By Drew Kerr
Kinney Creek Brewery
- Photo Courtesy of Kinney Creek Brewery
Donovan O. Seitz spent a decade making wine, creating hundreds of bottles before reaching what he describes as the “breaking point.” A trip to the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston put him on a new path.
Within a week of returning from his visit, Seitz was in his kitchen making beer. He quickly graduated to the garage, and shortly after began looking for a place where he could take his newfound hobby to the next level.
Three years later, Seitz celebrated the opening of his Kinney Creek Brewery – Rochester’s first brewery since Prohibition.
For an admitted “standard light beer” drinker, the transition from wine to beer has been swift and full of learning.
“The first time I brewed an IPA. I thought it was wrong but it was actually one of the best beers I’ve made,” says Seitz, 42. “I just wasn’t ready for the hops.”
Seitz seems to be a quick study. In each of his first three weekends, Kinney Creek has sold out. Operating on a pilot system and making one- to two-barrel batches at a time, Seitz is already considering expanding to satisfy demand.
With a 10,000-square-foot brewery space – and just 3,000 in use today – there’s room to grow, too.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that Rochester has this kind of following,” Seitz says.
For now, the focus is on four staples – an IPA, an Extra Special Bitter, a Smoked Porter and a lighter, transitional beer known as Sunny Days. While the focus will remain on the mainstays, Seitz says opening the brewery will lead to a new phase of learning, based on feedback he gets from visitors.
“I really have no idea what the taste buds of town will be,” he says. “At the end of the day, I just try to make sure that everybody leaves with a good experience.”
The Brewer: Donovan O. Seitz
The Beers: Opener IPA, Extra Special Bitter, Sunny Days, Smoked Porter
Visit: 1016 Seventh St. NW, Rochester, MN // Now open Mon – Wed 12-6pm, Thur – Sat 12-10pm.
Editor’s Note: Donovan O. Seitz, not Donovan O’Seitz as published in the print edition of The Growler Issue 5.