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 time, we’re traveling a bit north of the metro and stopping in downtown Anoka. Next up, 10K Brewing.
What comes to mind when you think of Minnesota?
Cold? Midwest? Family-values?
Whether you’re a native or a visitor, two things are undeniably Minnesota: nice and 10,000 lakes.
That’s exactly what Jesse Hauf thought of when he thought of Minnesota, and, more specifically, beer in Minnesota.
While working for a company that required him to travel, Jesse fell in love with beer. He began frequently home brewing, producing a few batches a week, and he stopped in taprooms in every city he visited.
As he traveled he realized that while he enjoyed brewing what he loved was the taprooms. It was in the taprooms that he could taste both the beer and the atmosphere of the city. So, on a flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas he decided he would open his own brewery.
A nice place serving beer brewed in the land of 10,000 lakes.
Right away he knew he wanted it to be located near his home in Anoka. Next came the name.
“[I started writing down names], and of the whole list I wrote out 10K was one of the names I had on there,” he said.
So, with a destination and a name chosen all he needed was a partner.
After getting turned down from a few friends, Jesse turned to his sister, Ashley. The pair made their partnership official on Thanksgiving Day 2014 and immediately got to work.
Over the course of the next year, with the help of their parents and grandparents, the two siblings built their Minnesotan brewery.
Then, on Nov. 7, 2015, the nice, locally-owned, family-operated brewery opened its doors and sold its first brewed-in-the-land-of-10,000 lakes beer.
“When I set to build this brewery, visiting all the breweries in all the states I wanted a brewery that really screamed Minnesota. That brought in Minnesota’s values,” Jesse said. “[Because] when you start traveling and you hit a different state month after month, and you realize how important Minnesota Nice is.”
Thus, 10K Brewing was born; a taproom serving nice beer by nice people.
Follow them: on Twitter at @10kbrewing, on Facebook at 10K Brewing or visit their website online.
Owners: Jesse Hauf and Ashley Hauf
Brewer: Jesse Hauf
Location: 2005 2nd Avenue, Anoka
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday: 3 – 10 p.m., Friday: 3 – 11 p.m. and Saturday 12 p.m. – 11 p.m.
You said you knew right from the beginning that 10K was going to be the name. How did you decide on 10K? What does it mean?
Jesse: We have a stigma of nice people up here – Minnesota Nice. I wanted a brewery that was based on that. 10K, brewed in the land of 10,000 lakes, was exactly what I wanted to do to accomplish that goal. People come in here and they ask, “What is 10K? What does that mean?” Because they think it’s running 10Ks at first. But the important thing in a name is that it can be explained in a very short sentence. Ours can. It’s: “Brewed in the land of 10,000 lakes.”
Ah, so the “10k” stands for “10,000 Lakes!” You also have the motto of “Nice Beer, Nice People.” How does that fit into the definition and name of 10K?
Jesse: It’s our whole motto. The fact that our beer is brewed in the land of 10,000 lakes means something to us. It means Minnesota values, nice beer, nice people. That is the focus of what we deliver here at 10K.
Ashley: When you go on our Instagram, Twitter or [other] social media, we always say, “Stop in and enjoy nice beer.” Or, “We’re serving nice beer with great music.” Because it’s important that people understand that we’re not a typical bar. We’re just those nice people from central Minnesota, and you walk in and it’s like your family.
I think that is definitely an important distinction to make and a great atmosphere to set up. You mention the idea of family, and this is a family run place. What has the experience been like working with your sibling and parents?
Ashley: You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which is nice because it’s not like you have to learn that much about each other. But [it can be interesting sometimes.] [For example] our dad is our contractor. He built this place and he does the maintenance and everything. So, when we were designing it and I showed up with a pile of firewood and told him put it on the wall, he knew I wasn’t going to give up and he should just put this wood on the wall. We know each other’s quirks, I guess.
I can see how that would be a benefit and a challenge! So, tell me, how was it you decided on downtown Anoka as your location?
Jesse: I grew up in Coon Rapids and I’d go to the Anoka area all the time. I live in Anoka now, my sister lives right over in Andover. The area needed it and the market was there for it.
While the number of breweries outside of the Twin Cities is expanding exponentially, many of them still are located in the metro. Have you found that your brewery is attracting people from outside of the Anoka area?
