Brewery Bound: Chanhassen Brewing Company
Chanhassen Brewing Company opens its doors on Thursday, April 15th. Chanhassen Brewing Company fills an immediate void in the tapestry of this southwestern suburb. This family-owned brewery will become a much-needed place to gather and enjoy craft beer for the people of Chanhassen. They will open with 4 beers on tap, but there is enough tap line space to get into the double-digits eventually. Chanhassen Brewing Company’s brewer, Max Filter, is a familiar face (and beard) to the MN (Dual Citizen Brewing Company) and CO (Left Hand Brewing & Renegade Brewing) beer community. This has been a long time coming and thanks to owners Matt and Laura Rosati, Chanhassen has a craft brewery to call its own.
There are many reasons to be excited about this. First and foremost, it is another sign of growth for our thriving Minnesota craft beer scene. Chanhassen Brewing will also bring another independently-owned business to a suburb that has its fair share of chain restaurants. Over the years, people have become more demanding for unique places to eat and drink. In talking to people who live in Chanhassen, they are ready to embrace their own craft brewery.
Chanhassen Brewing Company will open with four beers on tap. They will expand to six by next Tuesday. The three and a half barrel brewhouse is going to be busy. However, the small batches will allow Matt and Max to showcase many different styles of beer. The tap list boasts a lot of options that will satiate both novice craft beer drinkers and the most seasoned of beer geek. The four beers I tasted at my preview were the Golden Ale, Hazy IPA, a blackberry sour, and a Belgian Abbey Ale. Max has plenty of creative things in his brewing repertoire, so Chanhassenites are in for a treat.
When You’re Here, You’re Family. . . Literally
Matt and Laura Rosati are the owners of Chanhassen Brewing Company. They have a throng of relatives who will be helping out and can claim the brewery as their own. While I was there, I thought I saw 7 kids, 9 siblings/cousins, and 4 dogs. They were training in their staff on things and getting ready for opening day. What strikes me about Matt and Laura is that they are people I would gladly sit down and have a beer with. Trust me, this is not always the case when I meet owners of breweries. There have been times when I’ve counted down the seconds to an interview being over because the particular brewery owner was exceedingly ignorant or conceited.
With Matt and Laura, you have two passionate and hospitable people who genuinely want to create something special. Their aim is to keep the Chanhassen Brewing Company taproom-oriented and family-friendly. Matt has spent many years as a firefighter and also has restaurant experience. His wife, Laura, is a counselor at a nearby middle school, and has previous bar experience. Since Laura is used to dealing with hormonally unbalanced teens, the thirsty craft beer crowd will be a walk in the park. Matt and Laura both understand how to make a patron feel welcome. In both of those professions, camaraderie is a huge part of the job. So, they should have no problem fostering a true sense of belonging at the brewery.
Matt has been an avid home brewer for years. However, making the jump from the basement to be the brewhouse can be tricky. He said that he got a lot of advice and help from LTD Brewing, Unmapped Brewing, and Lupine Brewing. Some might find that a little strange, however, most breweries believe that a high tide raises all ships. Hence, they are more than willing to lend a hand or give advice to someone starting their own brewery.
Beer will bring people in the doors, but an organically grown sense of community will keep them coming back. Matt believes Chanhassen deserves a place that locals can be proud of to call their own. Chanhassen Brewing Company also plans to partner with some other local restaurants like Tequila Butcher to create an independently-owned synergy for Chanhassen.
Matt and Laura are also working with the city to allow food trucks at the brewery. Right now, there is a city ordinance that only allows food trucks if there is an event happening. I know that when I go out for a handful of beers and food, it can turn into an “event”, but the problem for Chanhassen is that right now, they only allow for 12 of those permits a year. Hopefully that will get ironed out because food trucks are a fantastic way to bring some incredibly new food options to a place.
The Beers at Chanhassen Brewing Company
So, what about the beers? Well, like every place, there were some bright spots and some areas for improvement. Overall, I liked what I had. I think that if you open a brewery in Minnesota without someone who has commercial experience, you are setting yourself up for failure. Chanhassen brought in Max Filter who has a wealth of experience when it comes to brewing. This shows in the quality of the beers.
Golden Prairie Golden Ale 4.5% ABV
This easy drinker is crisp and clean. A gateway beer for those who are still new to craftbeer, this beer is really refreshing. It has a crisp finish on it which makes you want to keep sipping. A lighter beer that is balanced is hard to do, but this one fits the bill.
Chanhoppenin’ Hazy IPA 5.5% ABV 55 IBU
This one has a nice ripe tropical fruit aromas of cantaloupe and mango. The flavor is juicy with a slightly bitter finish to dry out the sip. This beer is hopped with Azacca and Idaho 7 hops. The beer is low to medium-bodied and could be a little bit more pillowy on the tongue. My favorite thing about this beer is it is not over the top with too much sweetness. Poor examples of this style wind up tasting like a glass of orange juice, and I appreciate the balance in this one.
Storm Blackberry Sour Ale 4.5% ABV 5 IBU
A unique aspect of this beer is that is brewed with Sourvisiae, a sour yeast strain. This gives the sour beer a much cleaner character than a typical kettle sour. The beer ferments and sours in the tank so the brewer does not have to worry about contaminating the entire brewery by dosing beer with lactobacillus or brettanomyces cultures. The result is an electric tartness that will definitely get your salivary glands working harder that Gloria Estefan backup dancer. The beer could use a little more blackberry to balance out the tartness.
Ya Betcha Belgian Abbey Ale 8% ABV 35 IBU
I feel like debuting with a Belgian beer on tap is a bold move. Belgian beers are some of the toughest beers to brew. For consumers, they are extremely polarizing. The Belgian Abbey Ale has the bones of a good beer. However, I noticed the off-putting aroma of acetone in this beer. It really dominated the flavors of dark fruit and toffee, which are there, just hard to pick out. Why would acetone, or more commonly identified as nail polish remover aroma be in a beer? Well, it means that the yeast was overworked and began to give off aromas and flavors that it shouldn’t. Max explained that they were having some hiccups with their glycol and this batch fermented on the hot side. So, I am anxious to come back and taste this beer again down the road. However, I would probably pass on this one, for now.
Amidst all the excitement about the brewery opening, I also want to say a few things about my friend Max Filter. Max’s heart is as big as the stature of his beard. He is one of the good guys in craft beer. There is an adage that craft beer is 99% asshole-free. WellHis smile, laugh, and passion know no bounds. When I was talking to him, as I was distracted by the minuscule droplets of water trapped in the epic entanglement of his beard, I also noticed the spark in his eyes and the excitement in his voice.
Some people just belong in a certain type of a place. Max belongs in a brewhouse. Max’s wife, Justine, was also hanging out in the taproom when I was there. Justine is veteran of craft beer herself and currently sits on the board of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. I asked her how wonderful it is to see Max brewing professionally again. She said, “It is amazing. I have my old Max Back.” Well, I will echo Justine’s sentiments when I say that the craft beer universe is better with Max holding a mash paddle and sharing his love of craft beer with the world. He and Matt Rosati are a fantastic duo. Together, they will really be a wonderful team to help create delicious beers, and a wonderful atmosphere to build community at Chanhassen Brewing Company. Prost!
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 .