Against the grain

OLIVIA VOLKMAN-JOHNSON JULY 26, 2018

UPDATED: JULY 26, 2018 - 1:58 PM

How a biomedical engineer and a business sales guru became the founders of Minnesota’s first women-owned microbrewery.

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Twin Cities residents Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak were on a bike ride one afternoon in the neighborhood of St. Anthony Park when they happened upon a rather old brick building, seemingly out of place among the industrial warehouses.

The 19th-century structure, though it used to be a horse stable and maintenance depot, housed a pottery studio and a vacant unit. Pavlak and Loch, who were shopping around for a space for their new brewery, immediately knew: This was the place.

Six years later, Urban Growler Brewing Company opened its doors to anyone and everyone looking for good food, good beer and a good time.

Pavlak, a Minneapolis native, studied at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for speech communications and psychology — two unlikely, yet effective qualifications for the owner of a brewery.

Pavlak spent most of her life working in sales, but she always dreamed of opening a restaurant.

“I wanted a restaurant,” said Pavlak, who quickly noted a key difference from working in high-stakes business sales. “If you screw up an order, it takes months to repair that relationship. If someone comes in here and they order a meal they’re not in love with, I can take care of that in 30 seconds, and they’ll be happy. It’s a much shorter sales cycle.”

Loch, meanwhile, grew up working in her family restaurant in Appleton, Wisconsin.

“Of course, the last thing I wanted to do was be in the restaurant business — because that’s what my folks did,” Loch said. “So I went off to college and became a biomedical engineer.”

Working in the medical-device industry by day and crafting home brews by night, Loch discovered a passion for brewing.

“Even though I went to undergrad in Milwaukee, I never realized that brewing could be a career,” Loch said. “In fact, being a biomedical engineer is perfect training for being a professional brewer.”

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WINTERFEST 2019 RECAP

WINTERFEST 2019 RECAP

Dan Beaubien / January 30, 2019 / Craft Beer Events

Winterfest 2019 really came off without a hitch this year. The beers were superb, the food pairings made a lot more sense, and the crowd looked better than ever. The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild implemented after last year’s Winterfest and I think that they all made the festival a lot better.

Best Beers of Winterfest 2019

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Urban Growler’s Vanilla Latte Blonde Ale & Chocolate Bouchon

I love a chocolate dessert with a nice cup of coffee. This pairing made me so happy. I had no idea what a Bouchon was, so I had to do some digging in one of my baking cookbooks. Apparently, it is a cork-shaped chocolate cake. Bouchon, the French word for cork, gives the dessert its namesake. This rich cake, dusted lightly with powdered sugar, was the perfect bite. The rich and perfectly baked cake went perfectly with the beer. The Vanilla Latte Blonde Ale has a nice sweetness to it that is deceptively crisp, thanks to the blonde Ale base. The crispness of the beer along with its coffee notes from the malt really heightened the rich and luxurious nature of the Bouchon. I would love to have these for dessert again and I hope that Urban Growler will bake some of these again.

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MINNESOTA CRAFT BEER: BEST OF 2018

MINNESOTA CRAFT BEER: BEST OF 2018

JANUARY 3, 2019

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I really enjoy writing this article, but these awards get harder and harder every year! That’s mostly because there are so many great breweries in the state and partly due to some self imposed limits. Every award must go to a brewery I’ve visited in the calendar year and I won’t give a brewery the same award two years in a row. I also added a Best Innovation category to reward the breweries that are consistently pushing the envelope! I’ve visited almost 100 breweries in Minnesota and written posts about a healthy amount of them. If I’m missing your favorites I’d love to hear about them. Let’s get to it!

Best Food / Urban Growler Brewing Company

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Urban Growler holds a special place in my heart as one of the first craft breweries my wife and I visited and their food and beer played a critical role in inspiring me to embark on this project. They were the first brewery to make me think that I was missing out on something special. Since they’ve opened, their menu has expanded and I’ve never been disappointed. It doesn’t hurt that their building is beautiful, the patio is great, and they make desserts with their beer!

Full Best of 2018

DAN’S TOP 30 MN BREWERIES OF 2018

DAN’S TOP 30 MN BREWERIES OF 2018

Dan Beaubien / January 9, 2019 / Beer Editorial

Dan’s Top 30 MN Breweries of 2018

Personally, 2018 was the worst year ever for me. At my day job, where I teach Language Arts at a middle school, 3 students passed away in the span of 3 weeks-2 because of suicide. Right after that, my mother passed away unexpectedly. For the next few months, I struggled mightily emotionally and fell into a bit of a depression. So, typically, when I look at a year in review, I can pinpoint moments and breweries that strung the year along as I live life passionately as a beer geek. 2018 was not one of those years.

Amidst the sadness and depression of losing irreplaceable people, I relied on friends and family. I also relied on craft beer. Ok, I know what you are thinking. How can it get darker than the first paragraph? Well, let me explain what I mean by relying on craft beer. I did not decide to one day clear out my cellar and go on a bender-I know better. However, I did embrace what craft beer has become for me. Over the years, craft beer has always been a way to decompress and enjoy time with friends or total strangers. My favorite taprooms became beacons of refuge-places to go and just be. I would doodle, read, and sip. When I was lucky enough to see a familiar face, they would join me and friendship would provide a respite from the pain of losing my mom.

