“I’ve done banquets, events, catering, private country clubs, golf courses, free standing restaurants, and upscale walk-in, award-winning wine cellars,” says Roy Dodds, the majority owner of Urban Moose Brewing Company in Sauk Rapids. “All kinds of food and beverage things,” he says, except a brewpub. But that changes as of today, July 25, when Urban Moose opens its doors.
In April, Dodds’ Flying Pig Pizza went “on vacation” but will reappear on the menu at Urban Moose.
“Urban Moose Brewing Company will be the home of Flying Pig Pizza and other foods,” Dodds explains, alongside a 15-barrel brewpub with 12 house beers on tap. Five will be mainstays, he says, with seven others in rotation.
Dodds trained as a chef before moving to management positions in the restaurant industry. It’s that background that led him to brewpubs. “I fell in love with the brewpub concept about eight years ago,” he says, when a previous employer attempted to purchase an out-of-state brewpub. While that deal never materialized, the model stuck with Dodds as his career took him down the pizza path. As Flying Pig grew, Dodds wanted to expand seating and bar options, which led him to combine the two concepts, giving him the brewpub of his dreams.
In a brewpub, Dodds says, it’s about the beer and the experience. Urban Moose will offer something for everyone. “Urban and moose, there’s a contrast there. That’s our approach to the whole business,” he explains. In the taproom, people expect stainless steel tanks, community tables, and food trucks. “We want to be different and we want people to understand that when they come here it’s going to be different,” he explains.
The brewpub is divided into three areas. There is a fast-casual restaurant with a traditional bar where customers can dine on classic or new school pizza flavors, ordered at the counter, plus a varied menu including Moroccan shrimp, seared scallops, and basil pesto salads. There’s also a rooftop patio and a separate space adjacent to the brewhouse—which Dodds calls “The Taproom Experience.”
“The barn wood door opens up and now you’re in a room that feels like you’re in your neighbor’s garage—only he’s got the coolest garage in town,” says Dobbs. This room is a more traditional taproom feel, with an open brewhouse and large screen TVs for game days. It will double as an events space.
“What we’re doing is creating a customer-driven experience where people can do what they want, when they want, how they want,” he says of the multiple concepts. The beer and wood fire pizza unite the different rooms.
Head brewer Kevin Clark comes to Urban Moose from Peter B’s Brewpub in Monterey, CA. “When he told me about his brewpub there, it was like reading my business plan,” Dodds says of their meeting. “He’s a real fan of Belgian beer,” Dodds continues, but the beer lineup will reach across the spectrum. Beers will include an IPA brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops that is floral and subtle, Dodds says, while the American wheat beer is made using orange and grapefruit peels. Other recipes include a California common and Belgian strong. He hopes to have six beers ready for opening and to have all 12 taps filled by mid-August.
— Urban Moose Brew (@UrbanMooseBrew) July 25, 2016
By featuring Flying Pig Pizza at Urban Moose, Dodds sees synergy in the delivery game as well, promising home delivery of growlers in addition to pizzas. With time, he envisions the brands merging and the Flying Pig name being absorbed. For now, he’s using his existing company to help launch the brewery. “I’ve built so much equity and brand loyalty with my pizza,” he says. “We’re going to utilize that.”
Brewer: Kevin Clark
Beer: Blonde, IPA, stout, imperial IPA, Belgian saison, American0style wheat, hefeweizen and Belgian gold
Address: 415 N Benton Dr. Sauk Rapids, MN (click for map)
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 11am-10pm; Thursday-Saturday 11am-11pm