USA, MN: Elm Creek Brewing yet to reveal grand opening date
The city of Champlin has its first breweryand the response has been overwhelming. Just two weeks after Elm Creek Brewings soft opening of its taproom on June 12 at just 50% capacity, the brewery had to shut its doors temporarily to ramp up production and expand the brewhouse to meet the high demand. A date for its grand opening has yet to be revealed, The Growler reported on July 6.
Wade Carlson, who co-owns the brewery with his son Mitchell, says that in many unexpected ways, the fallout of the pandemic has actually helped them along in their path to opening, though it wasnt all smooth sailing.
[When] the pandemic hit, and we were in the middle of due diligence on buying the property, says Wade. It came down to about the day before we closed, on whether we were going to walk away from it, and we decided to go for it. The building previously housed Ruby Tuesdays, and Wade says everything was left behind when they purchased the property, including some less-than-ideal surprises.
We closed on the building on March 30, went into the building on March 31, turned the water on, and found out that all the pipes in the building had frozen and were damaged, he says. So its not enough that weve got the pandemic, now we need a week of plumbing repairs. But, thanks to COVID, the plumbing and electrical contractors next door had an open schedule. They threw their best people at it. We wouldve never had them available to us if it had been normal conditions.
He says they had a similar experience when requesting permits from the Department of Agriculturepre-COVID, the approval process would have pushed their opening into July, but as they were one of the only applicants, they were pushed to the top of the schedule and received their permits on time. In a weird way, theres some good news that comes out of all this crap, says Wade.
The owners recruited Grant Aldrich as head brewer, whos spent the last eight years brewing at Lupine Brewing and Brau Brothers. Working under pressure on a brand new system has presented its challenges, but Wade says everythings been very well-received so far.
Im giving Grant a lot of liberty to be the brewer he wants to be. Were not going to look over his shoulderobviously, as a business we kind of have to put the pressure on him to say, okay, we need to have these flagship beers to start with. Because were a new brewery, were a small system, weve gotta hit it out of the park to start with.
The brewery is starting with five beers on-tap: Chronic Obsession Hazy IPA, Elm Creek Special Vienna Lager, Grizzland California Common, Mill Pond Porter, and Granted Amber Ale. The origin story of Granted is complicatedalthough they call it an amber, Wade admits that theyve found it to be more along the lines of Belgian dubbel. It was born from Aldrichs homebrew system, concocted from ingredients he had lying around the house. He brought it to the brewery for Wade and Mitchell to try one night: We tried it, and it was one of the best beers Ive had, and for a homebrewer, it was amazing, Wade says. I was like do you have the recipe? and hes like well not really, because he just threw a bunch of stuff together [ ] As weve tried to figure it out, what it is, its more of a Belgian dubbel than an amber ale, but its that original Frankenstein beer. But we cant call it Frankenstein, so I named it after him.
Another beer, the Grizzland California Common, is named after the advanced single-track loop at the Elm Creek Park Reservea portion of the beers proceeds will go toward Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, a Champlin-based nonprofit dedicated to ensuring the future of mountain biking in Minnesota.
Another cause Wade is eager to get involved with is through the Elm Creek Watershed, which ties back to his work as a geologist and founder of Carlson McCain, an environmental consulting and civil engineering firm. We want to be able to give back to our community, back to nonprofits, and were really targeting specific projects within the watershed, he says.
The taproom design ties in various historical elements, collected from across the Midwest. The bartop and some tables are constructed from 70 feet of reclaimed bowling alley wood from outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, dating back to 1950. The chalkboards are original slate boards from an elementary school in Illinois from 1905. But the walls will be adorned with more modern work, allowing space for local artists to sell their wares. From there, were set up for live music, so well be getting a small stage set-up and our sound system will hopefully be installed here in a week or two, Wade says. So well just keep adding a little at a time.
As the firstand according to Wade and local zoning laws, likely the onlybrewery in Champlin, Elm Creek Brewing hopes to be a community hub in a town with relatively few dining or drinking options. From amending zoning laws to allowing food trucks on-site, Wade says the City of Champlin has been nothing but supportive in their opening. They gave us everything we asked for in our conditional use permit, he says. They were very supportivethey really wanted this for the city.
E-malt.com, the global information source for the brewing and malting industry professionals. The bi-weekly E-malt.com Newsletters feature latest industry news, statistics in graphs and tables, world barley and malt prices, and other relevant information. Click here to get full access to E-malt.com. If you are a Castle Malting client, you can get free access to E-malt.com website and publications. Contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org .