Now Open or Damn Close Rounds Up the Latest Players in the Region’s Brewing Scene
by Brian Kaufenberg
Burning Brothers Brewing
The offerings at the newest addition to St. Paul’s brewing scene are as unique as its founders. Dane Breimhorst and Thom Foss are professionally trained fire-eaters who performed for many years at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Now they are in the final stages of opening the first 100% gluten-free brewery in the Midwest.
Foss and Breimhorst, both longtime homebrewers who attended courses at the Siebel Institute in Chicago, had been working on a business plan for a brew-on-premise operation in Minneapolis when Breimhorst, also a former lead cook at the Loring Pasta Bar, was diagnosed with celiac disease.
“Waterboarding,” jokes Breimhorst with a sardonic smile, describing the upper endoscopy procedure used to diagnose his disease. Celiac disease was a set back, but not an insurmountable one for Breimhorst, who developed his own gluten-free beer recipes after being unable to find a gluten-free option sold in Minnesota that he liked. Foss and Breimhorst threw out the old business plan for a new one.
The new concept was Burning Brothers Brewing Company, a 5,000 square foot production brewery located near University Avenue and Fairview Avenue in St. Paul. The goal: to make great beer that people won’t even know is gluten-free.
Besides selling growlers out of their taproom, Breimhorst and Foss decided to package their beer only in cans to mitigate any potential draft line contamination that could make a person with celiac disease sick at bars and restaurants.
Their dedication to being gluten-free goes well beyond the beer, as nothing with gluten is allowed into the facility. “We pride ourselves on no gluten in, no gluten out,” says Breimhorst, who has become a strong voice for celiacs. “Not even in an employee’s lunchbox.”
The Brewer: Dane Breimhorst
The Beers: American Pale Ale, Imperial Black IPA, Cascade Coffee Ale