In 1974, Robert Asp of Moorhead, Minnesota, had a dream to build a full-scale replica of the Gokstad Viking ship and sail his ship across the Atlantic Ocean to Norway. Asp passed away before he could sail his completed ship, The Hjemkomst (“Homecoming” in Norwegian), but in 1982 Asp’s four children and eight friends completed the journey and fulfilled his dream. The feat captivated the nation and continues to be a point of pride for the Norwegian-American community in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
This September, a new crew of friends is preparing to complete their own Viking quest—opening Drekker Brewing in downtown Fargo. The brewery name is a nod to the region’s Nordic heritage and Asp’s Viking ship and is derived from the Old Norse words “drekka” which means “to drink,” “drykkr” which means “draft drink,” and “drakkar,” the name for the feared dragon-headed longships that ruled the rivers and seas of Europe during the Viking Age.
The four founders—Darin, Mark, Jesse, and Mason—are Fargo-Moorhead natives and began homebrewing together in a garage on a commercial pilot system. After hosting a Halloween/Oktoberfest beer tasting party, the homebrewers decided to take their brewing professional. They started their initial plans to open a brewery and spent the last two years searching for the perfect brewery space.
In January 2014, they signed a lease to a 5,200 sq ft space within a brand new building in the heart of downtown Fargo’s up-and-coming restaurant and shopping district. “It took forever to find the perfect building, and we started to think it didn’t exist,” said Mark Bjornstad, Drekker Brewing’s co-founder and president. The wait was well worth it, though, as the brewery space offers the team a blank canvas to bring Drekker Brewing to life. Each of the founders brings special skills to the team, which has helped in the build out of the 10 bbl brewhouse and taproom. Bjornstad has a science background, Darin Montplaisir was in construction, Jesse Feigum specializes in business and marketing, and Mason Montplaisir is an engineer.
Soon citizens of Fargo-Moorhead will be able to get flights, pints, and growlers of Drekker’s full list of approachable and sessionable takes on traditional beer styles in their 2,000 sq ft taproom, which will be a centerpiece of the company’s identity—a veritable Valhalla on Earth.
“Our focus with the taproom is to get the customers as close to the beer and the brewery as we possibly can,” stated Bjornstad. Drekker will become Fargo’s second brewery and the team sees their roles as craft beer educators for a city with a growing thirst for knowledge on craft beer.
Their focus on the brewery’s taproom is a reflection of Drekker’s belief that craft beer is about more than just what’s in the glass—“It’s about what happens when a few of those glasses get raised together,” explained Bjornstad. “We want to make beer that’s worthy of that occasion.”
Brewer: Darin Montplaisir
Beer: Porter, Black IPA, Irish Red Ale, IPA, rotating American Wheat Series, & seasonal offerings
Visit: 630 1st Ave N, Suite 6 Fargo, North Dakota
Hours: Wed & Thu 3–10pm, Fri & Sat 12–10pm