#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

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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.


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. 


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 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. 

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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. 



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


“Getting Hitched” – Urban Growler Brewing Company Provides Time to Vow and Space to Wow

By Terrance Griep October 12, 2017
Categories: Food & DiningOur SceneStyle & Entertaining


When you hoof your way through the Capital City’s Saint Anthony Park neighborhood, it’s not hard to invoke an earlier time, especially when you get to 2325 Endicott Street. You notice straw-colored brick that, supported by licorice-colored steel, forms a farm-like edifice, and, as if recalling a dead stranger’s memories, you can almost see a tweed-hatted, denim-swathed laborer fastening a wagon’s pole shaft to its trace, its trace to its harness, and its harness to its reins. You can almost hear the rhythmic clip-clop-clip of hooves leaving the building, the round, wooden grind of a wagon’s spoked wheels as it gossips with the cobblestones. You can almost whiff the smell of…the smell of…well, it’s probably best not to dwell on the pongs of that Gilded Age.

If you tread past the doorlike windows and enter through the windowy door leading to Suite 11, you’ll find an inviting establishment that has come into existence only recently—relatively speaking, that is.  Urban Growler Brewing Company was opened in July 2014 by head brewer Deb Loch and her partner, Jill Pavlak. These two combined their complementary skills and passions to create great beer, food, and space for everyone.

That last point is key. “Everyone needs to feel loved and accepted,” Deb Loch elaborates. “Today there’s so much that divides us. At Urban Growler, Jill and I wanted to create a culture where we could come together—GOP, DFL, gay, straight, whatever—where we’re brought together by a common culture…beer.”

That last point is key, as well.  Urban Growler isn’t just a trendy taproom, it’s a packaging microbrewery. That means that beer crafted in the brewery taproom is poured into kegs and further distributed to metro area retailers. (Growlers, not incidentally, are handled, refillable half-gallon bottles popular amongst beer connoisseurs…because moderation is for frou-frou wine drinkers.)

The in-house hops soda can also be enjoyed within the building where it was created, that building being a repurposed horse stable used by the Saint Paul Police Department before the invention of the high-speed chase. The Urban Growler features a kitchen, a taproom, a beer garden, and a patio, and that’s not all: it also includes places that can take that space-for-everyone-ness to its most strident form: marriage.

Loch and Pavlak know about that particular institution—they are, in fact, life partners as well as business partners…and although their marriage ceremony was a low-key affair that predated the opening of their business, it left a mark on their approach when aiding and abetting the matrimonies of others. “Our main goal is to make it easy for people,” Loch assures. “We meet with the couples and figure out what they want and what we can offer. We’re always trying to reduce their stress. There are so many possibilities.”

The opportunity to borrow space itself arrived in gradating possibilities. Urban Growler’s first rental area was an upstairs room nicknamed, for the obvious reason, the Hayloft. Spatial capacity was increased with the addition of the Barrel Room. An even-more-recent addition has compounded potential social volume to nearly-Madonna-wedding-levels…that is, Urban Growler can now accommodate from 150 to 175 possible wedding guests.


This area has been used for multiple rehearsal dinners, myriad wedding receptions, and precisely one nuptial ceremony. “So far,” Loch qualifies. “Many of the renters create themes for their weddings or their dinners. The only limit is their imagination. The exposed brick creates real ambience. It’s not just a dinner—it’s an experience.”

Loch reports “rave reviews” from people who have turned the space into their own experience…but when pressed, they’ve made suggestions that led to improvements in air conditioning and accessibility. Says Loch, “We’re always listening.”

The establishment’s website promises, “neighborhood atmosphere, specialty house-made beers and tasty food menu come together to create a memorable event for you and your guests.” You might not think of a brewery as place to say your vows, but a repurposed stable might, in fact, be the perfect place to get hitched.

Circling The Wagons—Rehearsing, Receiving, or Betrothing at Urban Growler

Although parking can be a misadventure within Saint Anthony Park, it’s not much of an issue for visitors of the Urban Growler in search of a hitching post. A large parking lot is adjacent to the former stable, and other lots abound in the area. Further, because the Urban Growler is helpfully surrounded by roads, on-street parking is also available.

Once inside, you have multiple options where celebrating is concerned. The first of these is the commodious Barrel Room, part of which is offered for your partying needs. When it’s not teeming with celebrants indulging in its singular character, the Barrel Room also serves, as its name implies, as a barrel aging room. The space can be configured for seated meetings or cocktail height tables for receptions and socializing.