Jesse: Absolutely. Our first weekend we actually had a gentleman come in and he said he never even knew [downtown] Anoka was here. He drove by it all the time. He lives in Elk River and works in the cities, so he’d always go to the breweries down in the cities. He came into the brewery, walked around downtown Anoka a little bit and he said, “This is awesome. You’ve got a ton of bars down here, a ton a shops. I’m going to bring my girlfriend down here one day and we’re going to check it out.” The next day he came back in with his girlfriend and said, “We just went to a few shops. We’re going to come in and then we’re going to go grab a bite to eat before we head out of town.” So we’re bringing in people that normally would only go to those breweries down in Minneapolis. We’re kind of helping out the Anoka area.
Ashley: Well, we’re showing people that Anoka is a destination stop. It’s almost like the Stillwater of the north. You can come here, park for the day and you have stuff to do all day long.
Jesse: We’ve got ice cream shops, we have coffee shops, we have antique places, we have clothing stores, we have art centers, we have a theater downtown, we have bars, restaurants; there is just so much here. Everything that you could want.
Ashley: We’ve got the river walk with tons of different events there. It’s really cool.
It sounds like being located in Anoka has not only been great for you but great for the community as well. Being that Anoka didn’t have a brewery before, have you found you have to tailor your beer selection to acclimate new craft beer drinkers?
Jesse: We know we’re located in Anoka. People drink of a lot of Michelob Golden Light, Coors Light, things like that [here.] [There are] not as many craft beer lovers as Minneapolis. So, the beers that we’re brewing are light bodied, smooth and drinkable. The heavy-bodied beers that we brew, we try to brew with adjuncts like blueberries, chocolate, hazelnut or vanilla to help smooth it out, to help ease people into craft beer. We’ve had quite a few people come in here who’ve never had craft beer before have our milk stout and they are completely astonished that a dark beer could taste that good. [But we’re still] going to brew aggressive beers. We have a Double IPA coming up, we have an Imperial Stout coming up. We want to appeal to real craft beer lovers out there. But we want to always make sure that when somebody comes in the door and says “Hey, I drink McGolden Light, what do you have for me?” That we always have more than just one beer to serve them, Our goal is to introduce people in the northern suburbs to craft beer so not only do they continue to visit us, but they continue to visit craft breweries throughout Minnesota.
Sounds like education is a big part of your brewing philosophy. So, let’s talk beer. What do you have on tap right now?
*Listen to Jesse & Ashley explain the beers on tap.
What is your favorite beer?
Jesse: My favorite beer is called the Wooly Bully, it’s an alternative to an IPA. It’s actually an oatmeal rye strong pale ale. It’s a very complex beer. It uses several different types of hops. It’s heavily dry hopped so it has a really good aroma. It has a nice smooth hop taste to it, but it doesn’t have a lasting bitterness that kind of gets stuck in your mouth. It’s very, very smooth. The oatmeal gives it body so it’s not like you’re drinking water, and then the rye gives it that bite at the end. When I was home brewing it was the one that I was like, “This is it. I know I brewed an awesome beer.”
Ashley: Milk stout. Or the Chocolate Moose Nuts.
Jesse: It’s a chocolate hazelnut porter.
Those both sound delicious, but vastly different! Tell me, what is the best selling beer?
Jesse: The Milk Stout
Ashley: That and the Haufeweizen. But the Milk Stout by itself, we have people come all over for that.
Wow! Sounds like it is a really sought after beer. So, what beer would you give someone who is still learning about craft beer?
Jesse: They come in and I usually pull three beers off the taps. I’ll pull the Milk Stout and just do a little sample of that. I’ll pull the Northern Blonde and I’ll pull the Haufeweizen. I’ll give them three beers and I let them try them in order. I’ll explain them to them and usually it depends on the person. Some people will say, “Haufeweizen. That’s the one I want. It’s very familiar to me. It’s safe.” But then some people will say, “You know, this Northern Blonde , this is pretty awesome. Its up there in the alcohol content, it’s a little bit more bitter. I like it.” It’s giving them a few choices and letting them decide versus telling them, “Here, you’ll like this.” Let the customer decide.
What beer would you give a beer snob?