So, it is bittersweet and somewhat difficult to look back at 2018. Yet, 2018, among its challenges, offered up some wonderful experiences with friends. Craft beer continues to provide me with joy and knowledge. Taprooms continue to be the backdrop for connecting with people and augmenting the thread count of my community fabric.

List Criteria

When I say best of 2018, there are several things that factor in to that. First, if I didn’t go to this brewery in 2018, it didn’t make the list. Second, breweries on this list had many quality beers that I thought really hit the mark. This list is not about who has the trendiest beer, although there are a few breweries on here who are leading the way when it comes to IPAs, sours, and pastry stouts. If a brewery makes my list, it means that their service is great, their message is easily articulated, and they are not just in it to make a quick buck. Luckily, places who adopt the latter as a business model don’t last long.

If a brewery makes my list, it is because they brew beer that I enjoyed and provided a space for me to enjoy the beer in. Last year, my list was so incredible that it appeared in a forum on BeerAdvocate. Many passionate beer geeks had taken issue with the fact that I did not put Surly on my list. Oh, they had a field day with that. There were a few people who actually read the article and understood my criteria. Others simply glanced at it and decided, as one person put it so succinctly, “Seriously though, there is fuckery going on at ‘Beerploma’.”

Love it or hate it, this is my list and a snapshot of my beer experiences throughout the year in Minnesota. My favorites are not going to be your favorites and that is ok. It is fine to disagree. I would even like to hear where you think I misstep in my rankings. I ask that you would do so with civility, but hey, this is also the Internet, so that is a big ask.

So, here we go, my top 30 breweries of 2018 in MN.

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18-Urban Growler (St. Paul, MN)

Over the years, Urban Growler has always been on my list of places to go for fun. I love the vibe here. Jill and Deb have created a wonderful community and it shows in their staff and space. I also love that they continue to bring new innovative beers to the table. Recently, they added a mild and a Mexican Lager to the fold and they are both tremendous. This year’s barrel-aged porter was phenomenal. Their food is tasty and if you haven’t tried the fried chicken sandwich, drop everything and go there now to do so!

Full List & Article

Four Twin Cities beer events to get you through January

It's a fun month for craft beer. 

By Sharyn Jackson Star Tribune

JANUARY 9, 2019 — 8:41PM

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Urban Growler brewed beer using the Guatemalan ramón nut.

In collaboration with a University of Minnesota sustainable forestry researcher, Urban Growler is using an altogether unusual ingredient in a limited-edition beer.

The ramón nut, which grows in the Guatemalan rain forest, imparts a coffee-chocolate flavor upon roasting — the perfect match for a batch of stout now available at the St. Paul microbrewery. (2325 Endicott St., St. Paul, 651-340-5793, urbangrowlerbrewing.com)

The Guatemalan ramón nut.

The Guatemalan ramón nut.

David Wilsey, a researcher at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, was investigating how the ancient Mayan food source can be a tool of economic empowerment for people living where it grows, when he got the idea to brew the nut into beer. Working with a group of his students, Wilsey secured a grant and approached Urban Growler’s owners. Their first batch last spring sold out rapidly. It’s back on tap till it runs out.

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New Minnesota breweries bring diversity: 'Beer is the ultimate cross-cultural thing'

By Sharyn Jackson Star Tribune

NOVEMBER 23, 2018 — 10:53AM

The craft beer boom is starting to include people of color and women. 

There was a dusting of snow on the turf, but that didn’t stop a small group of soccer players from kicking a ball around outside a brewery in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood.

Inside, on a recent, frigid Friday, two men were introduced by a third. “Mucho gusto,” the new acquaintances said to one another — Spanish for “nice to meet you” — as they sipped on pints of golden cerveza.

The soccer field in the parking lot of La Doña Cervecería (241 Fremont Av. N., Mpls., 612-315-4613) is just one bit of South American flair that owner Sergio Manancero wove into the Twin Cities’ first Latin-inspired brewery. Another: the sprinkling of Spanish language throughout the colorful warehouse-turned-taproom, from the conversation to the names of the beers.

Across the metro, in St. Paul’s W. 7th neighborhood, a group of four craft beer aficionados turned a hobby into a job when they became the nation’s first Hmong owners of a brewery. They took over Vine Park Brewing (1254 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-228-1355) last year, and they can barely keep up with the demand for their 651 Tyga Bite, the first beer they brewed specifically for their community.

Although craft beer — both brewing and drinking — is statistically a largely white, wealthy, male pastime, a boom in new breweries has led the industry to finally begin to diversify. There are now more than 150 craft breweries in Minnesota (up from 35 in 2011). Only a handful of them are led by people of color and women. But industry watchers say an explosion of interest in small-batch, high-quality beer made by local brewers is opening doors for nontraditional consumers and makers to grab a seat at the bar.

“It is changing,” said Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association, a trade group for small and independent craft brewers, which has recently launched a diversity committee to help breweries appeal to a wider variety of customers and staff.

