The site at 1121 Quincy St. NE. has long been forgotten, a graveyard of auto parts and a school bus garage for the city of Minneapolis. Sort of a dumping ground really. The grit of the space is on full display as you drive down the street. Broken bricks protruding from the street — leading you to a beautiful 1913 brick building lost in time.
The space is now home to Able Seedhouse and Brewery, a project started by Casey Holley in hopes of connecting the farm to the brewery. “We’ll succeed or fail with this project right in front of people” says Holley. “We want to work with local farms.” Casey is referring to the fact that his project brewery will be using locally farmed grain that is grown specifically for flavor instead of yield, and they will do all their own malting on-site. “We liked the site for a lot of reasons” says Holley. It allows us to grow and malt on-site, and there will be tons of parking available. Just a really good fit for us.”
The plan is to showcase this process when they open before the end of the year with a screen wall that allows the customer direct contact with the process, one that is fairly unknown to consumers even though the craft beer movement has been booming. There’s a good chance that this project is one of a kind in the United States where only Coors and Rogue Ales are known to do their own malting on site. “I don’t think there are very many. There might not be any that do both [malting and brewing on the same site] in the country” says Holley.
The space itself is fairly intimate, yet open complete with a charred wood backdrop that dresses up the refurbished Douglas fir bar. An outdoor patio and fire pit will complete the space eventually. “I don’t want to build a beer hall. I want an intimate space for people to gather” he says. Capacity will sit around a couple thousand barrels in the first year which will be plenty considering they are only bringing four beers to market initially.
You can expect to find beers made with oats from River Falls, Wisc., wheat from Browns Valley, Minn., and barley from Kennedy, Minn. The focus will be on quality and balance in their beer program which will be directed by Bobby Blasey — who you might recognize from Mankato Brewery. “He’s a great guy and brewer, and a good fit for us at Able Seedhouse” according to Holley.
Holley spent some time residing in the Bay Area, a place he’d like to call home again one day — and it shows with this farm-to-table project. “It was important that no matter what, this project was founded on a sound purpose. This is a story that hasn’t been told yet.”
A unique story indeed.