Jesse: The Smoked Porter. The Wooly Bully is a great one. The Minnesota Nice Pale Ale is also a good one too. People who love craft beer love that hop aroma.
Definitely! Craft beer drinkers love their hops and IPAs! What was the first beer that you ever brewed at 10K?
Jesse: For 10K the first beer that we brewed was the Haufeweizen. Because it was October, that fall season at the time, so we wanted a good fall beer.
Ashley: And it’s a good beer to start people off on. Our flights start from light to dark and we always start with the Haufeweizen.
Jesse: Plus, it’s a semi-easy beer to brew for one of the first ones here.
Ashley: The first nerve-wracking beer, scared to death to open a taproom beer.
I can understand why you may want to start with a beer that is easier to brew and easier to introduce people to when first opening! Now that you’ve been open a few months, are there any flavors you’re looking to experiment with in the future?
Jesse: We’re going to eventually be doing Firkins. Firkins will allow us to be able to take a small amount of beer out of each batch and just throw in something, whether it’s fruit, vegetables, candy, coffee or herbs, and experiment. If it doesn’t go well we’re not wasting a lot of beer, and if it does go well it allows us to take more risks.
Ashley: I want to do an IPA with a dill pickle.
Jesse: We are, before that, going to be brewing a blueberry cream ale. It’s been highly requested from our customers that we do something with a berry and particularly a cream ale. We listened and we’re going to deliver.
Ashley: It’d be cool to do a cayenne or a chili pepper. If it’s sweet at first and then spicy later. He wants to do peppermint in the milk stout but I hate peppermint.
Jesse: The milk stout is such a great beer for additions because it was a beer made for additions.
Ashley: Peanut butter.
Sounds like there are a lot of exciting ideas and flavors coming down the pipeline! So, tell me, what is your goal for 10K in the next year, or few years?
Jesse: Since opening now, we’re trying to push and get our name out there more and looking to expand to additional markets and get people up here.
Where do you see the Minnesota brewing scene in five years? 10 years?
Ashley: I hope to see that ability for breweries to have multiple taprooms or multiple locations. So Bent Paddle in Duluth could have a taproom down here, or we could have one up there.
Jesse: It allows us to get our beer into different communities and makes distribution easier so Minnesota beer covers all of Minnesota. [I want to see where] you can go to any bar in Minnesota and get a beer that was brewed here. You don’t have to go to Duluth to get a beer that was brewed in Duluth. You don’t have to go to the cities to get a beer that was brewed in the cities. Strengthening our community that we have here in Minnesota is really important. The expansion would help push out the more domestic beers, like Budweiser, so we go from a 11 – 15 percent market share to a more equitable 30 – 33 percent market share in the next three to fiveyears. That’s where I see Minnesota brewing going.
I think a lot of brewers and craft beer drinkers share that hope. Tell me a little bit about the Pint Perks program you mention on your website.
Jesse: It’s a program that we’re working on. We’re trying to figure out a way where it’s rewarding for our customers. We’re working with a company that’s going to help us manage that. What we want is to reward people for drinking local craft beer. So, when you come into our taproom each time that you visit we register your visit. As you accumulate visits we reward you. It’s much like Caribou Coffee, or loyalty programs at other businesses. We don’t want anyone to use cards because you lose cards. All you need is a phone number. We don’t call you or anything like that, we just send you text messages. So, you come in and you punch in your phone number, and it sends you a text saying, “Hey, you earned one more loyalty visit. You now have three. Your next reward is at five visits.” As the program expands we want to reward people for drinking particular beers. So you come in and there are six beers on tap, if you order all six you get rewarded for that. Because you’re putting in your time and your money to come here and enjoy our beer, we want you to get a little something back from that.
Ashley: Also I think for Pint Perks it could be something where we text out when beers are coming. So, on Tuesday: “Wooly Bully is being released on Friday. Be the first to have it.” So you find out before anyone else.
Jesse: In addition to being rewarded for what you do here, you’re getting info on upcoming events and beers right to the palm of your hand. It’s an exclusive club that everybody is invited to. If it works out well for us we want to potentially show it to other breweries and maybe make it something that connects every brewery in Minnestoa to a single system. That’s off in the future.
So, you mention that the important thing about a name is that it can be summed up in one sentence. How would you define 10K in one word?