If you’re not stairs-averse, you might consider the Hayloft, which looms over the Taproom. It can house up to 49 partiers, thanks to its previous iteration as an actual, lowercase-h hayloft, harkening back to its years as fuel storage for the police horses who protected and served your great-grandparents. Much like the Barrel Room, the Hayloft can be configured in any number of ways.

The Taproom is available for rent exclusively on Mondays, the particulars of which are handled on a case-by-case basis. And, come to think of it, if you’re the type of person who would want to get married on a Monday, you’re probably not going to set foot inside a brewing company in the first place.

Regardless of the day, catering options abound: a virtual tray-o-copia is available—veggie trays, fruit trays, sandwich trays, and hummus trays, each accompanied by a side of appropriately savory garnish; finger foods are available for your tactile and gustatory pleasure—spinach dip crostini, bruschetta, chips and pico, beer cheese ball and crackers which serves 15 to 20 guests…or five writers.....

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Introducing 50 Inspirational Minnesotans Over 50

September 14, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. – AARP Minnesota and a civic engagement group called Pollen are honoring 50 Minnesotans over age 50. 

The award smashes the myth that older people are washed up. Instead, the honorees are doing groundbreaking work in their communities. 

They come from all over the state and from diverse backgrounds, ranging in age from 50 to 86. 

Seth Boffeli, communications director for AARP Minnesota, says many of the award winners moved from corporate to nonprofit or volunteer work.

"People who are in their 50s and 60s have a lifetime of experiences, of skills, and they take all of that, they just pour it into those new endeavors, and it really makes a difference in communities across the state," Boffeli states.

The 50-over-50 award honors 10 people in five categories: nonprofit groups, business, arts, community and disruption, meaning dispelling stereotypes about aging.

Jill Pavlak won in the business category. She and her wife Deb own Urban Growler in St. Paul, the first female-owned microbrewery in the state. 

They left successful corporate careers to take on the new challenge about six years ago – before same-sex marriage was legal and when the issue was dividing Minnesotans against each other.

"Boy, when this was all happening, if people would just sit down with us and have a beer, they would realize there's nothing to be afraid of,” Pavlak states. “We all want the same thing – and the whole reason for the brewery was we wanted to bring people together."

Urban Growler has community tables and organizes community-building events.

Pavlak says life experience has taught her to take setbacks in stride and to ask for help when she doesn't know something.

"As I age, I just think of the accumulation of wonderful people I get to have in my life,” she relates. “All these connections you've built over the years of your working life and your career and your friendships. You have so many people to support you."

That sense of gratitude and a taste for adventure is something the honorees all share. To learn more about the honorees and how to nominate someone, visit 50over50mn.org.

Full Article



August 24th, 2014- St. Paul, MN--Cowbell Cream Ale was chosen as 1/25 brews.  The Better Beer Society (BBS) and our team of Certified Cicerones® have partnered for the second year with the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair on developing and implementing a quality control and assurance program for this year’s beer entries, offering feedback and reporting to breweries who are represented by the Brewer’s Guild, as well as ensuring quality flights and the best experience possible for fairgoers.

Come visit us at the Land of 10,000 Beers exhibit in the Agriculture Building and enjoy a newly curated Blue Ribbon flight highlighting some of the most exciting and quality brewing being done by Minnesota breweries.

We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure inclusion that embraces brewery, stylistic, regional and seasonal diversity.

Below is our selection for the 2017 Blue Ribbon Flight. Recognizing, of course, that taste is subjective, please join us this year using the hashtag #myblueribbon and let us know what your blue ribbon beer is. Cheers!

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Whats your blue ribbon.png

Meet the 2017 "50 Over 50"

August 15th, 2017—Minnesota, USA—Jill Pavlak was featured in "50 Over 50".  Fifty of the most inspiring and accomplished leaders from across Minnesota.  

"In 2008, Jill Pavlak, St. Paul, traded a successful career in sales for the pursuit of her dream: opening a brewery with her partner, Deb Loch. Jill took restaurant and liquor store jobs to learn the food and beverage industry, visited breweries across the country with Deb, and together saved up their “beer money.” Today, at 52, Jill is living her dream with Urban Growler, Minnesota’s first woman-owned brewery which she co-owns with Deb. In an industry often viewed as belonging to young people, Jill has created a successful brewery that caters to diverse patrons of all ages … and their dogs. Her commitment to the local farm culture is poured into the brewery’s “Plow to Pint” series of beers made from local ingredients. With a mission of “bringing people together through beer,” it’s no surprise that Jill is particularly proud that Urban Growler has been recognized for creating a welcoming space for all".

