A Sneak Peek at Stacked Deck Brewing Company
On Saturday, December 1st at noon, Stacked Deck Brewing Company will open its doors to the public. Stacked Deck is on the first level of the Treasure Island Center. Those of you Saint Paul lifers will probably remember when the Dayton’s perfume counters graced the space and filled the high ceilings with aromas of Chanel #5 and the clop-clop of high heels. Well, those high ceilings are about to be awake once again. Although, this time, they will house the enticing aroma of malted grains a the clinkety-clink of pint glasses coming together to signal the start of happy hour. I got a chance to get an early look at the space and try their beers. I came away impressed on all counts and am excited to see another fun place to drink craft beer in Saint Paul.
Gambles Do Pay Off
In Fall of 2015, I met founders Andy, Brad, and Scott. The Stacked Deck Brewing team hosted a tasting event at Andy’s house. They had several beers that they planned on serving along with a phenomenally smoked pork belly that I still dream about. I could tell way back then that the beer was good and definitely had potential to ramp up to the professional level. I remember being struck by Andy’s demeanor-humble, kind, and crazy about beer. Scott, his friend and brewing partner, was very much of the same ilk and I thought that they made a dynamic group. Brad was also there and he has a warm and inviting smile. All three of these guys are folks that you could sit down and have a beer with. Back then, they were working on a location that they had to be pretty mum about, but the plan was definitely on-track to be open sooner than later.
While every brewery has their fair share of challenges when it comes to opening the brewery to beer-loving patrons, Stacked Deck definitely had a rough opening deal. Originally Loony Bin Brewing Company, the founders, Andy Erickson(Brewer), Brad Randall(Marketing and Communication), Scott Wege(Brewer) and Ryan Keihn decided to change the name after people spoke up about the name maybe being not in the best taste. Thus, Stacked Deck Brewing became the moniker. Stacked Deck Brewing has been in the works in one form or another for 4 years. With backgrounds in construction, Andy and Scott did a lot of the work themselves to help keep the costs down. Brad came on originally to help with marketing, but became a founder not long after he realized how passionate and driven the team was.
Once Stacked Deck secured their desired location. They didn’t say much about it until the Minnesota Wild signed the lease. When that happened, they began construction, in earnest. Andy, Brad, and Scott have a lot of sweat equity in this place. They also have an extremely supportive group of family, friends, and investors. They also got quite a bit of advice from Ilan Klages-Mundt, who also knows a thing or two about running a quality brewery at Insight Brewing. With guidance from Ilan and the passion for brewing beer, they created Stacked Deck Brewing Company. The team also were adamant about saying how helpful Kyle at Venn Brewing, Bartley at Bent Brewstillery, the guys at BlackStack Brewing, and the team at 12welve Eyes all were in advising them and recommending people to help get them to where they are now.
The brewery has a primo location in downtown Saint Paul. It is right off the Green Line and there are countless bus routes that go right by the building. They are close to restaurants and other local taprooms for those of you craft beer geeks that like to brewery hop.
The taproom is definitely a chic place to sip on a pint. They have a one-of-a-kind metal light fixture that hovers majestically above the centrally located bar. There are many different seating options depending on the size of your group. The brewhouse is open and visible to everyone in the taproom. The ambiance is swanky, with just the right amount of glitz to pay homage to the classic old Saint Paul. The lighting is low and definitely feels like a place to unwind with a friend with some good conversation.
Stacked Deck is not only catering to beer enthusiasts, they are going to be a home base for Hockey fans as well. The MN Whitecaps, a professional women’s hockey team, and Hamline University call the rink atop the building home. So, there will always be hockey fans around. Also, the Minnesota Wild practice in the same building and so there will definitely be a lot of pucks being dropped at this locale. Due to all the professional, college, and youth hockey being played here, there will be a live-feed video on at all times when there is a game on for people so they can keep track of all the fast-paced action while in the comfort of their bar stools. There will be an expansive game collection so people can hunker down and play games with their family and friends.
While they will have TVs, this will not be a sports bar atmosphere-the focus will be on gathering around beer. People will feel comfortable stopping by for a pint after work by themselves or on Saturday afternoon with the entire family. There will be musical acts there on weekends to draw people for people who enjoy live entertainment.
Their 15 barrel brewhouse comes equipped with6 fermenters and 2 bright tanks-all 30 bbl capacity. They will plan on making the most of their space with sights set on distribution sometime after six months or so.
They will open up with 8 beers, but eventually plan to have 16 beers total. Those taps include 2 nitro taps. They will also have root beer as a non-alcoholic option. When I visited a week ago, I tried all the beers they had on tap. I even witnessed the first growler being poured! Of the beers I tried, I thought that four stood out among the rest. The All-In Amber Lager had an crispness to it which I felt would appeal to many people. The Wild-Mannered ESB is a nice re
presentation of a beer style that embodies balance between the hops and the malt. I thought that the Bad-Luck Brown on Nitro was smooth and quaffable. The Fortunately Moist, a fresh hop IPA with Cascade, Centennial, and Magnum hops made for a nice and resiny change of pace from the malty options.
It seems like a long time to wait for your dream to become a reality. Thankfully, Stacked Deck didn’t let the things that got in the way cause them to fold. On Saturday, they can open the doors and the taps while the room fills with laughter, friends, and family. I definitely am happy that Lady Luck is a beer drinker. Prost!
Stacked Deck Brewing Company
Hours: M-Th 3pm-10pm, F & Sat. 3pm-12am & Sun. 12pm-10pm
Address: 421 Cedar St. St. Paul, MN 55101
Dan Beaubien has been involved with Beerploma since 2014 although his passion for craft beer dates back to 2006 when he started traveling for beer. Dan mostly covers craft beer events, festivals, brewery openings/releases, and beer reviews. Dan has a soft spot in his heart for authentic British Style ales, IPAs, and all things barrel-aged. If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org .