“From a business perspective, there are a lot of breweries out there and a lot of them are fighting for a market share. One of the ways to differentiate yourself is the communities you are welcoming into your brewery,” Watson said. “Breweries have long been community gathering spaces, so it makes sense that they would take on a different shape to fit into those communities.”

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That means that more and more, communities long untapped by the craft scene are now finding places to cultivate their tastes for beer comfortably.

“When you’re not included, you feel it,” said Jill Pavlak, co-owner of the first woman-owned brewery in Minnesota. When she and her wife, Deb Loch, opened Urban Growler Brewing Co. (2325 Endicott St., St. Paul, 651-340-5793) four years ago, one of their first initiatives was to keep the taproom warm enough so guests wouldn’t have to wear a coat. They also made sure chairs had knobs for purse straps, and that the parking lot was well lit. “Things women think about that men wouldn’t give a second thought,” Pavlak said.


GALLERYGRID

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LIAM JAMES DOYLE

Gallery: The Doña Fria Lager at La Doña Cervecería in the Harrison neighborhood of north Minneapolis.

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There was a dusting of snow on the turf, but that didn’t stop a small group of soccer players from kicking a ball around outside a brewery in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood.

Inside, on a recent, frigid Friday, two men were introduced by a third. “Mucho gusto,” the new acquaintances said to one another — Spanish for “nice to meet you” — as they sipped on pints of golden cerveza.

The soccer field in the parking lot of La Doña Cervecería (241 Fremont Av. N., Mpls., 612-315-4613) is just one bit of South American flair that owner Sergio Manancero wove into the Twin Cities’ first Latin-inspired brewery. Another: the sprinkling of Spanish language throughout the colorful warehouse-turned-taproom, from the conversation to the names of the beers.

Across the metro, in St. Paul’s W. 7th neighborhood, a group of four craft beer aficionados turned a hobby into a job when they became the nation’s first Hmong owners of a brewery. They took over Vine Park Brewing (1254 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-228-1355) last year, and they can barely keep up with the demand for their 651 Tyga Bite, the first beer they brewed specifically for their community.

Although craft beer — both brewing and drinking — is statistically a largely white, wealthy, male pastime, a boom in new breweries has led the industry to finally begin to diversify. There are now more than 150 craft breweries in Minnesota (up from 35 in 2011). Only a handful of them are led by people of color and women. But industry watchers say an explosion of interest in small-batch, high-quality beer made by local brewers is opening doors for nontraditional consumers and makers to grab a seat at the bar.

“It is changing,” said Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association, a trade group for small and independent craft brewers, which has recently launched a diversity committee to help breweries appeal to a wider variety of customers and staff.

“From a business perspective, there are a lot of breweries out there and a lot of them are fighting for a market share. One of the ways to differentiate yourself is the communities you are welcoming into your brewery,” Watson said. “Breweries have long been community gathering spaces, so it makes sense that they would take on a different shape to fit into those communities.”

That means that more and more, communities long untapped by the craft scene are now finding places to cultivate their tastes for beer comfortably.

JEFF WHEELER, STAR TRIBUNE

Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak of Urban Growler Brewing Co. in St. Paul.

“When you’re not included, you feel it,” said Jill Pavlak, co-owner of the first woman-owned brewery in Minnesota. When she and her wife, Deb Loch, opened Urban Growler Brewing Co. (2325 Endicott St., St. Paul, 651-340-5793) four years ago, one of their first initiatives was to keep the taproom warm enough so guests wouldn’t have to wear a coat. They also made sure chairs had knobs for purse straps, and that the parking lot was well lit. “Things women think about that men wouldn’t give a second thought,” Pavlak said.

Pavlak and Loch were denied by 12 banks before they could get a loan to open their brewery. But in just a few short years, the indignities they faced are finally dissipating.

“When we first opened, people were just amazed there was a woman brewer. They’d say, ‘Come on, who’s really brewing the beer?’ ” Loch said. “We don’t get those questions anymore. To me, it’s changing a little bit.”


GALLERYGRID

1/15

LIAM JAMES DOYLE

Gallery: The Doña Fria Lager at La Doña Cervecería in the Harrison neighborhood of north Minneapolis.

TEXT SIZE

EMAIL

PRINT

MORE

There was a dusting of snow on the turf, but that didn’t stop a small group of soccer players from kicking a ball around outside a brewery in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood.

Inside, on a recent, frigid Friday, two men were introduced by a third. “Mucho gusto,” the new acquaintances said to one another — Spanish for “nice to meet you” — as they sipped on pints of golden cerveza.

The soccer field in the parking lot of La Doña Cervecería (241 Fremont Av. N., Mpls., 612-315-4613) is just one bit of South American flair that owner Sergio Manancero wove into the Twin Cities’ first Latin-inspired brewery. Another: the sprinkling of Spanish language throughout the colorful warehouse-turned-taproom, from the conversation to the names of the beers.

Across the metro, in St. Paul’s W. 7th neighborhood, a group of four craft beer aficionados turned a hobby into a job when they became the nation’s first Hmong owners of a brewery. They took over Vine Park Brewing (1254 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-228-1355) last year, and they can barely keep up with the demand for their 651 Tyga Bite, the first beer they brewed specifically for their community.

