Craft breweries are springing up in small towns across the country, and this month Grand Rapids MN is joining the ranks. Klockow Brewing Company is opening on October 28th in a remodeled warehouse at 36 SE 10th Street, just off Highway 169 near Walgreens. Tasha and Andy Klockow (pronounced CLOCK-oh) are the owners. We talked to Andy Klockow on the Wednesday Morning Show.
For Andy Klockow, brewing beer is a creative act. He learned how to brew from his dad: “My dad did a lot of home brewing when I was growing up. He makes some pretty darn good beer and wine, and kind of as a kid I’d help him bottle and maybe sip the foam here and there. Once I got into college he got me a homebrew kit for one of my birthdays and I just fell in love with the hobby, and just kind of how creative you can get with it. You know, if you add hops at a different spot, or add different spices or different things…it’s a lot like cooking; a lot like baking, and you get to express some creativity.”
The hobby ended up getting Andy a “pretty awesome job” when he was living in the Twin Cities. “I was the friend of the guys that started Hammerheart Brewing Company in Lino Lakes. They make really awesome smoked beer…I met these guys when I was working at Guitar Center because of course we’re all musicians too. I got an apprenticeship there and that started the professional side of me loving everything about craft beer and being able to practice it and come up with some recipes of my own…and be able to test them out on a pretty big scale.”
Considering that Andy's a musician it isn’t surprising that the new brewery will have a stage. It will also feature a mural painted by artist Diamond Knispel. The weeping willow that is Klockow Brewing Company’s logo is a favorite of both Andy and Tasha, and was also loved Andy’s mom, who died when Andy was 17. Andy and Tasha’s families are good at woodworking and welding. Both families are making hand-made tables for the tap house--out of oak, ash, maple, and cherry. Even Andy is trying his hand at making a table.
The couple received planning support for their business from Itasca Economic Development. Andy gives special credit to Shannon Benolken. “She really put us through business plan boot camp and made sure we had a pretty good idea of what we were getting ourselves into.”
Several beers are already in the works for opening day. There’s an Irish Blonde. Andy is also brewing a West Coast-Style IPA “dry hopped with Cascade…it’s getting really fruity!” There will be a Double IPA based off a recipe Andy brewed at Hammerheart: “It’s about a 10% alcohol IPA—a big, strong one!” Andy is also brewing his dad’s favorite, Brown Ale. Rounding out the opening selections are an Irish Stout and a Chocolate Hazelnut Stout.
Klockow Brewing Company is planned as a community gathering place. “We’ve been telling people we’re not the place you end your night. We’re kind of a family friendly place where you can come hang out. We bought a bunch of board games—these would be like Cribbage boards and, you know, if you want to play Monopoly for 8 hours, be our guest.”
The full interview with Andy Klockow is below. In it Andy tells us more about beer, the equipment used in brewing, and their facility.
You can also find more information at Klockow Brewing Company’s Facebook page.