By Cole Premo

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 a brewery within a massive market, Eastlake Craft Brewing in Minneapolis.

For 13 years, Ryan Pitman drove Metro Transit’s Route 21 bus.

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According to Pitman, it took him 3,000 times of driving by the Midtown Global Market before it finally hit him: The Powderhorn area of Minneapolis – specifically the market — is the perfect place to provide great craft beer.

“There wasn’t any current (brewery) within a mile,” he said. “And there was food in here, which is an added bonus.”

So, Pitman, who was an avid homebrewer at the time, jumped on the opportunity and the result: Eastlake Craft Brewery on the southeastern corner of Midtown Global Market. It opened in late 2014.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

There, owner and headbrewer Pitman creates a diverse range of beers for the diverse crowd the market attracts.

Eastlake’s more notable beers include Nicollet Mauler Black IPA, Shoot From The Hip Belgian IPA, Blueliner Pale Ale and the Mud In Your Eye Brown Ale.

The Nicollet Mauler is Pitman’s favorite.

“It’s sort of my baby — the first one I made,” he said. “It’s maltier than most Black IPAs. I was going for a bitter chocolate with raspberry kind of characters to it.”

The brewery has 11 taps, too, so there will always be more to choose from.

For more on the brewery, check out the brief interview with below!

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

What’s you background with beer?

I was a home brewer for six years. Got really into it. Tried to teach myself a lot, everything I could, read everything I could.

What’s it like being situated right next to all these food options?

It’s great. Yeah. Definitely gives people a reason to come in. Lot of fun to have the variety.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

So, what’s the philosophy behind your beers?

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We brew what we like to drink. So, because of our location in the market, we want to have a good variety. Because there’s a lot of different kinds of people who are not just settling onto one certain style. So, we’re doing a lot of American styles of beer, but we also do some Belgian styles. We’re sort of doubling down on our sours coming up.

Lot of hoppy beers. We brew seasonally, so you’ll see more multi-beers in the winter than you will in the summer.

What would be your standards or flagship brews?

The four that we’re bottling and distributing around town are Black IPA (Nicollet Mauler), Belgian IPA (Shoot From The Hip), we also have a Blueliner Pale Ale and the Mud In Your Eye Brown Ale. Those are the four that we have on all the time.

We also have an American Pale beer (Laeger-Hagemeister). Super light. We have that on all the time, too.

You guys have an interesting décor.

I was just decorating with what I thought was fun. If I thought it’d be awesome, I did it.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Do you guys have any upcoming events I should be aware of?

There’s so much going on the next couple weeks.

The Greenway Glow is a fundraiser for the Greenway — we’re hosting a party for them. They’re doing a bike ride and 5K on the Greenway. That’s in June (18th).

We’ll be at the Beer Dabbler, the Summer Dabbler, the whole thing.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Future goals?

We just want to keep doing the beers we do. Make more of it. Maybe start doing some restaurants around town.

How’s distribution right now?

Great! We’re in like 35 stores right now and two restaurants. We’re just starting to do that.

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)