Although craft beer — both brewing and drinking — is statistically a largely white, wealthy, male pastime, a boom in new breweries has led the industry to finally begin to diversify. There are now more than 150 craft breweries in Minnesota (up from 35 in 2011). Only a handful of them are led by people of color and women. But industry watchers say an explosion of interest in small-batch, high-quality beer made by local brewers is opening doors for nontraditional consumers and makers to grab a seat at the bar.

“It is changing,” said Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association, a trade group for small and independent craft brewers, which has recently launched a diversity committee to help breweries appeal to a wider variety of customers and staff.

“From a business perspective, there are a lot of breweries out there and a lot of them are fighting for a market share. One of the ways to differentiate yourself is the communities you are welcoming into your brewery,” Watson said. “Breweries have long been community gathering spaces, so it makes sense that they would take on a different shape to fit into those communities.”

That means that more and more, communities long untapped by the craft scene are now finding places to cultivate their tastes for beer comfortably.

JEFF WHEELER, STAR TRIBUNE

Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak of Urban Growler Brewing Co. in St. Paul.

“When you’re not included, you feel it,” said Jill Pavlak, co-owner of the first woman-owned brewery in Minnesota. When she and her wife, Deb Loch, opened Urban Growler Brewing Co. (2325 Endicott St., St. Paul, 651-340-5793) four years ago, one of their first initiatives was to keep the taproom warm enough so guests wouldn’t have to wear a coat. They also made sure chairs had knobs for purse straps, and that the parking lot was well lit. “Things women think about that men wouldn’t give a second thought,” Pavlak said.

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Pavlak and Loch were denied by 12 banks before they could get a loan to open their brewery. But in just a few short years, the indignities they faced are finally dissipating.

“When we first opened, people were just amazed there was a woman brewer. They’d say, ‘Come on, who’s really brewing the beer?’ ” Loch said. “We don’t get those questions anymore. To me, it’s changing a little bit.”

Most of the recent gains in equality in the craft beer world have been along gender lines.

The distribution between men and women craft drinkers is beginning to even out, according to demographic data. As far as leadership, researchers at Stanford University found that as of 2014, 21 percent of breweries in the U.S. had at least one woman as founder/CEO or brewmaster/head brewer. No studies have been done since, but Watson from the Brewers Association believes it to be about the same today.

Ethnic diversity is a different story. Of new craft drinkers over a three-year period, 81 percent of them were white.

“There’s certainly still work to do,” Watson said. “It’s clear that if craft is going to take the next jump in getting into the broader beer community, reaching out to more diverse communities is going to have to be a part of that.”

In just a year, Touyer Moua has seen how eager his Hmong community has been to discover craft beer.

A home-brewer himself, he and three family members stumbled upon Vine Park Brewing last year. The 23-year-old brewery allows visitors to brew their own beer and wine on the premises, and after making their first batch, they were convinced they would buy the place. Six months later, they did.

Right away, they brewed a beer specifically aimed at Hmong drinkers, who, Moua said, tend to veer toward light beers like Bud and Heineken. The twist: They threw rice in along with the barley.

“Rice is our bread and butter back in our country,” said Moua, who immigrated to the U.S. from Laos as a refugee at age 2. Their beer, 651 Tyga Bite, is named for a particular fear his parents and other migrants had while crossing the jungle and the Mekong River to get to Thailand, and eventually the U.S.

“We made it through the jungle, we made it to the U.S., and we didn’t get bitten by a tiger,” Moua said.

……continue reading

THE BEST MINNESOTA BREWERIES AND THEIR BEERS TO TRY RIGHT NOW

By DUSTIN NELSON

Updated On 10/19/2018 at 08:38AM EST

@dlukenelson

Minnesotans love a good beer. How can we prove this thesis? The state bird is a saison. Every lake has an official beer. The livestock feeds its young milk stouts.

OK, fine. While none of that is true, per se, quality breweries are spreading through the state like milkweed in the fall. It can be hard to keep tabs on all the beers you should take for a spin. Here’s a solution: Drink these beers. The ones made by the breweries below. These are good beers. There are fine beers outside this list, of course, everywhere from Marshall’s Brau Brothers to Voyageur Brewing, so far north you’re basically in Canada. Not to mention breweries that don’t bottle, such as the Minneapolis-based Dangerous Man, which weren’t considered here. Instead, the beers and breweries listed here are ones that should be available at your local liquor store or via booze delivery services like Drizly or Saucy. They're all high-ABV, proven to go well with an outdoor sheet of ice, heartbreaking pro-sports losses (ubiquitous, with the exception of the Lynx), and a nice plate of tater tot hotdish. Enjoy.

Urban Growler -- Vanilla Latte Blonde Ale (5.6% ABV)
This one almost drinks like a dessert beer, though it’s definitely not that heavy. It has a rich vanilla taste that evokes actual beans with a light coffee taste. They were going to can this one but wound up not going for it this year. You’ll have to swing by the taproom to get your hands on it.

