Now Open or Damn Close looks at an up-and-coming outfit from the Red River Valley.
By Brian Kaufenberg
In Issue 9 of The Growler we featured Fargo Brewing Company, the first craft brewery in North Dakota since 1965. Well, the Fargo-Moorhead area has another brewery that many may not know about. Across the river in neighboring Moorhead, Minnesota, Dan and Aaron Juhnke of Junkyard Brewing have been serving up kegs of their craft beer since June 2013 and growlers since September out of their nanobrewery.
The brothers, who also work as part-time contractors, received their brewer’s notice and license in early 2013, allowing them to begin brewing craft beer for the Fargo-Moorhead area. The 1.5 bbl brewhouse is located in a formerly empty space owned by Ron Stroh, the owner of Moorhead’s homebrew store, Country Cannery.
The partnership between Stroh and the Juhnkes goes beyond leasing the space for the brewery. It’s not uncommon to find Stroh in the brewery filling growlers or replacing brewing equipment. Likewise, you may see the Juhnkes minding the homebrew shop when Stroh is working a project off-site for his cabinetry business.
Both Aaron and Dan attended North Dakota State University where Aaron majored in History and Dan in Zoology. Aaron began homebrewing and started developing business plans for a microbrewery after college. Dan went on to intern at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and joined Aaron in creating a business plan and honing recipes for the nanobrewery.
The name Junkyard is a play on Dan and Aaron’s last name, but it also describes their industriousness in getting the brewery together piece by piece with no outside investors. Their goal was to open the eyes of locals to craft beer.
“There’s a lot of room for more beer awareness in Fargo-Moorhead,” says Dan. “[The craft beer scene] is definitely behind what it could be.”
Junkyard Brewing has held release parties at local bars for each of their beers to help introduce them to the local crowds. So far the response has been nothing but good. The brothers plan to work on the brewery taproom and expand the brewery system over the next year.
The Brewers: Aaron and Dan Juhnke
The Beer: Scrounger Ale, Hatchet Jack, Coachgun IPA
Visit: 1320 1st Ave. North, Moorhead, Minnesota 56560
Hours: Wednesday & Friday 4-7pm