“I think the story is like most craft breweries now…I homebrewed for eight or nine years and fell in love with it, decided that that was something that I wanted to do and realized western Minnesota was kind of a desert for craft beer. We thought ‘Why don’t we start a craft brewery and create the craft beer for everybody?'” – Nick Patton
A few weeks back, we were invited to visit Talking Waters Brewing Company in Montevideo, MN.
Located a 45 minute drive from the closest brewery in Willmar, two hours from St. Cloud and nearly two and a half hours from the Twin Cities, it’s a bit of a hike to get to and really is in a sort of craft beer desert. Of course, we made a full day trip of it with stops at Goat Ridge Brewing Co. and Foxhole Brewhouse along the way.
We arrived in Montevideo to find a very quiet, unassuming downtown. In fact, if one didn’t know there was a brewery there, it might be the kind of place one simply passes through on their way to another place. As we’ve found, though, these kinds of places often have the most character and personality, and TWBC is no exception. It was around 6:00pm when we arrived and — while most of the businesses and shops downtown had closed up already — Talking Waters Brewing Co. was open and seemed full of life!
Despite its remote location, we actually weren’t unfamiliar with TWBC. We seem to come across the name and logo frequently around Minnesota, a testament to the success of their branding and promotion.
We met co-owner John (below), brewer Nick, promotions manager Jayme (below) and beer-slinger Tyler. Within minutes, we could sense their pride in what they do and the community they do it for.
“The thing that we’re proud of is the fact that we are completely involved in every step of the process here,” brewer Nick Patton said in an interview with PBS, “It’s an incredibly small brewery, and so it allows us the room to experiment and to create things that are new and interesting. And we’re involved in every single part of that — from pouring bags of grain into the mash ton to stirring it with paddles, to hauling kegs ourselves to our distribution points…we’re involved with it every step of the way…We take craftsmanship seriously.”
A tour of the brewing space was short but impressive! The brewing happens in the basement, a relatively small and confined space that requires some creativity; we were impressed by the hacks and DIY jobs they’ve brainstormed up to make the space meet their needs and their work more efficient.
For a small brewery in small-town Minnesota, Talking Waters Brewing Co. sure serves up a lot of beer! Tyler poured us samples of everything they had on tap — more than two flights worth! From cream ale to IPAs, porter to barrel-aged stout and a handful of other options in-between, we were impressed not only by the selection but the taste, too! We didn’t have a bad beer between the two of us, though a couple of our favorites were the Farmer’s Tan Cream Ale and Mikko Milk Stout.
Despite an impending blizzard in the forecast, we ended up staying later than we’d intended to — another testament to the wonderful people of Talking Waters Brewing Co. and Montevideo. Well after the taproom had gone quiet of guests, we were still at the bar with our new friends enjoying rich conversation, loud laughter and really fantastic craft beer.
TWBC may be out in a craft beer desert, but maybe some deserts aren’t so bad!
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