Utepils Brewing

June 7, 2018

There are a handful of breweries that open and I earmark as a must visit. In February of 2017 one brewery joined the ranks of many other Minneapolis brewers, and it stood out from the others. Early reports were favorable, but I like to let places condition a bit before I visit. More than a year later, my father mentioned that if I were to make the trip to Utepils Brewing, he would want to join. So we went.

Utepils was on my radar because I heard their taproom was beautiful and that their German and European style beers were brewed quite well. This seems like a particularly winning combination. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Germany twice, and I’ve also been to Czechia and Poland as well. My parents lived in Germany while my father was in the army, and they also joined us on a trip through Eastern Europe. We’d drenched our palates with plenty of traditional lagers on those journeys, and we were excited to see how Utepils stacked up.

After food at Pryes Brewing Company we took a short drive and turned immediately after we crossed Bassett Creek. The first thing I noticed was the Fruen Mill, towering over the Bryn Mawr neighborhood. While it’s no longer operational it is a constant reminder of the history of the city and serves as a lasting icon of days past. It’s fitting that the site is now home to a brewery which is more than capable of carrying the torch of that industrial spirit. You may also notice that you drive on Glenwood Avenue to arrive. That’s because the Utepils’ building was once home to the Glenwood Inglewood Water Company, and the entire development is actually referred to as @Glenwood. A building that once served spring water is now serving beer. A fair trade as far as I’m concerned!

Upon entering the building and approaching their taproom you’ll undoubtedly notice their brewing equipment flanking a wide walkway. Before you are distracted, you should peek to the left at their copper lauter grant, which was brought over all the way from Bavaria! They carry this copper color throughout their taproom and branding. After entering the main seating area you’ll see the top of a copper kettle hovering over their bar, also rescued from Germany. It’s these big details that tipped me off that Utepils is a bit different than the other breweries I’ve visited.

We approached the bar and ordered a couple of “flightskis.” These whimsical flight boards are made of two recycled skis with some holes drilled in the top one. It’s always fun to see the ingenuity in how a brewery expresses themselves through their flight board. With flights in tow, and a kombucha for my wife, we took a seat at a high top and settled in.

There were five beers in the flight, and the pours appeared larger than standard tasters. I got the Pils, Copasetic, Ewald the Golden, Glocal IPA, and Springbok. The associated styles were Pilsner, Kolsch, Hefeweizen, Belgian IPA, and Bock. If you’re still wondering, Utepils is a German inspired brewery through and through! After the flight I also had a full pint of the Alt 1848, which ended up being my favorite beer of the visit. It’s a Düsseldorf Style Altbier with a deep copper hue, good maltiness, and a great balance of hop bitterness to round things out. Very drinkable. One surprise was the Glocal IPA. Belgian styles aren’t usually my favorite, but I actually enjoyed this one a fair amount!

The taproom of Utepils is full of little details, and it blends the tradition of a German beer hall with a modern Minnesotan taproom. Glance to one wall and you’ll see gorgeous German inspired murals. Look towards the bar and you’ll see a copper kettle playing against their cooler covered in slats of wood. The one thing missing from the full experience is their beer garden. It wasn’t up and running when we were there but when it finally gets built it’s going to a be a fantastic spot nestled against the Bassett Creek. It’ll be a must visit in the winter for their spacious and warm taproom, and in the summer for the aforementioned beer garden! I’m so glad that Utepils is in the area, and I certainly can’t wait to return.

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