Now Open (Or Damn Close): 22 Northmen Brewing Co. in Alexandria

The main room of the longhouse at 22 Northmen Brewing Co. in Alexandria, Minnesota // Photo courtesy 22 Northmen Brewing Co.

June 15, 2019, will mark the grand opening of 22 Northmen Brewing Co., and the realization of a longstanding vision for the owners of the adjacent Carlos Creek Winery. Tami and Kim Bredeson have contemplated building a brewery to complement their winery as far back as 2009. With a successful Kickstarter campaign, the hiring of brewer Keith Hefley, and construction of the Viking Longhouse–inspired brewery and taproom, 22 Northmen will become Alexandria, Minnesota’s second craft brewery, joining the ranks with Copper Trail Brewing.

Taking its name from the first line of the infamous Kensington Runestone (“8 Swedes and 22 Norwegians on an exploration journey from Vinland westward.”), the brewery will be run by Tami and Kim’s son Tyler Bredeson, 22 Northmen’s vice president of operations, and daughter-in-law Michelle Bredeson. Together Tyler and Michelle hope to create a Viking-inspired experience that will be memorable for their customers.

The longhouse has a 100-person capacity and is named after the first line of the Kensington Runestone // Photo courtesy 22 Northmen Brewing Co.

The brewery is located inside a longhouse, designed to create a 14-century Viking-styled communal experience. The space, which is a stone’s throw from Carlos Creek Winery’s tasting room, houses the 100-person taproom and features vaulted ceilings, dark wood interior paneling, and a wood-fired pizza oven. Completing the interior decor will be 22 Viking-style shields painted by local artist Marissa Jaskowiak. Bocce ball courts, garden chess, and a large patio will be available for visitors to utilize during the summer months.

The Bredesons hired Hefley as head brewer in March of this year, bringing the business one step closer to reality. Hefley brings 18 years worth of production experience to the brewery, with time spent honing his craft at Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth, two breweries in Colorado, and one in St. Louis, Missouri. Keith plans to brew beers inspired by Scandinavian traditions (think Norwegian farmhouse ales) but won’t be tied exclusively to those styles. Instead, the tap list will also feature styles from regions, as they put it, touched by Viking culture. That will come in the form of Irish porters to German Pilsners to Belgian pale ales.

22 Northmen Brewing Co. will open with nine beers on tap // Photo courtesy 22 Northmen Brewing Co.

With the direct connection to what winemaker Russ Frunk is doing at Carlos Creek Winery, there exists for Hefley an opportunity to collaborate and experiment across the crafts of brewing, winemaking, and cidermaking. Hefley is particularly excited about creating barrel-aged sours that blend grains and fruit grown at the vineyard. True to the agricultural ethos behind Carlos Creek Winery, 22 Northmen also hopes to develop into Minnesota’s first estate-grown beer with the essential brewing components being grown or found on-site.

No matter where you stand on the Runestone’s authenticity, there is no doubt that a bit of Viking culture is now firmly rooted in the Alexandria era with the opening of 22 Northmen Brewing.

Brewer: Keith Hefley

Beers: Opening with nine different offerings including Norse Lager and Norwegian Farmhouse Pale

Hours: Sun–Wed: 12pm–8pm; Thu–Sat: 12pm–10pm

Address: 6693 County Rd 34 NW Building B, Alexandria, MN 56308

Online: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Grand Opening: June 15, 2019