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Urban Growler’s Plum Grissette is a tart, refreshing history lesson

By JESS FLEMING | jfleming@pioneerpress.com | Pioneer Press

September 11, 2018 at 5:00 am

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Plum Grissette from Urban Growler: Have you tried a grissette? It’s sort of like a saison, but less sweet and more refreshing. The beers were originally brewed for miners in Belgium, to help them quench their thirst and cut through the grit of working a long day underground.

This version uses plums from Swenson Orchards in Montevideo, Minn., to add some tartness and local flavor to the brew. A little tangy, a little spicy and a lot drinkable, this beer-history lesson is worth seeking out.

International Bittering Units (IBU): 18; Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.2 percent

Urban Growler Brewing Company: 2325 Endicott St., St. Paul; 651-340-5793; urbangrowlerbrewing.com

UMN partnership looks to beer and nuts to preserve the rainforest

4/19/2018, 2:31AM
The beer that resulted from the partnership is still available on tap.
By KATRINA PROSS

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After nearly 20 years of researching the Ramón nut, Dave Wilsey and Dean Current had an idea: use the protein-rich Central American seed to brew beer.

He contacted Urban Growler Brewing Co. in St. Paul to set up a partnership last year. Now with a grant from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment’s mini-grant program, the brewers and conservationists hope the brand-new brew will raise awareness about rainforest conservation efforts.

Two beers that resulted from the collaboration became available for customers in mid-March, and one sold out in a matter of days. The second, a stout with “notes of chocolate, coffee and nuts,” is still available on tap.

“The fact that this nut could bring global change really intrigued me,” said Jill Pavlak, Urban Growler co-owner. “The point of this is to bring awareness to this nut and to help sustainability in communities.”

The Ramón nut is native to Central America, South America and the Caribbean, and has become symbolic of the conservation and development work happening in the Maya Forest, said Wilsey, director of the University's Master of Development Practice program within the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

The region is facing deforestation, as large portions of the rainforest are cut down and destroyed to make way for cattle grazing land, Wilsey said. He hopes that encouraging widespread sale of the nut — which only grows in the rainforest — will preserve the rainforest.

Wilsey and his colleague Current have been working with the Ramón nut since the early 2000s. During that time, the University has sent three teams to Guatemala with the Rainforest Alliance to study the nut. Wilsey hopes to organize a brewer exchange in the future and bring Urban Growler workers to Guatemala to teach people there how to brew the beer.

“This partnership will help people learn about opportunities that might exist in forest conservation and livelihood development,” Wilsey said.

The Ramón nut is rich in nutrients like protein and fiber, said Collin Motschke, a graduate student whose master's thesis is on the Ramón nut. He said he hopes the Ramón nut will become “the quinoa of the future” and a widely-used ingredient around the world.

Wilsey’s ultimate goal is to have a major business use Ramón nut as an ingredient in a food product, creating marketing opportunities that will increase the rainforest’s value and protect its resources.

“There is so much power in being a consumer, and the consumptive decisions that we make have an impact and have ripples throughout the entire world. This is a way that people can be intelligent, compassionate and sustainable consumers,” Motschke said of the partnership.

Pavlak said she explains the partnership to everyone who orders the beer to spread the message.

“The beer is already good, but the story behind it makes people feel even better about ordering it,” she said.

The Ramón nut could start an international conversation about conservation through this beer, Wilsey said.

“We have this belief that we all want the same things from life, to be loved and accepted, and that goes beyond our community. It’s a worldwide desire and right. To be able to make some sort of impact in another country is really quite amazing,” Pavlak said.

UMN and Urban Growler team up to save the rainforest

April 20, 2018 by Lauren Sauer
Growler Magazine

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ot every beer has the lofty goal of saving the rainforest, but that’s precisely what the University of Minnesota and St. Paul’s Urban Growler Brewing Company aimed to do with two recent beer releases.

Their collaboration centers around the rámon nut, a seed that grows in tropical forests in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. In an interview with the Minnesota Daily, David Wilsey, director of the Masters in Development Practice (MDP) program at the U’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, explains that since the ramón nut can only be grown in the rainforest, encouraging its widespread sale would help in preserving these rapidly disappearing forests in its native lands.

And after nearly two decades spent researching the ramón nut, Wilsey had a (thirst-driven?) revelation—the protein-rich, Central American nut would be perfect for brewing beer.

Last year, he reached out to Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak, the co-owners of Urban Growler, who immediately took to the idea. This March, two beers from the environmentally-minded collaboration were released in the taproom. The Ramón Nut Brew, a brown ale, almost immediately sold out. The Ramón Nut Stout Collaboration #2, a chocolatey, nutty stout with notes of coffee, is still available on tap.

“The beer is already good, but the story behind it makes people feel even better about ordering it,” Pavlak told the Daily. “To be able to make some sort of impact in another country is really quite amazing.”

Read the Daily’s full story here.

Inspiring Women: Jill & Deb Honored at Lynx Game

August 5th, 2018

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On Aug. 5, the Minnesota Lynx continued their Inspiring Women Platform by honoring Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch.

Pavlak and Loch are co-owners of the first women-owned brewery in the state of Minnesota, the Urban Growler.

