Romance Built on Beer

Naturally, craft beer-loving couples are reaching out to local breweries for their special days. According to co-founder Ryan Libby, 612Brew’s taproom will host its first wedding this fall. “The advantages of booking a taproom for a wedding are obvious,” he said. Couples are guaranteed both a space they enjoy and beer they love, as well as more flexible catering options than many traditional venues. At 612Brew, couples can even choose to have their ceremony officiated by head brewer Adam Schill, who is also an ordained minister.

Tuck Carruthers, head brewer for Northgate Brewing, created its season Bliss English Style Summer Ale for his recent wedding to his bride, Hilary. “That wasn’t my wedding present to her, but I still wanted a beer with her favorite flavors that she could enjoy all night,” he said. “She loves wheat beers, ginger, and orange flavors. So I took an English Style Summer Ale, added fresh ginger root to the whirlpool, and aged the beer on orange peels. The beer has a nice balance between malt and bitter, without any overpowering flavors.”

And after the wedding, the couple will embark on another brewcation, one that most craft beer fans would die for.

It was only natural that Carruthers create a Minnesota craft beer for his wedding, because he said he wouldn’t have the job without her. NorthGate co-founder Todd Slininger presented his business plan to Hilary’s MBA class at the University of Minnesota and mentioned that his startup brewery was in need of a head brewer. She quickly emailed Carruthers, who had her ask some questions and get Slininger’s contact information.

“If it wasn’t for Hilary, I wouldn’t be the head brewer of NorthGate,” said Carruthers.

Katie Hoffman of Fulton Beer said its taproom has been host to bachelor and bachelorette parties and even had a couple of fans take wedding party photos on the loading dock. The brewery has also made a special grapefruit-infused Lonely Blonde for a wedding, served in specially labeled growlers as reception centerpieces. Her own story of beer romance, however, is a little different.

“My husband, Brian [one of the founders/owner of Fulton] and I had homebrew at our wedding in May of 2009, she said. “Then Brian, Ryan, Jim and Pete launched Fulton later that year. Brian and I both had other day jobs. He was so busy trying to manage it all that I worked festivals, tastings, tours, beer dinners, and growler filling with him just so we could spend some time together. We’d call them our “Fulton Date Nights.” So, not exactly the typical romantic-starry-eyed-wine-and-dine-date. But we love talking about beer and our company’s story, and at least we were doing it together. Now we both work full-time at Fulton and whenever we’re pouring beer together at a festival, it reminds me of those crazy start-up days and our Fulton Date Nights.”

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Both couples interviewed for this story, Angela Laidlaw and Jared Jensen and Lindsey Kimball and Mark Fangmeier, expressed a similar sentiment about their shared love of craft beer. All of them enjoyed Minnesota craft beer individually. But when they met their partners, that interest grew stronger and more important, because it was something they cultivated together. There is something simple, romantic and beautiful in that, but we’ll leave it to the poets to put words to it. The rest of us will simply raise a glass in their honor.

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