When two or more of the right metallic elements are combined into one, the alloy can be greater in strength or more resistant to corrosion. Coon Rapids’ new brewery, Alloy Brewing, is built on the premise of collaboration that creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts—from brewing, to the taproom, to the team itself.
Rob Falink, Steve Tschida, Jason Horton, and Nick Lehman—Alloy’s four brewers—came together through a complicated web of personal connections. One is an uncle to another, who is a co-worker to a third, and a friend to the fourth.
The crew of second- and third-degree acquaintances bonded thanks to their mutual love of craft beer and it wasn’t long before they were brewing together weekly, often with their wives Pattie Tschida, Chrissy Horton, and Katie Lehmann joining the gathering. Together they’ve spent several years brewing, developing recipes, and pushing one another at these weekly brew nights. Of their last 200 homebrews, they say, only two were dumped, and over that time they’ve collected numerous homebrewing awards (16 of them, to be exact).
What transformed Alloy from a Wednesday night hobby into a full-blown business, which opened its doors on June 24, was the recognition that together the seven men and women had the ideal balance of pertinent business and beer experience. Between them, Alloy is equipped with an engineer, scientist, insurance expert, human resources manager, interior designer, finance manager, and project manager.
On the brewing side, the four brewers exhibit a similar complementary nature. According to Falink, each brewer approaches recipe creation with his own drinking preferences: Nick drinks German beers thanks to living in the country for two years, Jason favors English-style ales, Steve runs in the medium-dark range, while Rob himself prefers stouts and IPAs. The assortment of preferences led to Alloy’s diverse tap list.
That’s not to say they brew independently, though. “Pretty much every recipe has been collaborated,” Falink explains. “Even if one person wrote it, it’s still been tweaked or changed.” The beers, they claim, are an alloy in their own way. Unique perspectives play off one another to take each recipe further than its original form. Sometimes this means adding marshmallows to a beer, or staging friendly competitions between brewers to compare and improve recipes.
Alloy’s taproom is a fairly simple affair. After years of visiting taprooms and collecting ideas—“market research” Falink says, rubbing his stomach with a smirk—the group knew exactly what they wanted for their taproom and what they wanted to avoid.
The bar decorated with colorful pieces of scrap lumber, a plain white block wall behind the bar, exposed ductwork, and glass garage doors maintain the industrial aesthetic of their three-unit suite, which once housed a car rental service, car wash, and automotive garage. Cherry-stained wood floor inlays and accents walls in green and blue lend the space a bit of warmth and personality.
The owners did most of the remodeling themselves. The months of work involved plenty of sweat and a fair share of bodily harm, but it paid off with a brewhouse filled with American-made equipment, a massive cooler large enough to fit brite tanks for lagering, a spacious taproom, and lots of natural light.
Each of the owners (and oftentimes their families) put in days and nights of hard labor to build the taproom. When the city lost power, Chrissy and Katie even spent an evening painting walls by the illumination of their cars’ headlights.
The support of the Coon Rapids community kept the team motivated throughout the process. Earlier this year, City Hall played host to a free beer tasting, and city officials, including the mayor, have been advocates for the business. While Coon Rapids and its residents are looking forward to Alloy’s beer, they also hope the brewery will revitalize the area.
For the owners, Coon Rapids is the right fit for their brewery. It’s close to home, and fulfills their goal of bringing more craft beer to the suburbs. While Alloy’s brewers are maintaining their focus on creating award-winning beer, they’re also working to make the brewery accessible to local drinkers of all stripes. Katie reflects, “I think these guys are passionate about making sure anyone can come in and find a style of beer they like, no matter what they normally drink.”
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Photos by Kevin Kramer
Brewers: Rob Falink, Steve Tschida, Jason Horton, and Nick Lehman
Beer: Corrugated Cream Ale, Erik’s Red Runner Red Ale, Aluminum Alt Bier, Iron Arm Belgian Strong, Pewter Porter
Address: 2700 Coon Rapids Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids MN
Hours: Wed & Thu 4–10pm, Friday 4–11pm, Saturday 12–11pm, Sunday 12–8pm