We’re helping you – and your livers – keep up with the taproom trend by stopping by some of the Minnesota brewhouses. For the next brewery, Tap Talk is taking a trip west of the Twin Cities and visiting Wicked Wort Brewing Company.
“If your wife tells you to buy a building and cut a hole in the floor, you buy a building and cut the hole in the floor!”
Those are words from Wicked Wort Brewing’s owner, Steve Carlyle, and they’re true. It really happened.
But before heeding his wife’s suggestion, Carlyle’s journey to opening up Wicked began with a contracted job to build Fulton Brewery’s brewing system.
“We had a contractor ask us to do it. We did it, it turned out really nice. So, other brewers were coming in looking at it, and I got a lot of calls. We just kept going,” he said.
But the dream was solidified when Carlyle rode his Harley to Marquette, Michigan and visited Blackrocks Brewery – a unique brewery built into a house. There, he thought “man, if they built this in a house, why can’t something like this be done down here?”
After struggling with finding the right place, Carlyle’s banker got him in touch with the area and people of Robbinsdale. The building, however, wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.
“We looked at the building three times… and I just didn’t see it happening,” he said. “It was just too hard of a building to work with. But my wife, was like, ‘well if you cut a hole in the floor you could put the brewery in the lower level.'”
So, Carlyle took the “if your wife tells you to do it, you do it!” adage to heart and got the ball rolling.
“I just called DME (brewing) and they sized our system to fit down in the hole and it just worked out absolutely perfect,” he said.
And so Wicked Wort Brewing was founded in 2014. It’s the 21st brewery that Carlyle put together and this time, it’s his own.
As for the beer, Carlyle had all the tools, skills and resources to make Wicked Wort brewing-capable, but needed one crucial thing: brewers.
Enter Kyle Sisco and Josh Denny, the head brewer and assistant brewer.
“Kyle and Josh brainstorm these beers and they just kill it,” Carlyle said. “These guys are just the best.”
According to Carlyle, the philosophy of the beer is to cater to wide variety of tastes. A variety of beers is not only something they want to provide, but need to. Robbinsdale has a wide-ranging demographic after all.
“Because of our location, our demographic, we have 80-year-old people in here all the way down to the hipsters,” he said.
So, for more on the brewery, its background, its beers and its controversial choice to go 21-plus, check out the interview below!
First, love the name! How’d you decide on “Wicked Wort”?
We own a boutique called Wickedly Charming, it’s in the building next door, so it kind of played off of that. And wort being beer before it’s beer, kinda molded together. It just kind of worked out!
What kind of brewery did you want to build and did the final version of that closely align with the original intent?
No, it was a lot smaller. The building ended up being so big, so (the brewery) actually increased in size by twice the size of what I figured. It changed the game a little bit. But it worked out.
Tell me about your choice to be 21-plus.
Some people just don’t want kids around them. I mean, I have a big hole in the floor, so I don’t want a kid falling into it. After I did it, I got a lot of heat. And then it kind of went away.
People come up and tell me, “Steve, we love it, there are no kids playing around me!” So, took some heat in the beginning, but that’s gone away. We still do very well with the crowds.
Could you describe a few of your (flagship) beers?
Our most popular beer is the Birdtown Blonde Ale. We can’t even keep it in stock. It’s really smooth, really tasty. The first one we came out with.
We also have the Meno Stout, a darker stout. It’s chocolatey … people love it. It’s absolutely incredible.
We have a (Big Deal) kolsh that we keep on, too. And the JP Dooley, which is an Irish red. We keep four on.
Lastly, what’s next for Wicked Wort?
We’re going to finish up our patio. It got a little bit behind because it rained all summer long and I busted my foot. So, we’re gonna finish the patio on the ground. And hopefully, if it all works, that we’ll put a patio on the roof. That’s going to be another thing after I get the patio done on the ground. See what it’s gonna take and put a patio on the roof. It’s a goal that’s in my head and once it’s in there, it doesn’t go away any time soon! So, it’s really key to me and if we pull it off, we’ll have a patio on the roof.