St. Croix-area micro-brew options are multiplying so quickly they filled a feature story in this magazine this past June. Now, two more breweries are pulling up a seat to the proverbial table.
Hop and Barrel Brewing, Hudson
Attorney Justin Terbeest called a friend to tell him about a crazy idea he had: to open a micro-brewery in the heart of Hudson.
“I said, ‘Hey, I’m doing this. Am I crazy? Want to join me?’” recalls Terbeest. To be fair, Terbeest isn’t just a lawyer: He’s a two-time National Homebrewing Contest finalist who’s been working on his hobby on nights and weekends for years.
And the friend? He’s Brian Priefer, an established local brewer with American Sky, Lucid and Inbound on his résumé. It didn’t take much to pique his interest in what an imaginative taproom would add to Hudson’s bustling, newly-open-to-breweries downtown.
“Within five minutes, he was in,” says Terbeest. Hop and Barrel Brewing Co. opens this fall in what was the Negret Winery. Its taproom offers panoramic views of passersby and a glass-walled, walk-in cooler that lets visitors in on the entire brewing process. There’s a separate beer hall-style space, plus a heated patio that seats 50.
“We’re taking a rounded approach to quality beer,” Terbeest says. He says they plan to take advantage of the flexibility of its smaller size, taking time to experiment. “We’re going to play to what we feel like doing at first, until we learn what people like and respond to,” he says.
With 16 taps and a 15-barrel brewing system—with extra fermentation space—they have the space to play. In the works are a Midwest lager, imaginative IPAs and other new brews. Terbeest isn’t sure of the exact flavor profiles the beers will have or what they’ll be called. “It’s like a baby—you can’t really name a beer until you’ve met it,” Terbeest says with a chuckle.
St. Croix Brewing, Stillwater
How many people can trace their family tree back to 1680s Holland, with nine confirmed generations of brewmasters since? Tod Fyten can. “It must be in my blood,” he says. He learned the basics of brewing as a kid watching his family. He’s now owner-operator of a family of breweries, including Fytenburg Brewing Co. in St. Paul and Stagecoach Brewing near Rochester, Minn. Now the Fyten brewing dynasty is staking a claim up the hill from downtown Stillwater, opening a third taproom that’s true to his penchant for historic buildings and brews.
The name isn’t new: St. Croix Brewing has been around since the 1860s, when Stillwater’s population was mostly local loggers and their families. It had a resurgence in the 1990s, and Fyten has owned it since 2003—brewing beers out of St. Paul. Fyten is finally acting on his dream of brewing among Stillwater’s foot traffic and historic vibe. “We’re going for this old-world experience you don’t generally see in other taprooms,” Fyten says. He plans to work with the small rooms in the historic Brunswick house to create intimate, pub-like spaces. A biergarten will allow conversations to spill outside during the warmer months.
Madeline Fyten plans to add her own touch to the new arm of the family business. She’s as interested in great beer as her husband—the pair met at a beer tasting, and she’s been involved in every step of the business. They’re exploring local options for simple menu items, building the tap list and aiming to become a comfortable and relaxed spot for tourists and locals alike.