On a quiet morning in Annandale, Minnesota, in 1980, eight-year-old Dan Seaberg had no idea that something was about to happen that would lead to the inspiration for the name of a brewery he’d open with three co-owners more than 30 years later.
“I was playing outside and I heard this loud crash,” Seaberg said. “It was startling and I remember it was followed by this huge cloud of dust. I went to check it out and saw that four or five train cars had derailed and spilled these huge piles of grain all over the tracks.”
For the next few days, the scene of the derailment became a playground for Seaberg and his friends—climbing up the derailed cars and sliding down the piles of grain. Fast-forward to 2014 when Seaberg, Josh Hart, Dave Hartley, and Jacob Schnabel were trying to come up with a name for their new Annandale brewery and this memory came flooding back to Seaberg.
“To have an event that combines brewing with Annandale’s history was perfect,” he said.
History is one thing Spilled Grain Brewhouse has its fair share of. Seaberg’s great-grandfather was a brewer in Germany and continued brewing after he immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Joliet, Illinois. Seaberg said his family was always aware of his great-grandfather’s trade but it wasn’t something they talked a whole lot about. That is, until Seaberg and his wife, Nik, went to an Oktoberfest celebration at August Schell Brewing Company in 2012.
“It was really at that point that we said, ‘OK, this is pretty cool,’ and the brewer’s blood in my veins started to boil,” Seaberg said.
After joking about opening a brewery with each other, Nik mentioned it to a couple friends and discovered Hartley was part-owner of a vacant building in Annandale and was looking to fill it.
“I’d never met [Hartley] before but I called him up and starting throwing around ideas,” Seaberg said. “I’d done some homebrewing but knew I didn’t have enough experience to brew for real.”
That lead the two to recruit Schnabel, who they knew had been homebrewing for about 14 years and had won a few awards at homebrew competitions. Hart joined on as the fourth co-owner and Spilled Grain was born.
Schnabel serves as the head brewer on Spilled Grain’s three-and-a-half barrel system with Seaberg filling the role of assistant brewer and managing the day-to-day business side of things. The other two co-owners will work the taproom. None of the four will be quitting their day jobs to begin with.
Spilled Grain’s 102-person capacity taproom features rough-cut timber beams in the ceiling from the original construction of the building in the 1930s or 40s, a bar built by Hartley out of old hickory wood, and a patio and green space outside.
They’ll have three year-round beers on tap—an ESB, stout, and IPA—and three rotating seasonals. They’ll sell a small number of growlers to begin with and will expand growler sales as they ramp up production.
The brewery is the first in the city of Annandale, and Seaberg said he’s been amazed by the support they’ve received from the community he and Hart grew up in.
“For me to be able to put up a business here that will allow me to help out the community is pretty great,” he said. “Annandale is the perfect place to do something like this. I feel very fortunate for the support we’ve received.”
Spilled Grain Brewhouse is targeting the end of June to have its doors open. Check back here for updates or follow their progress on Spilled Grain’s Facebook page.
Brewers: Jacob Schnabel (head brewer), Dan Seaberg (assistant brewer)
Beer: ESB, stout, IPA, and three rotating seasonals
Visit: 300 Elm St, Annandale, Minnesota
Hours: Thurs: 4–10pm, Fri–Sat: 3–10pm (summer)