My friends, it has been too long. Now that I’m visiting breweries as they pop up rather than trying to hit 140+ at once, it seems I’ve lost my discipline on the blog.
I’m finally bringing to you Blue Wolf Brewing in Brooklyn Park. You may have read some of my previous words about this brewery in The Growler. Excerpt below:
Over 20 years ago, a wife bought her husband his first Mr. Beer kit. This is the story of so many Christmases and birthdays and special occasions. But for Mike and Jennifer Campbell, that simple gift sparked a decades-long dream: a dream that is finally coming to fruition in a taproom in Brooklyn Park.
Jennifer bought into the dream of opening a brewery as soon as her husband did 14 years ago. She remembers, “I saw very early on his ability to understand and brew really good beers but also his ability to teach others. I really supported him in finding his way in this industry and asked him to go find a job that supported his passion and his interests.”
Mike’s initial dreams of working in craft beer took shape in 2003—back when Summit was the only brewery in town, which meant employment opportunities were sparse. He took up a job in a homebrew shop, where he worked for nine years.
In 2018, the Campbells made the leap from homebrew tastings and selling supplies to their big dream: owning and operating a craft brewery. The process was long, and the trials were many, but they stayed the path. In my experience, when working on a project you’re passionate about, the process doesn’t feel so much like work as it does an opportunity to learn and grow.
It’s unique that craft beer has become that project for so many people. The Campbells’ story is a common one for Minnesota brewery owners. Hundreds of people are taking their hobby of creative problem solving and making cool stuff with their hands and turning it into a business. I hope to see this pattern continue across industries, because there’s an extra satisfaction in buying from someone whose hand you can shake across the bar.
When I visited the Blue Wolf taproom, I enjoyed a few samples, including the Wolf Spirit IPA and the Wolf Cry Rye Ale. The space, fitting the Campbells’ intentions, already feels like a neighborhood bar. The layout of the four-person tables and the strangers chatting at the bar make this taproom more a regular hangout for old friends than a trendy space where Instagrammers stop once for the photo, never to return.
I asked one of the friendly faces behind the bar for advice. The advisee was a woman who encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone sooner rather than later. She told me, “Take every chance and opportunity you have while you’re younger. As you get older, more stuff gets in the way.”
While I agree with my bartender, I’d add that we are never really living in the “too late” category of life. Instead, I think her advice is meant to get me off my heels. There never will be a perfect time to take a risk, but as I delay in taking one waiting for that ideal moment, I inevitably afford myself more time to create excuses to stay safe and comfortable.
Perhaps I’ll paraphrase her and say, “Take your chances now, or risk waiting forever for the perfect opportunity.”