In 2017, the two were awarded the Alice O’Brien Award from St. Paul in recognition of a women-owned business that is committed to equity and empowerment. They are also the sixth-largest LGBTQ business in the state of Minnesota.

Their goal is to be one of the top-10 breweries in the state by reputation, not volume.

The two were honored with a team-signed basketball by Lynx Vice President of Business Operations Carley Knox.

They're Beer for You!

August 5, 2018- Meghanlee Phillips

A dynamic team of three have come together to bring light on those standing out within their industries. Photographer Rodel Querubin, designer, Kelly McMasters and journalist, Abby Hermes have created the Women Breaking Barriers photo series. This project stemmed from a desire to showcase women and companies who are "breaking barriers" by making a difference, and paving the way for women to come. Continue reading for an insight on Minnesota's first women owned brewery! Trust us when we say they are beer for you ;)

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What happens when two women decide to leave their corporate jobs to pursue their passion in brewing?
            Urban Growler owners Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch had the idea in 2008 to start their own brewery. This was arguably the best time to launch their idea, since they were just ahead of the local micro-brewery boom and men were getting their businesses up and running left and right. Together, these two women had the perfect combination of experience; Deb had worked at Summit Brewing Company, has a Master’s in brewing, and started her own at-home brews—while Jill had the sales background and wrote their 160-page business plan.
            The women had to go through nearly a dozen banks in order to open their brewery. Many bankers, even women, told them “we’re just not comfortable” with women running a brewery. Their age and gender were questioned constantly—“Are you sure you can lift the bags of hops?”  The sexism and ageism they faced was unexpected, but their perseverance and grit are what got them over the hurdles and through the next six years.
            They were the national runner up for a Palo Alto Software business plan, won beer competitions and $10,000 in free legal service. Despite the recognitions, it seemed the accomplishments still weren’t enough. 
            But the women believed in their mission. They pushed ahead and looked for new ways to get the business going, ways that Jill says were “a bit old school.”  
            “The good thing about all of this was we had to get creative,” she said.
            When one bank told them that if they raised $500,000 on their own, the bank would front the rest, they went through with drafting architectural designs, sold Urban Growler shirts, called friends and family, and had people donate money to be named founding members (they couldn’t legally say they were looking for investors). After finally raising half a million dollars, with over 50 founding members, the bank told them it still wasn’t enough and they would only let them open at a much higher interest rate.  
            It wasn’t until one of the owners at Burning Brothers Brewing spoke to their bank on behalf of Jill and Deb that all this hard work finally paid off. A stark contrast from the other banks they’d met with, this bank outside of the Twin Cities was swift in their investment.
            The two were ecstatic, Jill recalled, “They weren’t even from around here! They’re down in Mankato and they were all on board. It was just like, ‘here’s your money’ within two weeks. Then multiple banks came back around wanting to invest.” It wasn’t until they got their business license that they received a letter congratulating them on being the first woman-owned microbrewery—and that was in 2014.
            “Every decision we make is with women at the top of mind.” Jill says she and Deb make a point to be accommodating in ways other breweries and businesses may not think about. From the lower ABV beers and temperature of the taproom being geared toward women, to chairs that allow purses to be hung on them, they constantly use their own perspectives to be more inclusive.  
            Since they’ve opened, they proudly display a plaque of those founding members who believed in them from the start and have expanded three times to include their kitchen and beer garden. They showcase local artwork and make sure it is never offensive so that all feel welcomed, and as Jill states, they strive to be a place “where people can connect. Our goal is to warm people up and open their minds, while being respectful and respect differences.”

To hear their story firsthand and see the newly-expanded space, contact Liz at liz@urbangrowlerbrewing.com to schedule a tour. You can find co-head Jill in the taproom, and Master Brewer Deb working behind the scenes, at 2325 Endicott Street, St. Paul, MN.

Urban Growler Brewing For Growth in St. Paul

Posted by Chris Erbach

Jul 25, 2018 11:13:45 AM

“It’s all about the community and how we bring people together through beer,” said co-founder and Master Brewer Deb Loch.

Urban Growler building.jpg

Celebrating their fourth anniversary in business, Deb and co-founder Jill Pavlak have been slowly building their brewery through quality products and local participation. Urban Growler (www.urbangrowlerbrewing.com) was opened in July 2014 when Deb and Jill combined their talents and passion to create outstanding beer, food and a welcoming space for the community.

And their brand tag line says it all: “We’re Beer For You!”

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As Minnesota’s first female-owned brewery, they had many challenges getting their vision in place. But with the help of friends, family and even total strangers, Urban Growler became a reality. Their patrons believed in the founders vision and their support helped get one of the hottest new breweries off the ground. Now that spirit is being repaid with a company that is there for the community.

The brewery, located at 2325 Endicott St. in St. Paul, Minnesota, features a warm, welcoming taproom, on-location kitchen and an outdoor beer garden. There are also indoor retail spaces that can be rented for hosting meetings, weddings, and local social gatherings.

