Northgate Brewing celebrated its second anniversary on Saturday, January 31st in grand style with a Big Beer Birthday Bash at its taproom and brewery. Located at 780 Harding Street SE, in Minneapolis, the brewery has enjoyed explosive growth over the last two years brewing selling a variety of English- and American-style beers.
As is a common refrain in craft brewing, home brewers Adam Sjogren, Todd Slininger and Tuck Carruthers turned their passion for brewing into a profession. But it wasn’t a straightforward path to founding and running their brewing business. Carruthers was burned out in his commercial real estate job and was seeking a career change. He left his real estate job and attended brewing school at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illnois. Enrolled in the international program, he studied brewing in Munich, Germany. Whether it was serendipity or fate, Sjogren and Slininger had developed a business plan for launching a brewery and they pitched it in a business class that Carruther’s wife was attending. She notified her husband of their plan, and the three founding partners came together.
Northgate started out with a meager 7-barrel system in 780 square foot location in Northeast Minneapolis. But soon after the three partners launched their brewery, they discovered that the facility would not support the demand for their beer. Northgate moved to the Harding street address that affords the operation 7,400 total square feet, and it allowed them to triple brewing capacity. At the present time, the brewery operation houses a Specific Mechanical 20-barrel brewhouse, and it has additional space to expand.
When asked about the company’s aggressive growth, Sjogren said, “I was surprised. Our original business plan started with a smaller space and it was a three-year plan, but it only took months. I think that our style of beer is not common in this market and we wanted to bring the beers to market that we liked… the English-style beer because there was no representation here [Twin Cities]. So when we started, we were either going to be smart or stupid. For the coming year, we are going to continue making the best beer we can make. But we are going to control our growth and never let it get away from us. And we are going to explore the bigger side of English-style beers.”
To celebrate the auspicious anniversary, Northgate offered a three-bomber pack with a sifter and bottle opener for $35. The anniversary pack included Fiddle Smasher Scotch Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Old Ale.
A fun and festive atmosphere permeated the tap room, which was near or at capacity most of the day. Morris dancers and the Gentleman’s Anti-Temperance League entertained those in attendance. Rousing bagpipe music added to the ambiance of the event and was fitting for the brewery that specializes in British-style ales, bitters and stouts.
A wide selection of their English and American ales were on tap, including Wall’s End (the self-described flagship English Brown Ale), Parapet ESB (English Pale Extra Special Bitter), Maggies Leap (Sweat Stout), Golden Smash (single malt and single hop IPA), Red Headed Piper (Irish Red Ale), Stronghold (porter), Get Together IPA (American Session IPA), and Winter Soldier (American Amber Ale).