About an hour’s drive south of the Twin Cities sits one of Minnesota’s cutest, most historical breweries — Chapel Brewing.
Located in the small town of Dundas, MN on the East side of the Cannon River, Chapel Brewing literally lives up to its name. At one time or another, the building served as a chapel, a Sunday School room, a jail, a townhall or a photography studio. The building is steeped in history, tangible and immediately felt upon entering.
Covered in fresh snow, Chapel Brewing looked cute and inviting, though surrounded by trees and with an outdoor patio, it’s probably just as appealing or more so in the warmer months.
We happened to stop on our way down to visit friends in Iowa. Our Hop Passport and Northern Ale Guide gave us reasons to make “beer stops” along the way and help us achieve our goal of visiting every brewery and taproom in Minnesota.
We walked into the taproom and realized the building was just that — a taproom!
The original space was so small, the actual brewing — we discovered — takes place in the garage next door. When a customer came in and asked if he could sample a beer not yet on tap, the head brewer walked outside to the garage and came back with the sample!
At any one time, Chapel Brewing has eight or so beers on tap, ranging from Stouts and Black IPAs to Kolsch and Ales.
Our Oatmeal Stout and Brown Ale were both fantastic, and we probably would have stayed for another drink or two had we not needed to get to Iowa. Chapel also serves non-alcoholic beverages, including root beer, cold press coffee and kombucha. Adam — who had never had kombucha before — tried a sample and found that he actually enjoyed it, despite the sort of creepy brewing process!
Before settling on the name “Chapel Brewing,” it had actually been tested out under names like “Meetinghouse” and “Meetinghall.” But in reflecting on the building’s rich history, head brewer Andrew shares why they chose Chapel Brewing,
“Why was this building built in the first place?” It’s original intent was probably to be a Sunday School. Not a church, necessarily, but a meeting place…a gathering spot for the community. It was, we realized, a chapel.”
And a gathering spot for the community it remains. One of the highlights in our visit — aside from the great beer — was meeting one of the locals, a kindly gentleman who lived there in Dundas and — like us — had found an appreciation for craft beer thanks to great breweries like Chapel Brewing. We ended up having a wonderful conversation with this man — whose name we have, unfortunately, since forgotten — about beer, church, charity work, and life in Minnesota. We found that we actually had a lot in common, a testament to the community that beer — and a chapel — can bring together.
With Spring on the way, Chapel Brewing stands out as one of our most memorable finds of the Winter season, and we look forward to planning a visit — or making another impromptu stop — during warmer weather. Maybe we’ll see you there!
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): 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺
– Adam & Katie, Ale Adventures