospace engineering firm and spent 18 months in Australia working on wind tunnels. Next, Blume worked for a marketing sales group traveling throughout Southeast Asia before “shedding the shackles of corporate bondage” and settling in Minnesota to brew “brutal barley beverages.”
Bent Brewstillery is currently working in partnership with Pour Decisions Brewing in Roseville to contract brew Bent Brewstillery’s flagship beers—Nordic Blonde, a self-described amber blonde ale, and Dark Fatha, an American Emperial Stout. The beer will be available later this summer. Blume hopes to have his own brewery/distillery with taproom, but for now is content renting space from Pour Decisions.
Being the only brewery-distillery presents challenges new breweries no longer have to worry abut and Blume has joined other Minnesota distilleries pushing for legislation similar to Wisconsin’s that would allow distillers to sell their product from directly at their distillery or taproom. For now, Blume plans to sell his unaged pure malt whiskey, Unpure, an aged bourbon and craft gin, through a distributor.
The Brewer: Bartley Blume
The Beers: Nordic Blonde Ale, Dark Fatha Emperial Stout