LynLake denizens rejoice: The "coming soon" sign has come down and LynLake Brewery is officially open for business. This weekend the new neighborhood taproom is pouring its offerings for the first time, inside the iconic former theater building located near the intersection of Lake and Lyndale.
See also: LynLake Brewery Sets an Opening Date
After a grueling construction/remodel of the building, which had been vacant since 2006, former construction workers Paul Cosette and Mark Anderson, along with Peter Heidorn, Joel Carlson, and Justin Skyberg, can hope for clear skies this weekend as they pack thirsty neighbors inside their spacious 150-seat taproom. There will eventually be a rooftop patio, though it's not quite ready for the public yet.
Inside, the space is wonderfully restored with original brick, murals from Rogue Citizen, and various repurposed industrial-themed materials.
The brewery is starting with a taproom-only philosophy, selling growlers and pouring in-house. The owners will later explore neighborhood bars and restaurants and perhaps bottles or cans, after getting settled.
LynLake is opening with five beers on tap: Polyboy Gold, Rubbish Oat Amber, Sideburns Milk Stout, Yea Yea Pale Ale, and Take 6 IPA, all of which are safe beers with a sessionable quality. Pints will cost $5-$6 with tasting pours at $1.50. The taproom will be open Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m., Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.
You picked a very distinct building. How does that influence the identity of your brewery? Does it fit what you had in mind when you started the search?
Mark Anderson: When we started looking for a home for our new brewery, we had several items on our wish list: We wanted a distinctive building that would match our distinctive beers, high ceilings, a very open space, a rooftop deck, and an active community. We never dreamed we would get them all, but the Lyndale theater building clearly is a home run.
It sounds like you had a community, even neighborhood, concept from the start and your name further suggests that. Were you looking in LynLake all along? What about the neighborhood fits the brewery?
Paul Cossette: It took us a while to find the right community and building. I would say we spent four months combing the city to find a location and a space that met all our needs. We love the energy of LynLake, the fact that many of our customers can walk to the brewery, the variety of food and entertainment options you find in LynLake.
Joel Carlson: I spent many evenings in the last few years switching up my bike commute so that I could scout different Minneapolis neighborhoods for setting up a brewery. As I started to point the wheels toward home, I'd roll down Lyndale, then stop and creep on the Theater Antiques windows. Then I'd cross the street and creep more. Then the alley. I'm sure I began to look a little suspect as day after day I'd stop and stare into a vacant building. It was surreal to discover that Paul and Mark had the same space in mind. How will the neighborhood affect the brewery once open? Are you open to changing your vision to meet the needs of a changing neighborhood? Does that community-first approach potentially limit your room for growth later?
Paul Cossette: We really hope to become a part of the local neighborhood fabric. When you say, "let's meet at the brewery'" we want everyone to know the plan.
Joel Carlson: I will always brew the beers that we are excited about. The goal is to share those ideas and flavors with customers and to push them to experiment with us. I won't fall into brewing the safest and most mass-requested styles. There will be plenty of one-offs and seasonals to keep a growing neighborhood and any visitors happy.
We were always looking to establish a brewery in a neighborhood and draw our business primarily from that: a place where local people can get together and socialize over good, local beer.
What are your beers like? Is there a common philosophy? Most new breweries use the same safe descriptors, but it's hard to say what "balanced and bold" mean when used in the same sentence, or "approachable and creative." Will you aim for more traditional styles or unique twists on those styles?
Paul Cossette: We agree with you -- we are not sure what a beer tastes like that is "approachable and creative." Our beers will be made with the best ingredients, without regard for the limitations meeting high production can create. Expect a mix of traditional styles and our own unique variations -- new traditions.
Joel Carlson: Enhanced styles. Turning the beer styles that fly under the radar into something you appreciate by amplifying their characteristics. Simplicity in recipe design is key to turning up the volume on those flavors that I want at the forefront.
How important was it to have somebody with commercial brewing experience [Joel]?
Paul Cossette: Critical. We simply will make better beers because of the extensive experience Joel has.
Joel Carlson: Professional brewing is about workflow. Recipe design is the fun part, but the reality lies in safe day-to-day operations, multi-tasking, and the ability to crank out a brew schedule without stripping the brewer's energy level to have a beer at the end of the day. Having experience in multiple brewhouses has exposed me to a variety of ways to accomplish the end goal: consistent beer.
What's your favorite beer from another brewery?
Paul Cossette: Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing, Surly Bender, Sisyphus Brett's IPA Joel Carlson: Steel Toe Size 7 or Victory Prima Pils. Lee Ankrum: Any Deschutes or Oskar Blues Justin Skyberg: Odell's The Meddler
LynLake Brewery 2934 Lyndale Ave. S. 612-326-1999
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