The Creative Enterprise Zone in St. Paul will soon be home to another brewery. In early 2015, Lake Monster, currently contract brewing in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, will open a brewery in the Vandalia Tower. Known for Empty Rowboat IPA and Calhoun Claw Pilsener, Lake Monster will add more beers to the lineup once brewing in the new space begins, and has plans for a taproom as well.
"We looked at over 50 sites [across the metro], but when we saw the Vandalia site we knew that it was going to be a great location," says brew master Matt Lange, citing the proximity to both I-94 and the newly operational Green Line LRT.
For the building site, Lake Monster is set to be the first tenant and is working with real estate company First & First to develop the location. Lake Monster will first begin production brewing in the new location, crafting beers for distribution before opening a taproom by next summer. The plan is to get a feel for their new operations before deciding if a bottling or canning line will be installed.
As for the taproom, the brewery would like to install six to eight taps, with their two flagships as year-round beers, complemented by seasonal and experimental beers. "We hope to have some cask conditioned and nitro beers," Lange says. "We also hope to experiment with some unusual beers like Finish Sahti (an ale brewed with Juniper berries) and Berlinner Weiss (a tart wheat beer). The taproom is where we get to have some fun, try different things and test them out on the public."
First & First has also designed the Aria and Broadway buildings in the metro. Bang Brewing and Urban Growler are currently based in the Creative Enterprise Zone and the new Surly complex is being built close by. Lake Monster first opened in 2013.
Send your story tips to Hot Dish.