It was a treat to visit Uncommon Loon Brewing in Chisago Lakes. I stopped by on my way up to Duluth for the weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised with everything from the beer to the space. The name of the brewery is a play on Minnesota’s state bird, the mosquito (I jest, it’s the common loon), and the taproom tastefully reflects Minnesota lake life with touches such as wood carvings for sale and punny beer names.
Uncommon Loon is located in the prior Chisago City fire station and community center, and it appears that they’ve kept the community spirit of the place alive. In addition to all the folks in the bustling Friday afternoon taproom, the two additional event spaces were also filled with community members attending local fundraisers. There was a feeling of joy in the space, and not just because it was happy hour on a Friday.
I ordered a couple flights so I could try their full lineup, and my favorites turned out to be the Hooksetter IPA (6.6% ABV, 59 IBU) and the Nut Brown Ale (5.3% ABV, 26 IBU). The Nut Brown was so good I had to grab a second, which isn’t common for me with the style. Sometimes that cold, damp, springtime weather requires autumnal beers more than Minnesota’s 90 degree October days do.
When I asked the busy bartenders for advice, they knew just who to call over. Brad Klatt, a co-owner of the brewery, home brewer of 23 years, and head brewer, took a pause from clearing glassware to chat with me. He offered my friends and I a tour of the space, proudly sharing the stories of both the beer and community with us.
His advice to me was: “My art teacher Mrs. Kast taught me to retire to something. I think she meant art, but this is my art. I retired from a 36-year career into this, so I think everyone should find what they should retire to, not retire from or escape from.”
I couldn’t agree more with Klatt. There’s no value in creating a life we want to escape from, and there’s no joy in sitting still. Klatt found a way to turn a hobby into a lifestyle, and I’ve gotta say…he seems to have it figured out.