Serving Up Daring and Innovation: North Loop’s Modist Brewing
If there’s one thing we can count on the North Loop’s Modist Brewing Co. to do, it’s to push the limits of what beer can be and keep us on our toes with their insane flavor combinations and creativity. The Modist crew is behind tantalizing creations like Hex Code, a pineapple coconut marshmallow pastry lager, and Digital Remains, an imperial stout barrel-aged for 29 months then conditioned on toasted pecan, toasted coconut, and Tahitian vanilla beans. I can never keep track of what they’re up to over there in that delicious mad laboratory, but it is certainly never boring.
Not only are they constantly innovating, but they are also constantly making a point to make their space queer-friendly and showing their support for the community. Modist hosts a plethora of drag events year-round, donate money in support of non-profits like QUEERSPACE Collective, and most recently were huge supporters of the Gay Softball World Series here in the Twin Cities. They were official sponsors of the tournament, hosted a block party for the Target Field Light Up the North Event, and even brewed a Light Up the North Golden Ale with proceeds going directly to the local organizing committee. And that’s naming just a few things.
I chatted with Co-Owner and Head of Marketing Daniel Wellendorf about Modist’s humble beginnings, their beer philosophy, specialties, THC, and…drumroll please…their brand-new event space!
It all started the way many great ideas do, when Wellendorf got drunk at a bar with a friend. His friend, who worked at Dangerous Man Brewing, told him that their head brewer Keigan Knee was leaving his job there in pursuit of his own brewery. Knee and his friends John and Kale had been dreaming of their own brewery for years, brewing beer in the garage together and all that good stuff, you know the story. Wellendorf was intrigued… he had some useful skills and some money to add to the mix and he wanted in. Long story short, he met the guys, joined the crew, and with the supergroup of four likeminded souls banded together — voila! Modist was born. The North Loop taproom opened its doors not long after, in April 2016.
So, what’s with the name? I’ve never heard of “modist” with an “i” before…
“A modist is a person who modifies,” Wellendorf says. Ahh, now the puzzle pieces are fitting together. Beer plus modification equals Modist, a brewery “pushing past traditional brewing by embracing creativity and unconstrained experimentation.”
“Our philosophy from the drop was, ‘hey, beer is cool, craft beer is awesome, let’s see where we can take it,’” Wellendorf explains. “It kind of gave us a license to just do, you know, stupid things.”
With said license Modist has brewed up concoctions like newer release “Invisible String,” a Taylor Swift-inspired strawberry rhubarb lager brewed with pilsner malt, milk sugar, marshmallows, strawberry juice, rhubarb juice and vanilla beans. And I cannot write an article about Modist without mentioning perhaps their most notable flavor from Super Bowl season earlier this year, the Hormel Chili Cheese Dip beer. “…It almost tastes like a chili cheese Frito, but in the form of a beer,” Wellendorf describes. He said it had Michelada vibes (okay, I do like those), and reassures me that it was actually pretty good. I’ll admit I was too appalled back then to try it but I’ll take his word for it.
To make these mad scientist ideas come to life, Modist uses two unique pieces of equipment that most craft breweries don’t, a hammer mill and a mash filter. Having this equipment basically means they can extract more flavor with less energy. “Because we have this, we can just make these different flavor concoctions that really haven’t existed,” Wellendorf says. The first iteration of their New England IPA, Dreamyard, was 100% wheat and oats, something that would not be possible without the help of the mash filter. Theirs is still the only one in the Midwest region.
In case you were wondering, Modist does make beer-flavored beer too. Dreamyard is one, but their other flagships like New England pale ale False Pattern and Japanese-style lager Supra Deluxe are staples in the taproom and showcase their specialty styles.
Their THC seltzers are also a huge part of the game these days, coming in a variety of flavors and doses and made with real fruit and Minnesota-grown hemp. Their “Melt” line of sparkling THC beverages contains the higher 10 mg doses and their “Tint” line keeps things a little lower at 3 and 5 mg for the lightweights like me out there. These come in delightful flavors like blood orange raspberry vanilla and blackberry lime and you also get some awesome can art to stare at as you melt into the couch.
Okay, we’ve talked drinks, but what’s the most exciting new thing going on at Modist Brewing Co.? Their brand-new laboratory, offices, and event space of course! This has been a huge new investment for them, a $2 million project that will go towards making staff, customers, and community members alike happy. I got a walkthrough of the new space (I even left my mark by putting my boot through some wet concrete…oopsie) and dang it’s nice! It is colorful, modern, and multilevel, with a beautiful mirrored ceiling and mural of course. “We always get so many requests,” Wellendorf says, for events from 50-100 people that they weren’t able to accommodate previously, but now they can! The event space has a 100-person capacity, and is perfect for corporate happy hours, rehearsal dinners, and “just about anything else you can think of that we’re zoned for,” they say on their website.
“One of the coolest things about craft breweries is that they are community spaces,” Wellendorf says. “We want to not only modify beer but modify the industry. We want to be very purposeful, very intentional about who we support, what we do, and kind of design the industry as we want it to be.”
Want to experience the glorious new event space for yourself? Book now for your holiday parties, birthday parties, disco parties, rehearsal dinners or whatever…come check it out! Visit their website for more information on how to book your event or to schedule a walkthrough.
Don’t forget to stop in for a beer and check out their Halloween drag show on October 27th!
Modist Brewing Co.
505 N 3rd St, Minneapolis