By Drew Kerr
Jack Pine Brewing
- Photo Courtesy of Jack Pine Brewing Co.
Patrick Sundberg wanted to see a brewery in his Brainerd-area community of Baxter, MN, so he opened one.
“It’s hard living in a place with no brewery, so I decided to change that,” says Sundberg, whose Jack Pine Brewing was scheduled to open in January in a simple, yet practical, 2,400-square-foot industrial building.
Because craft beer is still catching hold in Baxter, Sundberg’s plan is to start small – really small. A veteran 13-year homebrewer, he uses a 40-gallon brew system that he expects will produce 200-300 barrels during his first year of operation.
Sundberg describes it as a “nano-brewery,” and says the set-up will allow him to test the market to be sure there’s an appetite for his three mainstays: a dry-hopped pale ale, a hazelnut-tinted brown ale, and a traditional American cream ale.
The beers are described as intentionally approachable, and designed to give people an easy entry into his more unique offerings, including a seasonal Harvest Ale built on hops grown nearby at The Farm on St. Mathias.
“Even five years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find Summit on tap in a lot of bars here,” Sundberg says. “The beer scene up in this area is just starting to get going now and, just the fact that there hasn’t been a brewery in this area for so long, you kind of have to ease into it a little bit.”
Sundberg says he is confident the community’s palate will evolve, though, and chose his name in part as a recognition of the rebirth he’s hoping to create.
After going through a roster of tree names, Sundberg settled on Jack Pine because of the tree’s ability to quickly regenerate after a forest fire – the same kind of post-Prohibition blossoming he hopes will soon come to Baxter.
“It’s kind of an underdog of a tree,” Sundberg says. “It’s scrappy and it’s rough looking, but it’s kind of fitting.”
The Brewer: Patrick Sundberg
The Beers: Fenceline Pale Ale, Duck Pond Nut Brown Ale, Dead Branch Cream Ale
Visit: Friday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., call ahead or check website for additional hours, 7942 College Road, Baxter, MN