Josh Reed and his wife decided to move back home from the West Coast. Their plan to set down roots in rural Minnesota became literal in 2010, when Josh established a hop farm with 200 rhizomes on his wife’s homestead. The farm is set on a glacial ridge they nicknamed Goat Ridge, and his hops have been used by a few local breweries. His next harvest, however, will be brewed much closer to home.
Along the Middle Fork Crow River in the small farming town of New London, Minn., Josh Reed and business partner Kelly Asche are putting the finishing touches on Goat Ridge Brewing, their 1,800 square foot nanobrewery and taproom.
Reed started work on a business plan three years ago and this past October quit his government job to work full time on opening the brewery. Though he was able to set aside the stacks of paperwork from his old job, he simply traded them for stacks of brewery paperwork.
Luckily, he met Kelly Asche, a data-phile who could help him shore up the business plan and handle the finances for the brewery. The two met at a community celebration in Brooten, Minn., the hometown of Reed and Asche’s wife. Asche began homebrewing with the West Bank Brewing Association—a group at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs whose founders include Matthew Hauck of Fair State Brewing.
Goat Ridge Brewing is the town’s sole craft brewery, though the latest in a group of small, artisan businesses to have opened in recent years. Much like Josh and his wife, former residents are returning from bigger cities and bringing that energy back to New London. Artist galleries and pottery shops line the main streets of downtown, transforming the face of New London.
Reed and Asche hope to aid that transformation. “We saw the opportunity to build the community,” Reed says, “and we’re going to do that through brewing beer.” New Londoners shared their excitement and helped fund their project. Even the mayor pitched in, handcrafting special ceramic 750-mL bottles for a brewery membership program.
The funding campaign helped to add a new fermenter and finish construction of the taproom. Asche and Reed plan to serve five regular beers and rotating seasonals in pints and growlers in their eclectic, 45-person taproom.
Goat Ridge announced via its Facebook page it will hold its grand opening on Thursday, April 16 from 3–9 pm.
Brewers: Josh Reed (Head Brewer), Kelly Asche (Assistant Brewer)
Beers: Kölsch, IPA, Black Ale, and rotating Belgians, Imperials, and seasonals
Visit: 17 Central Ave West, New London, Minn.
Hours: Thu 3–9pm, Fri 3–10pm, Sat 12–10pm