Straight From the Source samples some four-letter beers at Bang’s St. Paul location.
by Doug Hoverson
Bang Brewing Company’s cylindrical metal brewhouse stands out from the rectangular warehouses that dominate its neighborhood. While the facility of Bang Brewing Co. has been referred to as “grain-bin style,” it actually is a 30,000-bushel grain bin, purchased in Goodhue, Minnesota. A walk inside reveals a typical brewhouse, except that several elements are on wheels. The bar is also the production table.
Bang is the term for an exclamation point in computer software engineering and was originally used by Jay to announce his homebrews online. The name stuck, and it led to a nifty graphic with barley kernels on their growlers.
Jay and Sandy Boss Febbo wanted a minimalist design to mirror their approach to life, which is to cut down on materials but still live well. Their choice to use only organic ingredients came from the same motivation—organic was how they cooked, gardened, and fed their dog. Sandy and Jay take great pride in knowing their farmers, and the pride carries over into crafting their beers.
The Building of Bang Brewing as posted by Architecture Minnesota:
Restricting themselves to only organic places limits on their beer styles. Rather than being able to decide what beer to make and order the ingredients to make it, they find out what malt or hops are available and brew a beer that will fit the best available parts. While organic malt is becoming more readily available in reasonable quantities, hops are another matter. All three of their current beers are single-hop efforts, mostly by necessity.
The beer called Minn uses low-alpha Cascade hops, but Jay worries they might not be able to keep the lower hop character since the hops grown by their farmer in Michigan vary considerably in their bitterness. Sandy compares it to an Iron Chef challenge, and says Jay’s experience with Italian cooking has helped him to isolate particular ingredients and show them off, rather than building layers of what they consider unnecessary complexity.
Related Post: Now Open (Or Damn Close): Bang Brewing
At the time of this writing, Bang had three beers on tap, and like Bang, all had four-letter names. Neat, their first beer, is a single-hop pale ale featuring Summit hops, because it was the first one their supplier had available. Minn is a mild, but not a traditional English mild—just milder than many other ales. (See box bottom left). Nice, which was an obvious follow-up to Minn, is a dark ale, but it doesn’t really fit into the Black IPA/Cascadian Dark category. It features a complex malt profile, and warms up nicely.
Bang doesn’t yet have an entire wall of available styles, but as Jay said, “People want more than three choices? Fine, mix ‘em.” Minn-Nice has become an obvious combination, though the others are popular with regulars as well.
Jay and Sandy are hoping to distribute to nearby St. Paul neighborhoods, since their 10 bbl brew system is big enough to supply more than just a taproom, but at the time of this printing the only way to get their unique beers was Straight From the Source.
Two-row organic base malt, organic caramel malt; low alpha cascade hops.
ABV: 4.6%, IBU: 20
Deep copper color, off-white head. Flavor and aroma feature caramel and biscuit malt with citrus from the hops.