Sunday, May 17, 2009

Touring Granite City

I’ve been on more brewery tours than I can count. Never before have I been asked if I had any alcohol in my system (unless it was followed up by, “well, why not?!?"). So when I was asked that today at Granite City I had to ask them to repeat the question, answered honestly that yes, I had a beer with a big burger for lunch a couple hours ago and then waited as the guy looked as if he was trying to decide if I should be allowed to walk the 10 feet through their kitchen to get to their brewing space.

Test passed, I followed Mike through the kitchen, into the locked brewing space. There isn’t much to say about the facility as it’s just a two room set up. One room holding the four, 500 gallon fermenters and a second, refrigerated room holding the eight determination tanks.

The most interesting things I gleaned from the tour:
* The Ellsworth, IA site was chosen for its well water and is within 500 miles of all 27 restaurants that operate in a nine state region.
* The transportation of the 33 degree wort between states is legal because the wort is not technically alcohol at this point.
* Of the 27 locations, only the Eagan and St. Louis Park restaurants were retrofits, being Sydney’s and Timberlodge respectively in their prior lives.
* The Eagan location has the smallest number of fermenters but sells more beer than any other location.

One more first for a brewery tour, I wasn't offered a single sample at the conclusion of the tour.


  1. I know it's lame to leave the first comment on my own blog, but then again, I never claimed to not be lame. Those are interesting points.

  2. Isn't the point of a brewery tour the samples so that you can connect via taste the quality of brewing and processing to the finished product? It's like a restaurant review without eating the food. Maybe the guy thought you were writing for a student newspaper or something. :D

  3. What an odd tour. I wonder what the 'alcohol in your system' question was about. Is Granite City so corporate their lawyers forbid giving tours to someone who has recently consumed alcohol? Maybe that is also why they did not give you a sample. They did not want to be liable for your inevitable drunken rampage. Regardless, those are strange rules for a brewpub.

  4. From the way it was stated to me it sounded like because we had to walk 10 feet through the kitchen to get to the brewery, there couldn't be any alcohol in the system. Still curious though why they didn't offer samples at the bar unless they didn't want to attract attention and have to give more people tours.

  5. Interesting. I was just over at Granite City in Maple Grove recently and wondered if they brewed on premises. Guess not. I also kind of assumed they contract brewed with someone.