In an unassuming industrial building in the small-ish city of Mankato, you’ll find a group of people brewing great beer. The space is mostly dominated by an exposed brewhouse, separated from the modern rustic taproom only by a waist-high wall.
I enjoyed a Haymaker IPA (ABV: 6.8%, IBU: 92). The beer description notes, “The rich, malty base provides the windup for the hops’ crisp, bright citrus flavors.” Naturally, I took the opportunity to sample their collaboration beer with Boom Chicka Pop as well. It proved a sessionable pour, with just the right hint of Angie’s pop corn.
Tim Tupy co-founded Mankato Brewery, following in the footsteps of his great-great-great grandfather. I had the privilege of hearing Tupy talk about the inner workings of the brewery and the beer they create.
As the owner of two businesses in Mankato, Tupy offered me the professional advice of finding the careful balance of personal and work lives, and recognizing that each person’s balance is different. Tupy confessed that, while he was chatting with our group, he was supposed to be on the road to camp with his family. Even folks with plenty of experience still struggle to find the right balance.
In his presentation, Tupy introduced Mankato’s Head Brewer, Jacob, to the group. I was especially drawn to Jacob’s story when he shared the history behind Mankato’s popular seasonal beer, Mad Butcher. The recipe originates from Jacob and his father’s own home brewing adventures. Jacob later named the beer for his father, who has since passed away. Adding to the intimacy of the story, Jacob’s assistant brewer, Alex, created the label art.
Jacob’s advice to me was to take time to enjoy a beer with someone you love. He explained, “The weekend before my dad died, we got to enjoy a beer together, which was really important to me.” The beer was from Stone’s Enjoy By series, the date of which marked the day of his father’s passing.
I like to think that experience took on a double meaning for Jacob. He got to enjoy something with his father that they had in common, but he also got to have the universal experience of sharing an intimate conversation over a beer. That experience–of quiet contemplation, or of engaged conversation; with an old friend, or with a new one–is so common, so well-understood, so meaningful. It can be a first date, or a warm goodbye. However you dice it, some of the best moments in our lives are punctuated by sharing a beer with someone we love.
P.S. Believe it or not, my trip to Mankato Brewery doubled as part of my day job. Heck, my boss even drove me down there! It’s one of the many perks of having clients in the beer industry.