Driving through cabin-filled towns with lakes as far as the eye can see…that’s the dream. It was a little dreamier when I visited in late spring, but even a mild winter day can still do it for me.
14 Lakes is the newest brewery in the massive collection of lakes north of Brainerd. The taproom is a well-adapted industrial building with small effects transforming it into a more intimate space.
The top two feet of the wall, for example, are painted the same black as the ceiling, giving the effect of a lower ceiling while still meeting legal height requirements.
The bar—rather than drawing you in from the door with a single, long slab of wood—is broken up with bends and a drop ceiling effect.
I drank a host of beer:
- Big Island Double IPA (9.0, 90)
- Little Pine Pale Ale (6.8%, 40)
- Blonde Rush (6.5%, 20)
- Arnie’s Amber (5.5%, 37)
- Bertha Black IPA (7.3%, 94)
- A sample of the new peanut butter porter
Co-owner Steve Guttormson gave me the advice of Henry Ford. “There is no happiness except in the realization that we accomplished something.”
Steve says he tries to live this advice by accomplishing new things, such as the brewery we stood in. He knew the project would be a challenge, but it was also a great thing to accomplish.