Northeast's burgeoning brewery scene has added one more player to the mix.
612Brew opened Feb. 13. The new taproom/brewery is the anchor tenant of “The Broadway,” Peter Remes's grand redevelopment of the 60,000-square-foot vacant factory at 945 Broadway St. NE. Other businesses opening at The Broadway include Spyhouse Coffee and Sevnth Sin, a digital creative agency. A yoga studio is rumored to be in the works as well.
Tucked almost underneath the intersection of Broadway and Central, the spacious taproom blends seamlessly into their production brewery. Four giant, mirror-polished fermentation tanks stand unobstructed at the back of the room and a floor-to-ceiling mural by local artist Adam Turman dominates the far wall.
“We want people to feel like they're a part of everything,” said Ryan Libby, one of the four co-founders.
The tables and the bar were made with wood from old bowling lanes, which were salvaged from an abandoned bowling alley in Emmetsburg, Iowa. They hope construction will be complete on a planned outdoor amphitheater and rain garden by June.
The miniature urban park is being built by Remes and will be full of old stone blocks recovered from the Metropolitan Building, which was demolished in the early 1960s. It will showcase modern art, have a stage for concerts and space leading out to the parking lot to bring food trucks in. The park will share many similarities with the Ice House Plaza, which Remes opened on 26th and Nicollet last May.
The four co-founders are equal partners and all have distinct roles in their business. Robert Kasak began homebrewing in 2006, and all of the beer will be made using his recipes. Libby takes care of the marketing, Adit Kalra brings the business brains to the operation as the president, and Jamey Rossbach employs his restaurant management experience to head up the sales and front of the house operations.
In August the guys brought aboard Adam Schill to aid Kasak in brewing. Schill previously worked at Tyranena, Magic Hat, and Cold Spring Brewery.
Kasak and Schill have four beers on tap. Rated R, a hop-heavy, slightly-citrusy Rye IPA and Six, a lighter, more drinkable American pale ale are their flagship beers. Zero Hour is a surprisingly smooth, rich black ale that will be available exclusively at the tap room, and Bitter Cold Winter IPA is their winter beer.
Bitter Cold will be swapped out for Mary Ann, a German-style lager brewed with lots of grated ginger, in the spring. The founders seemed to be especially excited for Mary Ann, which Schill will begin brewing this weekend.
“My real favorite is Mary Ann,” said Kalra. It's ridiculous. It is absolutely ridiculous, not like anything you've had before.”
Kalra's family has owned Tandoor, an Indian food restaurant in Bloomington for over 20 years and the taproom will eventually sell Indian street food from the restaurant. Simply Steve's food truck will be on site today and tomorrow, and Melch's Meatwagon takes over Friday and Saturday.
612Brew enters an ever-tightening craft brew market with some impressive credentials. They placed third out of 60 breweries at the Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival in January, and a big crowd packed the Pourhouse at their release party on Feb. 7.
“For our first couple events to go that well was a huge success, and it really justified all of the hard work we've been putting into this,” said Libby.
Despite the early buzz, all of the guys are keeping their day jobs for now.
“For all of us it's a lot to take on, and our families have been great about all of the support they've given us,” said Libby. “I can't complain about having a 14, 15, 16, 17 hour-long day, because I want to do this, I want this thing to succeed.”