Modist gets brewing in the North Loop
BY: ERIC BEST: The Journal : April 4, 2016
The brewery plans to serve uniquely produced beers outside traditional styles.
Modist Brewing Company will soon open the doors of its North Loop taproom.
While the North Loop and Warehouse District are slated to get a few new breweries, from Inbound Brewco to Clockwerks Brewing, Modist intends to make a name for itself with its style-defying beers. The name, a play on words referencing modify, comes from the founders’ love of making things their own.
The founders behind Modist all have strong connections to the local brewing community. Keigan Knee, a Dangerous Man Brewing Company veteran, leads the brewing operation. John Donnelly and Kale Anderson from Lucid Brewing (now called North Loop BrewCo) serve as head of sales and operations, respectively. Eric Paredes, chief manager, was last at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, but also volunteered at Harriet Brewing and tended the bar at Dangerous Man.
The four chose a vacant 18,000-square-foot warehouse at 505 N. 3rd St. to build out their brewery, which leaves plenty of room for future growth. The approximately 2,000-square-foot taproom, which abuts the brewing operations, has seating for about 180 people and an outdoor patio for another 40. An alcove near the entrance could also host small events. The staff, keeping with the tinker theme, made their own tables and even did their own welding.
Where Modist does the most tinkering though is in the brewing operations. Paredes said they aren’t brewing to styles, such as an IPA or porter, but rather to flavors. The taproom will have what Paredes calls an education center, a place where guests can hear more about and sample beers, as a way of navigating the unique brews.
“We are huge proponents of education in general, a Beer 101 type of thing. This is also going to be about not just our beers and the process, but beer in general.” Paredes said.
Beyond not brewing by style, Modist also uses unique methods to make their brews. Rather than relying on traditional lautering, which requires larger grains to keep from clogging up, Modist processes its grains into something that resembles flour and sends its brews through a multi-chambered mash filter.
The process produces extremely efficient beer, Paredes said. The entire process uses about half as much water as traditional methods.
“We’re incredibly efficient in our use of raw materials, including water,” Paredes said.
On the wall, Modist breaks down its definition as “a modern artistic expression utilizing modification to achieve a self-conscious and intentional break from the conventional.”
While the philosophy won’t win them any awards, Paredes said it will make for distinctive beer.
Knee said they’ll open with five beers: their calibration beer (traditionally the “control” beer breweries initially run through a new system) and four of Modist’s five flagship brews.
The calibration beer is a simple hybrid between a traditional lager and traditional ale, he said. While other breweries might not sell this initial brew, Modist will offer its own when the taproom opens.
Their most approachable flagship beer, pHresh, is a “gateway sour” that’s full of fruit flavors and low on alcohol. Knee said it’s their answer to a pilsner or blonde ale.
Toats, a hoppy oat session ale, is “something you can drink all day,” he said. The beer is 68 percent oats, which is far and away more than other breweries (usually 10-15 percent for an oatmeal stout), thanks to Modist’s unique brewing operation. Toats is orange in color and has a creamy citrus taste.
Modist makes its rye beer, Wasteland, with a similarly high percentage of rye. The hoppy beer has a 7-8 percent ABV.
Smoove is a sea salt and caramel dessert lager with toffee, caramel and bread notes. Parades said the sea salt gives the beer a softer, smoother taste.
While it’s still brewing, Modist will soon be serving First Call, a cold press coffee lager. The beer starts as a simple lager, which is then used to cold brew the coffee beans.
“It’s the perfect brunch beer,” Knee said.
Modist is working to add cans 6-8 months after opening, and it already has space in the back for the canning line. Paredes said they’re looking to collaborate with makers and artists to make the cans. Modist plans to start distributing to bars about a month after opening.
Instead of growlers, Modist, in keeping with its sustainable practices, plans to have 750ml crowlers, but they’ll fill clean growlers.
Modist will host food trucks, and Paredes said they plan to collaborate with the trucks to pair food with Modist’s beer.
Modist officially opens Friday, April 15, but Paredes said if people are walking around the neighborhood before the Twins home opener on Monday, April 11, the doors won’t exactly be closed.
Photo by Eric Best. More photos.
For information about Modist, visit modistbrewing.com.