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Hit the road with two beer tours of the Twin Cities

MAY 31, 2017 — 4:49PM-- Minneapolis, MN

What’s better than beer on a warm summer day?

As the Twin Cities beer scene continues to grow, the proliferation of taprooms makes it ever easier to string together taproom-hopping tours both in the center of, and on the edges of, the metro area. Here are two trip options — one long and one short — that offer thirst-quenching opportunities.

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Business Awards honor eight St. Paul businesses

March 25, 2017 at 11:55 am
By FREDERICK MELO | fmelo@pioneerpress.com | Pioneer Press

The city of St. Paul inaugurated a new tradition on Wednesday — the St. Paul Business Awards, which honor local businesses that have contributed to the city’s fiber through services, employment, charity and good works.

The annual award contest, which is based in part on nominations from the public, was the brainchild of St. Paul City Council Members Rebecca Noecker, Dai Thao and Jane Prince.  The selection committee included representatives of the Neighborhood Development Center, St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Midway Chamber of Commerce, Highland Business Association, Neighborhood Development Alliance, East Side Neighborhood Development Company and Dayton’s Bluff Community Council... READ FULL ARTICLE

Urban Growler Receives 1st Annual Alice O'Brien Award from City of St. Paul

March 22, 2017
St. Paul, MN

Business is booming in St. Paul – and our business community is one of our city’s most valuable resources.  From small businesses to major employers, new start-ups to generations-old family firms, St. Paul companies provide jobs and services to residents, support for our non-profit institutions, and a solid foundation for our city’s growth and prosperity. To recognize the outstanding businesses that call St. Paul home, the City of St. Paul is launching the Saint Paul Business Awards Program.

The Saint Paul Business Awards Program will recognize local businesses that provide critical services, contribute to our community, invest in their employees and are committed to our values of equity and diversity. 

Click here to see full award list

Watch video below or click here:

Women-Run Nonprofit, Brewery Celebrate #ADayWithoutAWoman

Gov. Dayton Proclaims March As 'Women's History Month'

March 8, 2017 5:00 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Wednesday is International Women’s Day.

The United Nations-designated day, which has been observed since the early 1900s, falls on the same day as “A Day Without a Woman.”

Women across the country were encouraged to take the day off from work to show how the importance women play in the nation’s economy. It is put on by the same group that organized the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in January.... Full Article & Video



Every time I do an interview at a brewery, I’m always directed to the same person. Typically, I’m referred to the brewer, and typically this brewer is a man -- a congenial dude with a blue-collar ethic and a beard that could sell beer on its own. This image of the brewer has come to epitomize the very identity of brewing in its many facets. This person isn’t just the creator; they’re the manifestation of the entire craft beer industry....

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Archival Story: Barrel Release Party – Nov 2

October 17, 2016

Join us in our new event space for our first barrel-aged beer release party on November 2 from 6:30-8pm.

The two beers from their “Cellar Collection” that will be released are: Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout No. 2 and Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout No. 3. There will also be two additional “experimental brews” available that are exclusive to the release party.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased here or at Urban Growler’s taproom. Tickets include:

Access to barrel room
Two beers from the Cellar Collection
Two experimental brews
Appetizers paired with the beers
Master Brewer & co-owner Deb Loch will provide narrative for the tasting
Learn about St. Paul’s colorful past with resident historian Anja Kroll

Archival Story: Oct 27 – Beermaste: Yoga & Beer

October 1, 2016

Beermaste: Yoga & Beer
Thu, October 27, 2016
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Urban Growler Hayloft

Join Urban Growler Brewing Co, and Lindsay Conrad Fitness for yoga in the brewery! Lindsay will guide you through a 60 minute all levels yoga class followed by a pint of good brew. Come ground down, move your body and create community with each other as we move through various postures on your mat. After class, take a moment to wind down and sip a good brew with each other. Bring a friend, mat and water bottle.
Ticket price includes: 60 minute all levels yoga class and one pint of beer. 

Archival Story: Push Ups and Pints Bootcamp

May 13, 2016

When:  Saturday, June 4th 9am-10am
Where: Urban Growler Brewing Company (2325 Endicott, St.Paul)
Cost: $20 for a Great Workout AND a delicious pint!

Lisa Hane of Flex Appeal Fitness Studio in St. Paul, will be leading a high energy, FUN, bootcamp style workout session. Workout with Lisa and cool down with a pint of beer (or non-alcoholic alternative) following class.

ADDED BONUS!! One lucky winner will take home a growler of the microbrewery’s delicious brew.

Deadline for registration is Friday, June 3.
Space is limited – Don’t miss out!

Register on our Facebook page!