This edition of Now Open (or Damn Close) features breweries from one end of Minnesota to the other.
The Minnesota Northwoods is a place where travelers can satisfy their need for adventure by immersing themselves in wilderness. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Superior National Forest allow backcountry adventurers the opportunity to peer back into the history of French voyageurs, who navigated similar labyrinths of rivers and lakes in the late 18th century.
It’s befitting then that Grand Marais, the north shore town that serves as an entry point for campers, canoers, and hikers to these protected wilderness areas, is home to Voyageur Brewing Company.
Beaver Island Brewing
It’s seems just a short few months ago that Beaver Island Brewing announced they would soon be opening a new brewery in St. Cloud, Minnesota—because in fact it was just a few months ago. What these days seems an improbable task of opening a brewery in the span of ten months was accomplished by founders Matt Studer and Nick Barth in the former Bo Diddley’s Deli and Pickard Motor Co. auto shop.
They say ignorance is bliss. Before the craft beer renaissance in the US, beer drinkers happily stocked their refrigerators with light lagers because it was all they knew. But craft breweries popping up every day around the country are exposing beer drinkers to the differences between a flavorful craft beer and light macro-lagers. The revelation is shattering blissful ignorance giving rise to a new attitude—life’s too short to drink bad beer.
A simple Twitter post from NorthGate Brewing this past summer announcing their plans to expand in a new location was the spark that lit the fire for husband and wife Kale and Kerry Johnson. Kale, a professional engineer and five-year homebrewer, reached out to NorthGate, curious to know what their plans were with the old brewhouse equipment. When he heard it was going up for sale, “That started everything,” said Kale, president of 56 Brewing.