“Utepils” is a Norwegian word that roughly translates to “the first beer you drink outside on a warm, sunny day.” It’s also the name of one of Minneapolis’ most outstanding breweries you might want to drink a first, tenth and hundredth beer at (probably not in one sitting) regardless the weather of the day!
We had the good fortune of meeting John, the Sales Representative for Utepils, New Years Day at — ironically — another brewery (shout out to 612 Brew in NE for being one of the few open!). We struck up a conversation that led to an open invitation to hang out with John at Utepils’ Fernweh taproom sometime. Passing up such an opportunity would have been foolish (obviously), so we planned a visit for Valentine’s Day before our dinner reservation downtown later that evening.
John was too kind to us, pouring us each a super cool Flightski.
John took a lot of pride in each beer, pointing out its color, clarity and taste. He wasn’t making stuff up, either. As their website puts it:
Our beer is brewed using the highest quality water from the historic Glenwood Spring to produce beer that is classic yet uniquely distinct.
At the time of our visit, they had on tap: a Czech Style Pilsner, Unfiltered Czech Style Pilsner, Dusseldorf Style Altbier, Belgian Style Ale, Bavarian Style Hefewiezen, Kolsch and Dry Irish Stout. John joked that — as beer bloggers — we probably wouldn’t say in front of a brewer that we didn’t like his beers, but the truth is, they were fantastic! The Alt 1848 Altbier and Belgian Style Glocal IPA especially were stunning beers.
Following drinks, John gave us a tour of Utepils’ impressive operation. Their website sums it up better than we could:
The brewing equipment—a maze of stainless steel pipes, mash and lauter tuns, a kettle, and six giant, two-story fermenting tanks—was custom-designed and imported from Bavaria. The tanks came from a family that has spent three generations fabricating equipment for breweries. The brewhouse also boasts the first-ever North American installation of the energy-saving Vario Boil system, which helps cut their energy use by almost 75%. Award-winning brewmaster Eric Harper manages all of it using traditional skills, like smell and taste, as well as modern technology: his control center looks like the flight deck of a science-fiction spaceship.
Our only regret was that we had a dinner reservation to get to (maybe timing a visit on Valentine’s Day wasn’t the best idea); we would have loved to stay longer, soak in the atmosphere and imbibe a couple more beers. Guess we just have another reason to visit soon!
Here’s our full review (categories are rated out of five 🍺):
- Beer Selection (number and styles available): 🍺🍺🍺🍺
- Beer Taste (expected of style): 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺
- Location (find-ability/ accessibility): 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺
- Atmosphere/Venue: 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺
- Service (of staff): 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺
Spring’s on the way; we’d say stop by for your first beer of the new season, but really you should stop by anytime anyway.
-Adam & Katie