But one of the most interesting things about Urban Growler is the building itself. This century-old brick and timber space was once home to the St. Paul Police horse stables back in the late 1800’s. After that tenure, it became a manufacturing facility for wooden skis and hockey sticks (after all, this IS Minnesota) as well as other warehousing in later years. The designers for Urban Growler did an awesome job of resurrecting the true character of the old building while adding a few modern updates for comfort and accessibility.

Urban Growler IPA Cans.jpg

The brewery is looking to output 2000 barrels this year, up from about 1250 last year. Their flagship brewsinclude traditional beers like their CowBell Cream Ale, Midwest IPA and their De-Lovely Porter. They also brew an interesting Kentucky Uncommon Ale and a “West-Coast-hops-meets-East-Coast-maltiness” Golden Hammer IPA. All Urban Growler flagship beers are lovingly handcrafted in 10-barrel batches under the close supervision of Master Brewer Deb.

But one of the best things about being a small brewery is that you can brew small batches and experiment with limited releases. Last year, Urban Growler brewed over 40 different beers, some as small as half-barrel experiments! Most of these end up in the taproom where their popularity is voted on by their customers’ consumption. The more popular winners then might end up as a seasonal or limited release for distribution in cans.

Lately much of their focus has been on a concept that they call “Plow to Pint®”. They have found that people would rather drink locally and that they appreciate locally sourced products. For this endeavor, Urban Growler uses ingredients harvested from farmers in the area to create unique beers with a distinct twist. Some of the recent favorites include Blueberry Wheat featuring blueberries harvested from a family-owned farm in Princeton, MN, and an Oak Aged Imperial Ale with Frontenac Grapes that used classic oak barrels and Frontenac grapes gown outside Red Wing, MN. They are currently working with the Rainforest Alliance in Guatemala and the University of Minnesota to create a collaboration brew using the sustainable ramon nut. Not your ordinary Stout.

While most of the flagship beers at Urban Growler are filled by a Wild Goose system into preprinted cans bought in bulk, these new small batch creations are getting canned and labeled using pressure-sensitive custom-designed labels. This allows the brewery to be more flexibile while doing a small batch economically and using eye-catching designs for their new brews.

Urban Growler has been canning approximately 150 cases of their small batch seasonals every few months. But because of their success, they are now looking to ramp things up to 250-case batches of their special beers once a month. To do this, the brewery had to invest in a new automated labeling system.

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After much research and a few false starts, they happened to find Weber Packaging Solutions online. They contacted Weber whose local rep came out to see what the best solution would be for Urban Growler. The brewery was growing and would need to be able to scale up to the larger brew runs at higher speeds in the future. Reliability was key to a new system and it had to be easy for the staff to operate.

Steve Sylvander, the local Weber rep, suggested a PackLeader 501 wrap-around labeling system that would fit right into their existing canning line. And since Weber is one of the largest label manufacturers in the USA, Steve helped Urban Growler get their custom labels printed for the first few runs. Their first two brews off the new line were a Rhubarb Wit (yum!) and their Kentucky Uncommon.

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Head brewer, Jesse Pittman, who came to Urban from Swamphead Brewing in Florida, was there for the installation and managed the first runs.

“Experience has taught me you need good gear with a simple interface that is easy for everyone to run,” said Jesse. “It took no time at all to teach the other brewers and staff how to work the PackLeader 501.”

Urban Growler is now in the position to can and share more of their specialty beers with an ever-widening audience. Being self-distributed, the brewery only reaches the metro St. Paul/Minneapolis and surrounding areas for now. But plans are to continue to spread their brand and grow at a comfortable pace.

When asked what lies ahead in the future for Urban Growler, Deb replied, “We want to grow to be one of the top ten breweries in Minnesota by reputation. We want to continue to build our brand by bringing people together with our quality products and innovation.”

I have a feeling they will do it.

#WomeninBusiness: Beer, money, LGBTQ, marriage, and the support of the community

 

#WomeninBusiness: Beer, money, LGBTQ, marriage, and the support of the community.

- A conversation with Deb Loch, master brewer, and Jill Pavlok, co-head-honcho at Urban Growler Brewing Company

This is the first, and so far, the only #brewery in #Minnesota that is founded by women. Deb is a master brewer, and together with her partner Jill, they've opened up a brewery where they serve some awesome brews and food!

In today's podcast, we'll talk about beer, of course, about the science of beer, about sacrifice and support for the one you love, about running a prosperous business, and about how fun it is to make your dreams come true!

We hope you enjoy!

Music by Cheryl B. Engelhardt. Get your free download at http://cbemusic.com

If you like what you're seeing and hearing, we would love for you to become our Patreon supporter.
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For the price of a cup of coffee or more, you’ll get cool perks like getting your name mentioned in our next podcast recording, or a handwritten note from us, or you’ll get the current issue of our most awesome The Business Magazine for Women magazine, delivered directly to your inbox. 
We're also working on adding T-shirts and other exciting things that you will be able to enjoy with your pledge. Have an idea? Comment below.

Your support will give us the resources we need to continue bringing you these interviews with the amazing women, the Wonder Women of every industry.

