Ilan Klages-Mundt, head brewer and co-founder of Insight Brewing, describes the new 30 bbl brewery located on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis as globally inspired. A look at their beer list, which features beer styles originating from Japan, Denmark, the UK, and the US, confirms this on a surface level—but there is more behind the beer than their historic origins that makes Insight truly globally inspired.
Klages-Mundt’s interest in beer began when, on a trip to Denmark in 2007, he had the opportunity to taste Westvleteren 12, a Trappist quadrupel consistently ranked among the top beers in the world. “Instantly, I wanted to know what is beer made from, who makes it, what’s the history, how’s it made today, who drinks it—absolutely everything,” said Klages-Mundt.
His insatiable thirst for knowledge about beer and brewing led him to apply for a Watson Fellowship, a grant for graduating seniors to pursue a year of independent study outside the US. Though he didn’t win the grant, he decided to pursue the plan he put together to work at breweries around the world on his own, tapping into his savings to fund his travels.
He spent time in England picking hops at a hopyard in West Kent and brewing at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery learning the intricacies behind English ales. Then moved to Kiuchi Brewery in Japan where he worked 20 hours a day brewing sake, beer, and distilled spirits. He brewed at two small breweries in Demark, Fanø and Søgaards Bryghus, then cycled around Belgium and France soaking up as much beer culture as possible.
When he returned, Klages-Mundt knew he wanted to start a brewery, so he joined forces with Brian Berge, and the two solidified the business plan. A fellow homebrewer and aspiring brewery owner who will be in charge of marketing and branding for Insight Brewing. The team grew to four when an acquaintance of Berge, Kevin Hilliard, came on board to head up sales and Eric Schmidt left his position at Ameriprise to manage the brewery’s supply chain and help with sales.
The team is close to opening the doors of their 20,000 sq ft brewery, which includes a 3,000 sq ft taproom where patrons will be able to “travel the world through beer without even leaving your neighborhood,” said Schmidt. “Hey, want a taste of Germany? We’ve got a rauchbier. Hey, want a taste of Japan? We’ve got a yuzu fruit pale ale.”
“That’s something we’re bringing back, authenticity,” said Klages-Mundt. “I’ve been there and I’ve brewed the beer with some of the best brewers in the world… We’re bringing back global experience.”
Brewer: Ilan Klages-Mundt
Beer: Chiswick Porter, Curiosity IPA, Lamb & Flag English Premium Bitter, Saison de Blanc, Yuzu Pale Ale, and rotating seasonals.
Visit: 2821 East Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN
Hours: Wed & Thu 4–11pm, Fri 3pm–12am, Sat 12pm–12am, Sun 12pm–11pm