Just like their logo, Inbound BrewCo has planted their flag in Minneapolis and is officially moving in. Owned by North Loop BrewCo (formerly Lucid), Inbound is a new brand with new beers that will specialize in the taproom experience—something North Loop has been unable to do in their Minnetonka location for the past four years.
“We have a whole new lineup and we’re trying new things with beer,” says Jon Messier, the company’s co-founder, along with Eric Biermann. “We’re going to be constantly changing the styles.” The brewers for North Loop and InBound is the same, Messier explains, but the concept is to play and experiment at Inbound, while North Loop will be focused on the packaged production of a core lineup.
“It would not work to bring 12 different beers under that brand name,” Messier says, referring to North Loop. But with a brand built on rotation, Inbound will embark on a range of dynamic beers ranging from smoked wheat, imperial saison, and an abbey single at opening, to later producing lagers, sours, fruit-infused, and barrel-aged beers.
The taproom experience, Messier continues, is based on that idea of an exclusive and rotating selection, and with the foot traffic at their Minneapolis location, near Target Field, Modist, and Fulton, they anticipate atmosphere to play a large role in their identity. Thirty tap lines will pour up to 24 beers (most frequently 12 different beers with two taps each), with six more lines reserved for house-made soda and cold-press coffee from Blackeye Roasting.
The tap handles are designated with contrasting black and white—black for beer, white for non-alcoholic—and are indicative of Inbound’s focus on stark colors and eye-catching design. Two-tone, flat-font graphics adorn the windows that overlook the brewhouse from Messier’s upstairs office. The room is open by design, and filled with community tables and abundant natural light. Garage and sliding patio doors fill the space with fresh air (when it’s nice out) and give a modern feel amid the industrial building, which once housed an appliance recycling facility.
While the walls still bear some signs of its former garbage dump days (notably, the signage behind the fermenters), the repurposed building marries the industrial past with the modern North Loop condos that have popped up around it the past few years.
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Photos by Aaron Davidson
With a capacity of 250 and room for 50 more on the patio, Inbound’s taproom is a large space that boasts a lively atmosphere. They plan to host regular live music, including at their grand opening on April 22–23, in addition to drawing in downtown Minneapolis crowds.
Inbound has been in a quiet soft-open mode since mid-April, with a hand-painted sign attracting the casual walk-up visitor. “There’s a lot of stuff to work out because we’ve never had a taproom before,” Messier says, explaining it’s why they wanted to test their systems prior to a full-on public announcement. While they’re still mastering the retail aspect of things, Inbound’s beer has a leg-up on most Minnesota start-ups, with its operators having four years of commercial brewing under their belts.
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Inbound BrewCo’s Jon Messier (left) and Eric Biermann // Photos by Aaron Davidson
Messier says the things they’re most excited for is the opportunity to connect with drinkers in an environment that allows that conversation. The central bar at the taproom faces the brewing system, which came from the now-closed American Sky Brewing Company, in Hudson, Wisconsin, and a chain link fence separates the equipment from customers, creating easy viewing and conversation across the barrier between brewer and consumer.
“We want you to be one with the brewery,” Messier says. He notes that the neighborhood clientele will become a large part of Inbound’s identity, alongside their myriad tap selection. Inbound is a change of direction from North Loop’s one-time plan, which was to open a taproom in the west suburbs. But when they found their current building in Minneapolis, they couldn’t pass it up; they leapt at the opportunity.
“With other cities, we just couldn’t find the right location,” Messier says. “We were just going to build a bigger location with a taproom [in the suburbs], but now let’s make a taproom and shift gears a little.”
“You get walking traffic around here, something we could never find in Minnetonka or Plymouth,” he continues. “We can do something totally different here.”
They may have opened quietly, but Inbound BrewCo is aiming big. With room for over two dozen beers on tap and ample space to grow, Inbound has arrived in the city’s urban core, ready for business.
Beer: German Dunkelweizen, Kolsch, American IPA, Smoked Wheat, German Dampfbier, Abbey Single, Best Bitter, American Brown Ale, Imperial Saison, Session IPA, Apricot Pale Ale, Scotch Ale (Scottish Heavy), Hefeweizen, Wild Rice Baltic Porter
Visit: 701 N Fifth St, Minneapolis, 55401
Grand opening weekend hours: Friday, April 22, 4-10pm; Saturday, April 23, noon-midnight; Sunday, April 24, noon-midnight