Photos by Brian Kaufenberg
Located just off of Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault, Minnesota, Chris Voegele, Travis Temke, and Noah Strouth opened the doors to the town’s first modern brewery, F-Town Brewing, last month.
“The community is really excited about it,” says Temke, the company’s business and marketing manager. F-Town Brewing is the first brewery in Faribault since century-old Ernst Fleckenstein Brewing shuttered its doors in 1964. “We have a deep-rooted history with Fleck’s. You talk to anybody. I mean, we had guys in here that could barely even walk who just want to have a Faribault-made beer again because they remember Fleck’s.”
Voegele and Strouth started brewing eight years ago with the intention of opening a brewery and carrying on the town’s tradition. Strouth was looking for a new venture upon leaving the custom motorcycle company he started in 1996, Heavy Metal Customs, after business dried up due to the Great Recession. Voegele, an EMT with degrees in chemistry and biology, is a childhood friend of Strouth’s and brought a scientific knowledge to their custom-made homebrewing operation.
In 2013, the pair met Temke, a Twin Cities native and restaurateur who moved to Faribault to open a restaurant in 2008. Temke was pondering opening a brewery in a historic 8,000-square-foot warehouse from the 1860s that was for lease. It turned out that Voegele and Strouth were looking at the very same warehouse.
With Voegele’s scientific background, Strouth’s fabrication experience, and Temke’s business and finance experience, the three decided to join forces and make F-Town Brewing a reality. They started construction in November 2014 to plumb the building, get electrical updated, and redo the ceiling, floors, and windows. Then, they installed a 15-barrel brewhouse, four 30-barrel fermenters, two 30-barrel brites, and a canning line.
The team is excited to introduce new beer styles to the small farming community and educate domestic beer drinkers about craft beer. But more than education, F-Town’s goal is to brew the best beer possible. “For me, it goes back to the craftsmanship,” says Strouth. “It’s wanting to have the best possible product at all times, no matter what it is.”
On draft in the taproom are F-Town’s IPAlicious, #1 American Pale Ale, Nutso Nut Brown, Flex Less Light Lager, Midnight Delight Stout, and Ojo Rojo Imperial Red. The IPA, APA, nut brown, and light lager are being kegged for distribution to area restaurants and bars, and canned six-packs of the IPA and the nut brown are available in liquor stores south of the Metro.
Brewers: Noah Strouth and Chris Voegele
Beer: IPAlicious, #1 American Pale Ale, Nutso Nut Brown, Flex Less Light Lager, Midnight Delight Stout, and Ojo Rojo Imperial Red
Visit: 22 4th St NE, Faribault, Minnesota
Hours: Wed & Thu 3–9pm; Fri 3–10pm; Sat 12–10pm; Sun 12–3pm