Sneak Peek at 9 Mile Brewing

On Friday, February 11th, at 2pm, 9 Mile Brewing will be the first brewery to ever open in Bloomington, Minnesota. This has been a long time coming for Bloomington, Minnesota. Thanks to a vote in 2019 that changed language in the city’s laws previously preventing a brewery, 9 Mile Brewing will have the taps flowing to help quench the thirst of one of Minneapolis’s largest suburbs.

Bloomington, Minnesota, was founded in 1858 on May 11th; the same day Minnesota became a state. According to the 2020 Census, Bloomington is Minnesota’s 4th largest city at 89, 987 people. They edge out Duluth by a couple hundred people. Duluth is a craft beer paradise and is home to a robust craft brewery scene. So, 9 Mile Brewing is going to be filling a glaring need for the thirsty beer geeks of this historic suburb.

Who will be brewing the beers, you ask? Well, this gentleman’s name is John Leingang. Leingang brewed at Dangerous Man Brewing Company for many years and possesses a cogent understanding for the right styles of beer to brew. 9 Mile’s Head Brewer is not the only person behind the scenes with industry experience, however. Ilan Klages-Mundt is a part-owner and consultant at 9 Mile Brewing. Mundt was an original co-founder of Insight Brewing in Minneapolis back in 2014. Bob Countryman is the founder and is incredibly excited to be able to give the Bloomington locals a special place to gather around craft beer.

“When I first started to work in Bloomington, I was surprised that the closest brewery was so far away. With the great restaurants in Bloomington, I just knew that a brewery would be the next natural step. I believe the brewery will bring a new group of people that wouldn’t’ naturally stop in Bloomington and let them see that there’s more to Bloomington than the Mall of America.”

Chuck Pittman, a local Influencer (@mnchuck)

9 Mile Brewing is Creating Excitement

The residents of Bloomington are happy to have something that isn’t a chain to patronize. We all know that the atmosphere of a taproom is typically a lot more family friendly than a bar. 9 Mile Brewing will provide a much-needed addition to the local business landscape in Bloomington. A coworker of mine and Bloomington resident, Becky Murray is thrilled that 9 Mile Brewing is opening. She said, “So excited! It’ll be nice to have something so close to home.” Matt Nelson, another Bloomington resident, echoed Murray’s sentiments, “Very excited to have one (brewery) here in Bloomington. Tried a couple of their offerings over the summer and can’t wait to get some more. . . gonna be quite bike-able when the weather improves, too.”

Of course, the brewery isn’t just going to be a destination for people residing in the suburb. Lots of people who work nearby are keen to see what 9 Mile Brewing will offer. Chuck Pittman, a local influencer (@mnchuck) is happy that 9 Mile Brewing will be a close option for a good happy hour. “When I first started to work in Bloomington, I was surprised that the closest brewery was so far away. With the great restaurants in Bloomington, I just knew that a brewery would be the next natural step. I believe the brewery will bring a new group of people that wouldn’t’ naturally stop in Bloomington and let them see that there’s more to Bloomington than the Mall of America.” So, it is clear that there will be a staunch army of folks who will be flooding in to try the beers at 9 Mile Brewing. I hope that the brewing team can keep up!

The Taproom

The taproom space at 9 Mile Brewing is spacious and cozy at the same time. They will have the capacity to serve quite a few thirsty revelers. There’s a wonderful variety of seating options from high-top tables that seat small and large groups to leather chairs that are in the vicinity of a lovely fireplace. The lines move quick and their staff really shined during the big rush of people.

A half wall separates the taproom from the brewing equipment, which I love. I never get sick of seeing kettles as I sip my beer. There are just enough lights, but it is not too bright in the taproom. The feel is comfortable as the lighting is nice and soft. It does get pretty loud in the main area. However, there is a side area, which I believe is going to be an event space.

At the sneak peek, the taproom never felt too crowded despite the multitude of people enjoying their first sips at 9 Mile Brewing. I spoke with a lot of industry folks, and the general consensus was that the only way this night could have gone better is if 9 Mile had provided a petting zoo and several cheese fondue stations.

The Beers at 9 Mile Brewing

The beers at 9 Mile Brewing are quite impressive. 9 Mile Brewing is opening with 6 different beers on tap. They will offer a light lager, pale ale, smoked Wee Heavy, Hazy IPA, Schwarzbier, and a fruited sour. When I was there for the sneak peek, I tried 4 of their offerings. I would happily have any of them again in a full pint. There was depth in each beer that I sampled.

It is clear that John Leingang is a talented brewer. Each sip illustrates the deftness with which he applies his craft. Balanced, textured, and flavorful, the beers exude an elevated sense of confidence. Coming from Dangerous Man, John brings with him a toolbox full of knowledge, however, I suspect it will be his passion that allows him to forge his own style at 9 Mile Brewing. Bloomington craft beer fans are in for a treat when they order a pint at 9 Mile Brewing.

Schifdtbier-Light Lager-4.2% ABV

This is going to be a go-to for many people. This bright and crisp lager is the perfect session beer to enjoy while you take in the spacious homeyness of the 9 Mile Brewing taproom. It drinks as easy as a calm breeze, tickling your neck hairs, on that one Minnesota July day that isn’t humid as hell.

Parallels Pale Ale-4.8% ABV

I think that this is what all pale ales should aspire to be. The hops come across as floral and slightly earthy to me. I love that it finishes with the right amount of bitterness to keep me wanting more. So many pale ales lean too heavily into the malt; the end result being muddled and messy. The Parallels Pale Ale is right is a balanced and refreshing ale with a lot of character.

Current Obsession New England IPA-6.1% ABV

A well-made New England IPA is a treat. The Current Obsession is aptly named because craft beer drinkers are going to go bonkers for it. The alluring bouquet of citrus and tropical fruits in the nose make me regret leaving my coconut bra in the car. Hop aroma bursts out of this beer in a way that really awakens the olfactories. The bitterness that is present in the finish adds the perfect counterbalance to all the juiciness in the beer. Remember earlier when I said the beers at 9 Mile Brewing are balanced? Well, this is what I am talking about. I appreciate the 6.1% ABV because I live in St. Paul and would be hard-pressed to not want to have a few of these over the span of an evening.

Nein Bräu Schwarzbier-5% ABV

Christ on a crutch, just take my money. Opening with a Schwarzbier is bold. Not many people know or understand what the style is about. The style shows up on tap lists every now and then. Sadly, the good ones are few and far between. John and the crew collaborated with the fine folks down at Giesenbräu Bier Co. on this one. The Nein Bräu came out marvelously. The roasted malts are aromatic and reminiscent of coffee and dark chocolate. These flavors combine to give you both bitterness from the dark malts and the hops. This is a dark beer that many will assume is heavy, but really it is quite light in body. I loved that I got to sip it as I chatted with Tom Giesen, one of the minds behind the madness at Giesenbräu.

Yes, Of Course You Should Go!

9 Mile Brewing is going to be a boon for Bloomington. A lot of hard work went into providing folks with a lovely place to enjoy craft beer and conversation. Kudos to Bob Countryman who saw opportunity when so many others saw a legal roadblock. I cannot wait to visit again when I can bend John’s ear and talk beer, meet Bob and congratulate him, and, of course, have a few more beers. Remember, they open at 2pm on Friday, February 11th. They have tons of room, but you might have to contend with the other 89,987 Bloomington faithful who are hankering for a crack at their local brewery if you want a seat. I am so happy for the team at 9 Mile Brewing because they impressed a lot of industry people with their beers. I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say about this place. 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 dan.beaubien@beerploma.com .