Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, Minnesota, has been a destination for wine lovers in the state since 1999. The winery has grown a lot since opening, adding a new production building in 2015, cider in 2016, and, come summer 2019, craft beer under the brand 22 Northmen Brewing.
“Many of us at the winery are as passionate about beer as we are about wine, and it has been a dream of ours to add a brewery,” says Tyler Bredeson, vice president of operations. “That dream has always been supported by customer comments asking, ‘Where’s the beer?’”
Carlos Creek has already committed to provide funds for the main construction of the brewery and brewing equipment, but is seeking to raise $25,000 for taproom construction through a crowdfunding campaign. If all goes according to plan, they will break ground this September, start brewing in April 2019, and open by June 2019.
“22 Northmen” plays on a piece of Alexandria lore—the Kensington Runestone—and relates to the Norwegian heritage of Carlos Creek’s owners, Tami and Kim Bredeson. Legend has it that the Kensington Runestone was found in 1898 by a Swedish immigrant, enveloped in the roots of a tree the farmer was trying to clear from his land. Engravings on the stone read: “Eight Geats [Swedes] and 22 Northmen [Norwegians] on an exploration journey from Vinland to the west.”
Planned to be located just a few hundred feet from the winery, the 22 Northmen beer hall will by styled after a traditional Norwegian longhouse, and feature two levels and a double-decker fireplace. The Kickstarter crowdfunding page explains that the main level will have a Viking ship–inspired beer bar and open seating, while the upper level will be more lounge-like and available to rent for private groups and events. One of the Kickstarter “stretch goals” is to build a wood-fired pizza oven, and, eventually, grow hops and barley onsite.
“The goal of 22 Northmen is to provide an experience equal to what we’ve offered at Carlos Creek for years, but with beer instead of wine,” Tyler says. 22 Northmen will focus on beers styles from the lands the Vikings explored, including Germany, Belgium, the U.K., Ireland, Austria, and America.
“I’m most excited to release a ‘Ragnar’s Red,’” Tami Bredeson says. “But mostly, we are excited to offer a new product and experience that will help us engage in the community in a totally different way.”
Stay tuned for more information in The Growler’s “Now Open (Or Damn Close)” column.