HammerHeart Brewery taproom opens in Lino Lakes

  • Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 20, 2013 - 3:07 PM

The owners of HammerHeart Brewery fashioned their beers and taproom after Nordic and Celtic traditions.

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Patrons can choose from a variety of beers – all of them ales – in the taproom. The line was out the door on opening weekend.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

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It’s brew rooted in old Nordic and Celtic cultures.

The new Lino Lakes taproom where it’s poured is modeled after great Viking and Celtic drinking halls of bygone eras. The brewers say their goal is to create beers rich in flavor, as well as historic roots and wisdom.

HammerHeart Brewery Co. opened its taproom at 7785 Lake Dr. this month. On opening weekend, the line extended out the door.

“Essentially what we wanted is a Viking drinking hall — simple, full of wood, with no televisions. It’s a haven for creativity and conversation; it’s just about the beer,” said HammerHeart co-owner Nathaniel Chapman.

Each beer — all ales on a single-infusion English-style system — has a lore of its own. Beers include Olaf the Stout, named after the brutal Norwegian king who ended the Pagan era in Norway, and Dublin Raid peat smoked red ale, named after the Viking warriors who left Scandinavia in search of land and riches.

Owners Chapman and Austin Lunn, who are brothers-in-law, spent years preparing for HammerHeart’s opening. Chapman, 30, lived in Minnesota and worked at Cummins before going full-time at the brewery. Lunn, 30, the head brewer, interned at a brewery in Norway and then moved to Minnesota from Louisville, Ky., to start the business.

An idea born in Norway

On the pub’s second weekend, Lunn drank beer with patrons and shared his tale. In Louisville, he said, he was a social worker focused on children’s issues. His appetite for brewing was whetted when he got a home brewing kit on his 25th birthday.

On their 2009 honeymoon, he and his wife, Bekah, wandered into the Haand Bryggeriet, a Norwegian microbrewery. “We had been camping in the mountains,” he said. “It was so beautiful.”

The young couple volunteered to help out for the day at the microbrewery. Lunn poured grain into the mill. The work wasn’t glamorous, but he connected with the staff.

In 2011, he returned to the brewery to complete an internship in preparation for the opening of HammerHeart.

Lunn’s mentor, Andreas Riis, came from Norway in July to help brew beer for HammerHeart’s opening.

It isn’t just about making good beer. The pair fuses their heritage into the look of the taproom and the taste of the brew.

“My dad is a historian. History is a big passion for me,” Lunn said. “Everything we do tips our hats to the people who came before us.”

Most of their beer has a smoky flavor. That, too, is steeped in history.

“Back in the day, you cured your malt over fire,” Lunn said. “It’s like history in a glass.”

The brewery itself is named after an album by the Swedish metal band Bathory. On a recent Saturday afternoon, metal music played in the background as an eclectic mix of people mingled at the bar and at two long tables in the taproom.

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