A brewpub isn’t just a brewery with a restaurant or restaurant with a brewery. It’s an agent of change, according to Megan Seiler and Glen Bruestle of Inver Grove Brewing Company, which opened on September 21.
Bruestle and his wife Kate and Seiler and her husband Don, who own the brewpub with head brewer Taylor Quill, hold up Lakeville Brewing Company, which the group opened in 2016, as proof of how a brewpub can help revitalize a community.
“When we opened this location [in Lakeville], there weren’t a ton of other dining options, and there was this little downtown area with a lot of empty storefronts,” Seiler says. “And now most of the storefronts are full. […] There are two other restaurants, there are some other shops, there’s an escape room, and all sorts of things. So we’re hoping for that same sort of thing in Inver Grove.”
While this new location allows them to gain customers in a new area, it is not a carbon copy of Lakeville. In addition to new beers unique to Inver Grove, the brewpub features an almost entirely different food menu, which includes Reuben nachos, street tacos, and Neapolitan-style pizzas.
“We bought a really, really nice pizza oven that we pretty much dialed in over the [opening] weekend,” says Bruestle, “and the pizzas have been fantastic and very well received.”
The first big decision, however, was to make the second location a brewpub rather than just a restaurant that would feature beers from Lakeville. In the end, the brewpub model won out again. It allows them to serve fresh beers crafted in-house and unique to the location, alongside craft cocktails and beers from other local breweries.
“We decided if we’re going to do a second location, a brewpub is what it would be because it is such a cool concept,” Bruestle says.
Inver Grove is currently serving six Lakeville beers and several guest taps, while waiting for the brewhouse to become operational. The first house-brewed beers should be on tap in early November, which will coincide with a grand opening celebration. The new 20-barrel system with six fermentors and three serving tanks is a big expansion from the 10-barrel system at Lakeville.
“One thing we learned in Lakeville is we could always use more space, so we doubled down,” says Quill, who has worked at Lakeville from the beginning, starting as a brewing intern.
Bruestle expects to experiment with everything from sours to hazy IPAs to lagers with varying infusions on the Inver Grove system. He believes the larger brewhouse will help them keep up with trends without neglecting their mainstays. “We’ll see what Inver Grove calls for,” he says. “We didn’t think our light lager would be our number one seller Lakeville, but we brew what the customers want.”
Inver Grove has 20 taps, mostly dedicated to Inver Grove branded beers unique to the location, but the brewpub will offer Lakeville’s most successful flagships, too. These include the double-dry-hopped Hashtag IPA and the Clarabelle Milk Stout served on nitro, as well as its best-selling 210 American Light Lager, and Knee High Cream Ale, which won a silver medal at the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championships.
Bruestle and Seiler plan to rotate in kegs from “all of our friends” in the Minnesota beer scene, focusing on smaller operations that aren’t widely distributed. The brewpub opened with selections from Giesenbräu Bier Company, Angry Inch Brewing Company, and Tilion Brewing Company, among others.
“We’re trying to do some [brewing] collaborations with our friends, too,” Bruestle says. “That works out really well with a brewery and brewpub. Then we can both have it on tap.”
As a family-friendly establishment, the brewpub also serves kombucha and craft soda to draw in as many people as possible. The owners selected Inver Grove Heights because it was one of the few Twin Cities suburbs without a brewery, but they hope opening in the Arbor Pointe commercial neighborhood will help bring new business and excitement, as it did in Lakeville.
“They needed something to help get that area jump-started again,” Bruestle says. “So we’re hoping that in a couple of years, two years down the road, everything is full in there and up and running again.”
Brewer: Taylor Quill
Beers: Cream ale, Irish red, American light lager, milk stout and IPA, and rotating local guest taps
Address: 9051 Buchanan Trail, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota 55076
Hours: Mon & Tue: 3–10pm; Wed & Thu: 11am–10pm; Fri: 11am–11pm; Sat: 10am–11pm; Sun: 10am–9pm