Fans of India pale ale will have a reason to celebrate come fall when Nutmeg, Burnsville’s first craft brewery, opens its doors at County Roads 42 and 5.
Businessman M.P. Singh’s original goal wasn’t to open a brewpub but only to perfect the recipe for his own home-brewed IPA. Then he met brewer David P. Jones on a craft-beer forum. Jones was looking for a business opportunity and already had several projects underway in his hometown of Quincy, Ill., and in southern Maryland.
Next came business partners Diljit Singh and Balbir Singh, the owner and chef, respectively, of the India Palace restaurants. (Singh is a common name in the Punjab region of India; they are not related.)
Little by little, the Nutmeg brewpub was born. It will be next door to the India Palace in Burnsville, but a separate business. Construction is almost finished, the utilities are in and the brew tanks have been delivered but not yet installed.
The pub will have a modern theme, with a semi-open kitchen and a glass-enclosed brewing area.
The food will be Balbir Singh’s department. M.P. Singh said he has traveled all over the world but always misses Balbir Singh’s cooking, even in his native India.
“This guy has something magical,” M.P. Singh said. “He wanted to break away from the American version of Indian food. It’s an art for this guy.”
The Singhs and Jones wanted food compatible with IPA. They explored the history of the brew — it was invented by the British, who made it hoppy and bitter so it could withstand long sea voyages without spoiling. British Colonial cuisine seemed like a natural fit with lots of fresh produce and lean protein roasted in clay ovens.
The beer? IPA, obviously. Jones said there will be two initially, a West Coast-inspired brew with citrus and grapefruit-like flavors with a light malt profile that showcases the hops, and either an Imperial IPA or a spruce tip-inspired IPA. There also will be an amber, a wheat beer and a porter, for those who don’t hanker specifically for IPA.
Jones said the business setup should work well. He has the brewing experience; M.P. Singh has the business experience, and the Singhs have restaurant experience.
“They are totally separate monsters,” Jones said. “It’s very hard to find all of those aspects, so we paired nicely.”
M.P. Singh, a CPA, doesn’t plan to leave his job as vice president of Delphax Technologies in Bloomington, but will be president of the business. The Singhs will be partners, and eventually Jones will be, too.
M.P. Singh said he isn’t too interested in selling growlers from the microbrewery. He’s worried that the quality can’t be maintained if the beer is kept at the wrong temperature or stored too long.
If he changes his mind, though, the city of Burnsville is prepared. The City Council is loosening its off-sale liquor ordinance to allow three more licenses outside the Burnsville Center area.