Bent Brewstillery is on a mission to change the way people drink craft. But not everyone’s supportive of it.
Located in Roseville, MN — just miles, ironically, from two “dry” Christian universities — is Minnesota’s only brewstillery to date. Bent Brewstillery produces both craft beer and spirits, though because of current state laws, they can’t serve both over the counter. For the time being, they serve their beer on tap and spirits in bottles, though they hope to see that change in the near future.
Located in an industrial park, Bent is a little difficult to find. Once found, it’s even harder to identify — TV’s, high tables, bar stools and fatheads of Bent’s beer-characters give a sports bar feel while homemade wood flights, half-barrel tables, exposed piping and metal accents and various artworks on the walls give the impression of a more contemporary Minnesota-style taproom. Booths, tables and the bar offer plenty of space for the casual drinker or party group. The bathrooms, believe it or not, are also worth noting, with their unique faucets and even bidet in the ladies restroom (owner Bartley knows the positive impression a clean and memorable bathroom can make). It’s all rather “unidentifiable” (their word, not ours) like their beers. And that’s the way they like it.
Bent’s constantly rotating beer list is a treat in itself, with ten or more adventurous beers on tap ranging from ales and IPA’s to stouts, sours and even ciders.
We tried the Fruit & Cider, Nicked export double stout, Grape Salad sour, Crystal A.K. pale mild and Plum Surprised malt mead. The Cider (jackfruit and sweet lime) was very sweet, almost like juice; the stout was a big and strong; the sour very grape-y and not too sour; and the pale mild, mild. The Plum Surprised was a real surprise — at 12.5% ABV, it was more like a wine and even served in a wine glass.
One of the highlights of our visit was sitting down with owner and head distiller Bartley Blume to learn more about his fight to serve both craft beer and spirits in the taproom.
He received a home brewing kit from his wife Brenda in 2007, and brewing quickly became an obsession. In 2012 he quit his day job to begin seriously pursuing craft brewing as a career. In 2013 he entered into a brewing contract with Pour Decisions (located in Bent’s current Roseville location) before merging with them in 2014, taking on the name Bent Brewstillery and becoming Minnesota’s first and (currently) only craft beer and spirits production facility.
Brewing is cool; distilling is sexy.”
Since then, he’s been on a mission — and, at times, fight — at the political level to see his spirits and cocktails served in the taproom alongside his beers. In essence, Bartley wants everyone to feel catered to under his roof — the beer-pounders and cocktail-sippers alike.
History lesson under our belt, Bartley then gave us a tour of his brewstillery’s production facility. The brewery itself was pretty typical and covered quickly — a 2-vessel, 20-barrel system as well as a 5-barrel pilot system for (mostly) sours. The distillery system and spirits were what really stood out to us, though. A beautiful 500-gallon MegaStill does the production while a 26-gallon spirit still allows for more experimental spirits. Using high-quality ingredients, they’re making equally high-quality spirits. We couldn’t believe how smooth the rum was, how many specific flavors the gin featured, and how drinkable the liqueur was. It’s no wonder Bartley believes in his spirits and wants to see them sold in the taproom; we certainly understood the reason for his political fight.
Our visit was as appealing to our tastebuds as it was educational. If you’ve never been out to Bent Brewstillery, it’s worth a visit. If you have been before, join Bartley’s campaign to see his spirits and beers both served on-location. Through April 30, 2018, visit this Facebook event to Make Your Voice Heard. Otherwise, visit this link to find your local state representative, then give them a call, send them an email or write them a letter to let them know you’d like to enjoy locally-crafted spirits at your local brewstillery.
Bent Brewstillery’s doing some pretty revolutionary stuff, and their longevity, growth and widespread availability in- and out-side of the Twin Cities area are proof of their success.
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): 🍺🍺🍺🍺
- Spirits Selection (special category): 🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃
- Spirits Taste (special category): 🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃
- Spirits Availability (special category): 🥃🥃🥃🥃🥃
– Adam & Katie, Ale Adventures