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#beer #women #lgbtq #patreon #womeninbusiness #podcast#wonderwomen #wonderwoman #monicaantohi#thebusinessmagazineforwomen #wonderwomenpodcast #cbemusic#music #cherylbengelhardt #freedownload

URBAN GROWLER: WOMEN BREWING GREAT BEER

WOMEN DRINKING BEER –BY KATIE JONES - MAR 7, 2018

It’s about two in the afternoon as I sit and chat with Liz Foster, the event coordinator and former beertender at Urban Growler. We’ve got a flight between us as deep cut Prince tracks play subtly in the background. As I chat with her and later when I go for the amazing Mac & Cheese (add the bacon, it’s worth it) people filter in like the muted sunlight, in ones and twos.  They grab stools or tables, wherever is comfortable. I watch the staff rotate and share a meal and a beer at the bar as they start and end their shifts.  I overhear a conversation about Marvel vs. DC movies and join in easily. I strike up a conversation with the woman sitting a seat down from me and we notice those around us are half men and half women and we smile.  This is a day in the life at the Urban Growler.

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Full Article Here

Best Breweries in Minneapolis (By Neighborhood)

Explore Minneapolis Microbreweries By Bike or on Foot

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, exploring the Minneapolis microbreweries never gets old. After much research and many pints, I’ve assembled five self-guided biking or walking neighborhood routes to the best breweries in Minneapolis including tips and suggested restaurants. 

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As if the beer at Urban Growler Brewing Co. wasn’t delicious enough, pair that with their delicious tater tots in the beer garden and your heart (and tummy) will be happy. This brewery is also the first women-owned brewery in Minnesota, which I think is pretty awesome.

If going by bicycle, the University of Minnesota transitway will drop you just a few short blocks from the brewery! You can also take the Green Line light rail towards St Paul-Union Depot and get off at Raymond Ave.

Full Article Here

ERIC’S TOP 25 MINNESOTA BREWERIES OF 2017

Eric Wentling / December 14, 2017 / Beerploma News

“Northern Ale Guide – helping craft beer lovers explore MN beer. We provide great beer discounts and unique information about more than 60 local taprooms- all while supporting solutions to fight hunger around the world through our Craft Your Community initiative. Learn more at northernaleguide.com

Note: I actually used the Northern Ale Guide this year and made it to just under half of the breweries who were included.  That’s a lot of free beer over the year and well worth it if you are like me and like the excuse to go explore a bit!  –Eric

For the last 10 years or so I’ve been publishing my top Minnesota brewery list.  As a super beer geek, beer blogger, podcaster, and homebrewer, I like this excuse to really think back to the past year’s beery adventures.  And I like to share.  Looking at the current MN brewery list it looks like I’ve been to just over 80 of them, but that leaves about 60 I haven’t been to yet!  I rate a brewery on a combination of beer quality (for style and for my personal taste), as well as the taproom experience if I’ve been there.  If I have lots of good experience with particular beers or breweries they are likely to get higher on my list than say… a sample I tried at a beer festival.  Your results may vary from mine, but hopefully this will either spark some lively debate or even prompt some of you to check these out.  Last year I got a lot of grief for not including a certain bearded Nordeast brewery from list, but hey at least I knew folks were reading the article and actually cared!  I also throw a few of my personal favorites from each brewery so you can see if your tastes align with mine.  Here goes, let loose the dogs of BEER!

23) Urban Growler (St. Paul):

Urban growler continues to be one of the more comfortable taprooms in the area.  With recent expansion and now packaging, we’ll hopefully be seeing more of this outside of St. Paul.  De-Lovely Porter, Pumpkin Saison. 

Full Article

2017 Lavender Community Awards

By Kassidy Tarala December 7, 2017

The recipients of the Lavender Community Awards were nominated and voted for online in the month of November. Winners demonstrate clear dedication and leadership by being either out or an ally, and working for the advancement of the community that is comprised of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied people. Without further ado, we are proud to present the recipients of the 2017 Lavender Community Awards. 

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Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch
Organizational Involvement: Urban Growler Brewing Company

“We live, eat, and breathe our brewery.” This statement alone could probably sum up the dedication Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak have for Urban Growler and the GLBT community. “We hope we are making our community proud. We came up with the idea to start a brewery during a very divisive time—politically and religiously. The Catholic Church had mailed out CDs trying to encourage people to vote against the marriage amendment. We were both raised Catholic; no longer practicing, but we’re both still saddened by the church’s stance and thought, if people would just sit down with us and have a beer they would realize there is nothing to be afraid of. We all want the same things from life: to be loved and accepted. Period. So, the idea to open a brewery to bring people together through beer was born. All are welcome here. Period.”

Despite their busy schedules at Urban Growler, the two still find time to give back to the community. “As I mentioned, we live, eat, and breathe our brewery, so we don’t have much time to get involved in other organizations. So we do what we can to bring the organizations to us. We do PhilanthroBrews, fundraisers for nonprofits that fit with what we value: schools, women and girls organizations, animal rescues, and the elderly,” they say. “We think it’s cool to be given an award for being true to yourself, your mission, and your values. We will continue to do what we can to make the community proud. We SINCERELY appreciate all the support from the LGBTQ and ally community.”

Full Article