A 1970s industrial condo development on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis still sits empty, but a group of co-founders responsible for the popular local beer Miraculum have dreams for what will come together within those walls.
The quartet, led by head brewer Jeremy Pryes, plan to open Pryes Brewing Co. and taproom (pryesbrewing.com, 612-787-7937) in the Near North neighborhood by mid-2017, five years after launching their initial beer.
"Everyone is always saying 'When are you going to make the next beer?' " Pryes said. "Now we are."
Just which beers they'll be creating is a matter they are keeping close to the vest. But the goal is to open the new establishment with four styles in all, and even then they're not planning to name them — at least not right away. Continuous development, you see, is kind of their thing.
Pryes (pronounced "prize") first created Miraculum — an American IPA currently sold at 51 bars and restaurants around Minneapolis and St. Paul — nine years ago, when his full-time job was still in IT. It wasn't until 2012, however, when Pryes recruited partners Ben Schuster, Mike Corneille and Allan Flinn, that the newly formed Pryes Brewing Co. began distributing the brew to places around town.
In the years since, Pryes has continued to experiment with his product, choosing to create variations on Miraculum rather than producing a new beer. He estimates he's made 28 unique versions of the beer, infusing it with fruits and spices after brewing.
Take, for example, his play on an Old Fashioned cocktail — Miraculum infused with tart cherries, orange peel and white wine yeast — or another, nameless infusion of coriander and lemon peel. He's currently making a cask for the second anniversary of Ward 6 (858 Payne Av., St. Paul, ward6stpaul.com, 651-348-8181): a blend of oranges, strawberries and pink peppercorns.
"I've really explored a lot of flavors with it," said Pryes, who noted he's never made the same variation twice.
He plans to use the same lighthearted attitude in creating the new brews and leaving their flavors open-ended.
"It allows for experimentation and creation," Cornielle said. "Once you name something, there are expectations and you're kind of locked in."
The new location — Pryes is currently brewing out of Inbound BrewCo. (701 N. 5th St., Mpls., inboundbrew.co) will allow for more production of Miraculum, first and foremost, to meet the demand of the 38 bars and restaurants waiting to carry the product.
As for the space itself at 1401 West River Road N., the plans are for a sprawling 5,000-square-foot taproom in the front of a 6,000-square-foot brewing facility housed behind a glass wall. The plan is for three features distinct from what other brewpubs in the area are doing.
First, a kayak dock just across the street, off the Mississippi, will potentially provide a frothy pit stop for paddlers. Second, they're planning to build out a small wash area into a full commercial kitchen. The specifics of what they'll do with it are yet to come, but the partners are currently talking with a couple of different local eateries about installing a rotating pop-up kitchen.
"We're still figuring it out, but we didn't want to bring in food trucks and we didn't want to compete with Surly [Brewing Co. (520 Malcolm Av. SE., Mpls., surlybrewing.com, 763-999-6526), which also owns the Brewer's Table at the same address]," Corneille said.
And the last unique feature? Feather bowling: a game similar to bocce ball (a wooden "cheese wheel" is rolled down a lane at a stationary feather) that originated in Belgium.
As brewpubs continue to crop up around the Twin Cities, one recently announced its closing.
Harriet Brewing (3036 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls., harrietbrewing.com, 612-315-4633), a nearly six-year-old mainstay in south Minneapolis, will shutter on Jan. 31, founder Jason Sowards told the Star Tribune last week.
Sowards said he and his staff at the Minnehaha Avenue brewery and taproom — which is known for its live music and focus on traditional styles such as Belgian ales and German lagers — couldn't come to terms with the building's owner with regard to a rent increase, necessary repairs to the brewery and potential plans to build an apartment complex on the adjacent parking lot (Harriet Brewing regularly used this space for festivals).
Sowards first looked at other locations, then ultimately decided it didn't make financial sense.
"It's sad but at the same time it's a huge weight lifted," he said. "It was getting pretty tough. So it's time to move on and see what's down the road."
Rachel's (222 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls.) a restaurant and bar across the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis, meanwhile, said goodbye last weekend. Owner John Rimarcik of Rimarcik's Masters Restaurant Associates — which also runs Annie's Parlor (313 14th Av. SE., Mpls., facebook.com/dinkytownannies, 612-379-0744), Monte Carlo (219 3rd Av. N., Mpls., montecarlomn.com, 612-333-5900) and four other properties — is planning to renovate the space and reopen with a new name and concept sometime next year.
"I have no idea what it's going to be, whatsoever," he said of the former Rachel's, which was open for five years. "But it's going to be a complete renovation. Not a pot or a pan is going to be saved."
The Walker Art Center (1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., walkerart.org, 612-375-7600) announced some key kitchen staff positions at Esker Grove — the soon-to-be restaurant occupying a new pavilion facing the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden — last week, and many diners around the Twin Cities are likely already familiar with the lineup.
Doug Flicker of Piccolo (4300 Bryant Av. S., Mpls., piccolompls.com, 612-827-8111) and Sandcastle (4955 W. Nokomis Pkwy., Mpls., sandcastlempls.com, 612-722-5550) will helm a kitchen managed by T.J. Rawitzer — who supervised the menus at Tiny Diner (1024 E. 38th St., Mpls., tinydiner.com, 612-767-3322), Third Bird (1612 Harmon Pl., Mpls., thethirdbirdmpls.com, 612-767-9495) and other Kim Bartmann properties. The bar program will be headed by Jon Olson, a veteran of Icehouse, La Belle Vie and Bradstreet Craftshouse. Meanwhile Kim Tong, a longtime Piccolo staffer, will be the restaurant's general manager.
The restaurant is expected to begin welcoming guests in mid-December.
In the North Loop, one of Minneapolis' fastest growing food communities, a new bagel company has taken roots.
Rise Bagel Co. (risebagel.com), which has supplied breakfast carbs to the Twin Cities since 2014, is opening its first brick-and-mortar location at 530 N. 3rd St., a former candy factory.
"It is time to take this next step and make our dream a full-time reality," said co-owner Kate Lloyd in a statement. "We are excited to establish roots in the North Loop neighborhood and become a daily destination for those who seek an elevated bagel experience."
Several blocks southeast, in the heart of the changing downtown area surrounding U.S. Bank Stadium, the new Radisson Red (609 S. 3rd St., Mpls., radissonred.com/minneapolis, 612-252-5400) prepares to unveil its OuiBar + Ktchn on Nov. 16.
The lighthearted eatery, which boasts a larger-than-life Adam Turman mural that wraps across the space, will feature an array of local beers on tap and snack-minded offerings from lead cook Wil Vonmandel (previously of Saffron and Travail Kitchen & Amusements).
What's with the name? According to hotel curator Ryan Foley, the name was spawned one night when the branding team was sitting in a bar in Glasgow, "spit-balling." In Scotland, apparently, bars are fondly referred to as "wee bars." That phrase stuck — except for some reason, in French form. While they were at it, they thought they'd rework the spelling of "kitchen."
As the Radisson Red folks might say: Voilá, lassy.
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