Andy Goettsch cut his teeth in Italian fine dining. Each dish he prepared required time-consuming techniques and attention to detail, and any missteps were easy to taste. After 15 years in kitchens, including five as chef de cuisine for Travail, his passion shifted to an equally time-intensive craft: brewing.
Now, as head brewer for the brewpub relaunch of Pig Ate My Pizza, Goettsch plans to approach creating and pairing beers with a chef’s intensity and meticulousness.
“I’ve always liked creating with food and woodworking and brewing,” he says. “You take all these little ingredients and you put them together, and compare and contrast the different flavors and textures. You create one song with all these different notes.”
Similarly, as a brewpub, Pig Ate My Pizza will be able to stitch together a variety of craft beverage and chef-driven food options to expand the experience from the former version of the restaurant. Along with house-brewed beers, the restaurant will offer a full craft cocktail program, the same great pizzas (plus a few new additions) with expanded appetizer options, and a ticketed tasting menu with beer pairings four nights per week.
“We want to bring in more people and please a larger crowd, but also we want people to come back a lot,” Goettsch says. “This place definitely has the ability to do that.”
Pig Ate My Pizza has 12 beer taps, which will rotate frequently but remain dedicated to Goettsch and chef Nate Moser’s beers with the occasional guest beer offering. The brewpub’s three-barrel system, supported by eight three-barrel and two six-barrel fermentors and two three-barrel and two six-barrel brite tanks, provides the flexibility to cycle through new recipes.
Goettsch and Moser, who was also a chef de cuisine, started homebrewing individually and together about five years ago. “As the Pig Ate My Pizza and Travail conversations came up, it was just a great opportunity to mix our passions for food and beer,” Goettsch says. Travail Collective co-owners Mike Brown, Bob Gerken, and James Winberg, he adds, “are really good at pulling out people’s strong attributes and really giving them a chance.”
Pig Ate My Pizza is still awaiting its final licensing and approvals before they can start brewing their house beers. For now, Goettsch and Moser are serving the collaborative beers they made with HeadFlyer, Dangerous Man, Lakes and Legends, Barrel Theory, Fair State, Surly, and Fulton—all of which showcase Goettsch and Moser’s vision for their future offerings.
The collaborations aren’t anything new for the chefs. They have been collaborating with local breweries for tap takeovers at Pig Ate My Pizza and Travail for years, and some of the beers on tap when the restaurant opens, such as the Dangerous Man Tarty Party collab, will be a second or third batch of those recipes. The opening lineup features a broad spectrum of styles. On one end there’s Fair State Pig Dreams, a hazy IPA with heavy flavors of pineapple, citrus, and tropical fruit that’s brewed with wheat and oats and features Cryo Citra, Denali, El Dorado, and Idaho Gem hops. Then there’s Fulton Cacao War and Peace, a Russian imperial stout conditioned with cacao nibs and fresh-roasted beans from Peace Coffee. Somewhere in the middle falls Surly The Heat of Passion, a Berliner weisse that is “crushably light” and conditioned on passionfruit and guajillo chilis.
Kicking off with a soft-opening on May 11, Pig Ate My Pizza is returning amid a flurry of activity for Travail Collective. The chef/co-owners have been busy recently opening Minnesota BBQ Co. in Northeast Minneapolis, overseeing construction of the new Travail restaurant in Robbinsdale, and running a temporary Travail location in the Lowry Hill neighborhood.
The group is excited to see its restaurants evolve and expand in Robbinsdale. The city, which is home to Travail and Pig Ate My Pizza (as well as the co-owners), has been very supportive since Travail rented its first building in 2010. “We’re going to continue to be a part of the community,” Gerken says.
The ultimate goal for Pig Ate My Pizza is not just to make beer and then attempt to pair it with a dish, but to create the two together, focusing on seasonal ingredients and carefully considering how they elevate each other. Sometimes this means using the same ingredient in multiple ways, but most often it requires contrasting different flavor profiles, according to Brown.
“Cooking food is ingredient-driven, whether that ingredient just came out of the ground yesterday or came out of the ground two years ago and was preserved for today. It all holds its craftsmanship and authenticity, and that’s what excites the customer,” he says.
The idea, crafting beer alongside food, has been done before, Goettsch admits, but not to the level that he envisions. He and the entire Pig Ate My Pizza team look forward to pushing it further by approaching the task like a chef.
Head Brewer: Andy Goettsch
Chef: Nate Moser
Beers: 12 taps with beers produced in collaboration with Minneapolis breweries, including Dangerous Man Tarty Party, Fair State Pig Dreams Hazy IPA, HeadFlyer Pigmosa Champagne-style Ale, Barrel Theory Simpler Times Meyer Lemon Berliner Weisse, Lakes & Legends Hog Days of Summer Pale Ale, Surly The Heat of Passion Berliner Weisse, and Fulton Cacao War and Peace Russian Imperial Stout
Address: 4124 W. Broadway Ave., Robbinsdale, MN 55422
Opened: May 15, 2019