Opening up a brewery has been Chet Collins, owner of Lakeside Tavern, dream for quite some time. It all started when Chet and a friend were hunting in British Columbia and were checking out all of the brew pubs in the area. When Chet's friend brought up that Detroit Lakes needed their own pub, Chet at first didn't think a project like that would be able to be done. After pondering the thought for a while he said "Yeah, let’s do it.” The 1,400 square foot building that once was The Yogurt Place, which had just closed shop, was the perfect space to start Chet's dream, piece by piece it was transformed into a pub brewery. So construction begins, the space was gutted, while Collins began getting everything else in order. Overcoming hurdles such as licensing, as something like this hadn't been done in Detroit Lakes yet. After knocking down the wall that faces the lake and installing eight-foot tall, 24-foot long, sliding glass doors that can be opened up in the summertime, a 27-foot bar which will include some of the pieces of the 100 year old bar that used to be in Lakeside, and a few bar stools Tavern Brewery will be born. Although it may not have looked like much in the beginning, the brewery is one that you have never seen before.
Inside the brewery section, several pub stools will be added, as well as four more tables. There will be a 27-foot bar built, which will include pieces of the 100 year old bar that once stood in Lakeside.
“We’ve had it in storage, so we’re bringing it to the mill outside of town and getting that all ready to be put in,” said Collins, who adds the look of the brewery will be modern, yet old. Barn wood and stainless steel will mix to create that fresh, old-world look.
The showpiece of the brewery will, of course, be the actual brewery. Large five-barrel fermenters holding approximately 10 kegs each will sit behind a glass partition so that patrons can watch the magic happen.
Included in the hodge-podge of stainless steel contraptions and tanks will be two fermenter barrels containing test batches.
“Those are to make sure we get our product down right,” said Collins, who adds the bar will have 24 beers on tap, two of which will be their own brew.
They plan on creating one year-round ale, as well as four seasonal beers.
These beers have yet to be named, in fact, they’ve yet to be created.
Local home brewer and friend to Collins, Chase Carrillo, is currently attending a brew academy in North Carolina. He will return to Detroit Lakes this spring to find a freshly-built brewery and a fresh slate of ideas brewing.
From there, the process of creation begins.
Collins has formed a panel of 10 beer-loving individuals who will be his “testers” as Carrillo begins concocting Tavern Brewery’s very first custom beer.
“These are all diversified people…accountants, one is a lawyer…” said Collins. “So when we make our test batches, they’ll come down here to see if we hit the mark. If we don’t, then we’ll start all over again and we’ll be a few weeks out.”
Collins says this is why he cannot say for sure when the beer will be ready.
“If one of the 10 doesn’t think it’s right, then we try again until all 10 say we’ve got it,” said Collins.
Once they nail down a formula, technology in the new brewery will enable the brewers to program it to make the exact same beer every single time.
It doesn’t mean anybody can push the buttons and brew some beer, though.
“There’s a science to it; the brewery will be off limits to everybody on my staff except the brewers,” said Collins, who adds he will have two full-time brewers.
In addition to that, he is hiring more staff to help handle the brewery bar and seating area.
And unlike the plastic cups Lakeside customers are used to in the summertime, large coolers holding 1,400 pint glasses now sit ready to serve up the new brew.
“We couldn’t go through the trouble of brewing our own beer, then turn around and serve it in plastic,” said Collins with a smile, adding that he’s excited to provide a fun, unique customer experience.
If all goes as planned, the grand opening for the brewery is set for Memorial Day weekend.