For this week's Microbrewery of the Week, we traveled out of the Twin Cities metro to Cold Spring, Minn., home of Cold Spring Brewing Company and the brand new Third Street Brewhouse. While Cold Spring Brewing Company has been around since 1874 (making non-alcoholic drinks during prohibition), the brand new Third Street Brewhouse is trying to break out of its older sibling's shadow with a new name, new logo and new beers. We spoke with Doug DeGeest, VP and General Manager of Third Street Brewhouse.
How did your brewery come to be?
In the last 10 years, [Cold Spring Brewery's] beer production hasn't been what we wanted it to be. Our products have not been stellar and it's mostly because our equipment on the brewing side is very antiquated. So we decided if we're going to be in the beer business, let's be in the craft beer business. We thought the best way to do it was go full speed ahead and we got our owner to allow us to build a $12 million new brewhouse. The brewhouse includes brewing tanks and additional capacity of fermentation banks. We wanted to segregate ourselves a little bit from the Cold Spring Brewing Company. We're very proud of who we are but we're really excited about where we're going so [the new brewhouse] is a totally separate building.
How did you name your brewery?
We knew we wanted to do a separate name [from Cold Spring Brewing Company], so what were we going to call this place? One of our people was outside looking around and across the street was a street sign that said Red River Avenue going one direction and on the intersection it said Third Street. Third Street happens to be what appeared to be an alleyway that runs between our new Third Street Brewhouse and our packaging facility. Turns out, that was an abandoned road at some time. We thought, "Wow, that's kind of a cool name. Every town's got a Third Street in it. Someone has to have [copyrighted] Third Street it's so common." Of course, nobody had it so we said, "Let's take it!" [The name] says who we are, who we're going to be and it speaks to our foundation.
What's your favorite beer you make?
You never ask a beer guy what his favorite beer is. That's like asking a parent which one of their children is their favorite. So I will say all three [Lost Trout, a brown ale; Rise to the Top, a cream ale; and Bitter Neighbor, a black IPA] have their own unique characters and I love all three of them. I have five kids so I know that's the right answer! [laughs] If we didn't like them, we wouldn't make them, of course.
What's your favorite beer someone else makes?
I'm a fan of Summit Brewing Company. I know Mark Stutrud quite well; he's a fan of ours and we're a fan of his. That's the beautiful thing about being in Minnesota. We have a lot of wonderful breweries and brewery people. When I'm not drinking my beer, I'm drink any other Minnesota beer, whether it be from Schell's, Summit, Surly, Fulton... that would be my second favorite beer: any other Minnesota beer.
What are your plans for the brewery's future?
We are not planning on selling beer out of our facility immediately. We'll do a constant evaluation on if we ever think we want to start selling growlers out of our facility, that will be a year-by-year, month-by-month, week-by-week kind of analysis. You will see us do seasonals and we will do specialty beers. Those will come once we establish our main core beers. We're already working on seasonals and specialty beers.
Describe the local craft beer scene in 11 words or less.
Great beer, great people, great expectations. It's here to stay.
If you're not drinking beer, what are you drinking?
I'm not a wine guy. If I'm not drinking beer, I'm drinking milk. Ice cold milk.
Third Street Brewhouse is the latest addition to the Cold Spring Brewing Company family. Northern lagers and John Henry beers join a line of non-alcoholic drinks that are produced in Cold Spring. Third Street Brewhouse products will be available in July.
In the meantime, find Third Street Brewhouse on Facebook and twitter.
Third Street Brewhouse is located in Cold Spring, Minn., just 90 minutes northwest of the Twin Cities.
Previous Microbreweries of the Week:
Boom Island Brewing Commpany
Steel Toe Brewing
Surly Brewing Co.
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