Over the last five-plus 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 visiting one of Lake Minnetonka’s newest breweries – Wayzata Brew Works.
Even though Minnesota is indeed the “Land Of 10,000 Lakes”, there are still far too few breweries you can literally drive a boat up to and enjoy a beer.
Now, you can do just that on Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata.
Employing the old adage “if you don’t do it, someone else will”, Wayzata Brew Works owner Robert Klick recently soft-opened the brewery, which is located inside an old boat works building (more on the history of that below).
“No one has done (a brewery) actually on Lake Minnetonka, so it’s a great location. So, there was a need,” Klick said.
At the brewery, you can enjoy a large palate range of craft beer — and enjoy Lake Minnetonka without the Lake Minnetonka costs.
“Costs for the people, I call it!” Klick said, laughing. “It’s a place where you can have a pint, hang out, you know, order pizza from anywhere around town … bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy Lake Minnetonka without spending a fortune.”
When they’re not enjoying the view, patrons can also check the large brewery system, which is enclosed in glass. The brewery will also offer live music!
For more on the brewery, check out the interview with Klick below!
How did you decide on this location and could you talk more about the history of it?
KLICK: It was a fluke that this (building) was just reclaimed. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time, when the owner was just taking over the building. He had vacancies here.
It was an old boat works building. They built boats here. Old wooden boats. It was a staple for the city of Wayzata, as far as Royal C. Moore, is one of the first residents of Wayzata that started the manufacturing here. He also opened the first state bank here and the first car garage when cars started coming around.
What’s also unique is the first street car boats, the yellow Minihaha (steam)boat that we see on the lake that’s been restored that floats around. Parts of that boat, I think the hull, was built here and then they shipped it to downtown and put the streetcar part of it. That was designed by this Royal Moore and, yeah, the boat has so much nautical history here. Such a part of Wayzata here.
So can you dock boats there?
Yes. We have 16 municipal spaces right next door to us that people can pull up to and park their boat. And we have a dock where people can come in and grab a growler. So, we have a “boat up” if you will.
You guys have already had a “soft” opening, but are you planning anything else?
We’re shooting for a Grand Opening on the 13th through the 15th (of May). It’d be right outside our front door, lake-side. Music and festivities. Kind of a tent festival kind of thing. That’s what we’re pushing for.
We’ve been open for a little while now, it’s been a really soft opening. We’ve done no advertising. It’s been great because we’ve had a nice sized crowds in here, just manageable, so we can gauge what beers people are liking.
On to the real business: beer. What kind of beers will you be offering and what is the philosophy behind them? Schill
We want to do a large palate range because we are a destination location. We don’t focus on one particular style of beer, like some breweries will just have pure Belgian beers. We want to serve what people are asking for.
We’ve got an IPA with a real great hoppy feel to it. We have a Kolsh – lighter beer, but still full-bodied. An English ale and a Chocolate Stout that people are really digging.
Now, we’ve got two more beers that are coming out: a light lager beer, which will be something to drink lakeside in hot weather. We also have a wheat beer that’s going to be coming out of the vessels soon.
By Grand Opening, we should have six beers on tap, plus a root beer that we’re doing for the non-alcoholic drinkers.
Who’s your brewer?
My brewer is Adam Schill. He’s a brewer that has been brewing in other breweries in the Minneapolis area and has a world of experience. So, we sit down and describe beers we’re looking for and the he just takes it from there.
What’s your favorite beer at Wayzata – and why?
I mean, I like all of them! It’s like asking “who’s your favorite child?” (laughs) Each one has its own characteristics.
You are offering live music too — how’s that going to work?
We’re booking bands regional. Acoustic acts, jazzy music, blues … we’re not going for one style, just like our beers!
We’re just going to see how it goes as we book.
Do you and your brother, who runs Excelsior Brewing, have some kind of friendly competition?
Not competition. “Coopertition” is the word that everybody is using right now. Back in the days before prohibition, every town had a brewery. They had a butcher, baker and brewer. So it’s only natural that there’s one over in Wayzata and one in Excelsior and soon there’ll probably be one in Golden Valley.
They call (brewing) the bearded brotherhood. In our case, it’s literally blood. (laughs)