Over the last five years, the craft brewery movement has grown exponentially in Minnesota. The Associated Press says licensing records show two-thirds of Minnesota breweries have opened just since 2010. So, we decided to help you – and your livers – keep up with the taproom trend by stopping by some of these Twin Cities brewhouses. This week’s Local Tap Talk features LynLake Brewery.
After what seems like forever, the Lyndale Theater’s empty, barren space is leased and is now home to a new brewery. LynLake Brewery opened to the thirsty, hip masses in Uptown on Oct. 10, 2014 just in time to the last bit of warm sunshine on its rooftop.READ MORE: St. Paul School Board Chair Jeanelle Foster Recovering From COVID
Most breweries/taphouses begin with home brewing and a dream, but not most owners also have a background building high-rises. Turns out it’s a great background to get things up and running.
LynLake’s co-founders Mark Anderson and Paul Cassette met while building what’s now known as the Wells Fargo Center and continued working together while constructing other high-rises around the Twin Cities. Recently over a few Surlys, however, a new interest arose.
“Independently, we got into the craft brew experience just as a consumer … we’d get together periodically and talk about craft beer and what we like about it, and we starting thinking, ‘we should get into this business,’” Anderson said.
So, in anything, connections matter and Anderson happened to be friends with a couple big wigs in the local beer scene.
“I’m a friend with Omar (Ansari) over at Surly, so I talked to him a little bit and one of the owners over at Excelsior Brewing, a friend of mine, and kind of began to understand the business side of things,” Anderson said.
After receiving some counsel, it was time to find a space.
“Looked in Wayzata, St. Louis Park, northeast (Minneapolis) just like everybody else, and then stumbled upon – literally I was driving by with my wife – and saw this empty building (Lyndale Theater) and tracked down the realtor and saw it was available,” Anderson said. “So, got inside and spent a weekend just with a sledgehammer kind of beating down the walls to see what it looked like and realized it could work, so I made a deal with the landlord and we started.”
What completed the entire equation, however, was the finding of their head brewer, Joel Carlson, who happened to share similar backgrounds with the founders.
“I’m from northern Minnesota originally and Paul is from North Dakota, and we found a brewer who grew up in northern Minnesota, too, and went to school in North Dakota, so it was a perfect sequence of events,” Anderson said.
Now, the still-young taphouse is reopening its rooftop just in time for the amazing warmth Minnesota is having. You can find them at 2934 Lyndale Ave. S.
For more on what the rooftop features, how it was like converting a theater and, of course, their beer, check out my interview with Mark Anderson below!
When the inspiration hit, was there a certain vision in mind with the type of beer you wanted to provide to the masses?
We aren’t cutting corners. We want the best product. So, we don’t worry about pushing the yeast for one more generation … and we want a nice variety. We want good, solid beer. We don’t want the tricked-up beer, but periodically we want to test something weird. We had a milk stout with raspberry and coconut just for fun – we made a couple firkins of that. We want to have a big variety of beers besides our flagships. And every once and a while we’ll shoot off and do something “weird.”
Both founders have a background in constructing high-rises around the Twin Cities – how has that background helped your creation of this brewery? And do you two have complimentary skills?
It helped during the construction part of it and it helps because construction is about teamwork. This operation is a brewhouse and taproom. There are teams in both, so they both need to work together. We like to work with people and like to put teams together so I think that helps translate into providing a good experience, in terms of a good product and taproom experience.
I’m probably more of the numbers guy. I follow the daily reports more often and look at the retail side of things. Paul is more of the people side of things, seeing how the brewer’s doing, the taproom manager, hiring, and stuff like that.
What was it like converting the theater into a brewhouse? (listen to audio below)