If you like to drink beer, chances are you have at least thought about brewing beer. However, brewing beer that you will actually enjoy drinking is easier said than done. I once had a batch of homebrewed beer explode in my basement. Explaining to my wife, who was channeling the rage of 1,000 Mussolinis, why her laundry basket of delicates had a bazillion shards of glass in it was a harrowing experience to say the least. If picking glass out of your significant other’s unmentionables isn’t your idea of a great Saturday afternoon, then you need to brew a batch of beer at Vine Park.
Vine Park Caters to people who want to enjoy brewing their own beer, but don’t want any of the hassles of sanitation or storage of beer. As one of only a handful of brew on premises businesses in the country, MN is lucky to have them. From coworkers getting together for team building to a family looking for something fun to do with their kid on a weekend; Vine Park has you covered.
When owner Andy Grage invited me in to brew a couple batches and see the process firsthand, I could not say no. While I have known about Vine Park for a long time, I have never been in to brew a batch and so I was grateful to get the opportunity to brew a few batches. I arrived at 1 on a Friday afternoon. Andy informed me that I would be brewing a total of 2 different batches. Andy chose Belgian Wit and Bavarian Hefeweizen because they are beers that people love to come in and grab a growler or two of in the summer.
Brewing at Vine Park
Andy had everything set to go for me when I got there which is a huge reason to brew a batch there. All you need to worry about is showing up! Vine Park provides you with a recipe sheet that explicitly explains every step of the process. The first thing that I had to do was fill up a large pitcher from the drum of malt extract. The malt extract is what gives the yeast food to convert sugars into alcohol. After doing that, I poured the malt into the kettle and began measuring out my hop additions.
Once the wort (water with malt extract) was boiling, I got to enjoy some of the Vine Park beers. They have roughly 72 recipes to choose from. On the recipe sheet, Vine Park gives commercial equivalents of what the beers are so you have a pretty good sense of what you are getting yourself into. They brew everything from a pilsner to a stout. I enjoyed their Lazy Days Pale Ale and Capitol Hill Pils.
Andy says that a lot of folks who brew go across the street to Bennett’s to grab a drink while the beer boils for the hour. However, I recommend sitting down and chatting with Andy. He has been in the MN beer scene for a long while going all the way back to when Northern Brewer was just getting started. Andy has great stories and loves to talk beer.
Once the beer is done boiling, it is run through a chiller and the yeast is added. At that point, your 12.5 gallons of beer goes into the cooler area to ferment for a few weeks. When the beer is ready, you come in and bottle your batch. You make roughly 72 22 oz. bottles of beer. If you have a kegerator, you can also bring in your corny kegs and fill them with your beer.
While we were doing our thing, there was a couple with a youngster bottling the batch that they brewed. The kidlet was enjoying the root beer while mom and dad did most of the heavy lifting. So, if you are thinking that this outfit is for adults only, it is very much a family-friendly affair.
While Vine Park stays busy throughout the year, now is a great time to head on in and grab a gift card for Father’s Day. Andy says that a lot of dads who come in with their sons to brew as a family. Andy gets a lot of repeat business and has a high level of customer satisfaction. On Saturday, June 17th there is a fun tasting event happening at Vine Park. Make plans to check it out, bring Dad, and let him pick a growler for Sunday. Then make sure you get him a gift card to come in and brew a batch or two.
Vine Park Brewing is located at 1254 W. 7th St. in Saint Paul.
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