Summit Brewing Company, St. Paul, MN
April 12, 2008 http://www.summitbrewing.com/
Approaching the brewery.
The smart looking front.
The tasting room. It's a decent sized room and that allows them to host public events, like the book release party for Amber Waters. The bar is in the far corner.
They have each beer they make on tap, not including seasonals that are not in season. They also had their IPA on cask. A piece of trivia is that the Hefeweizen is made all year round because they like it so much in the Chicago market.
Some of the taps. Mmm, Oatmeal Stout...
Here you can see Mark Stutrud (owner) getting a special cask (Great Northern Porter primed with blackstrap molasses) ready for the MN Homebrewers Association members who were there for a meeting.
The cask of Great Northern Porter.
Mark then took questions from the club and talked about whatever we wanted. One interesting thing is that they sell about 85% of their beer all in MN. They sell about 5% each in WI and ND, but MN is by far the largest market, and they make a lot of beer! They were the 16th largest brewery in the US in 2007. For comparison, Stone Brewing was #20, and Rogue was #21. So, our little brewery in St. Paul sells some beer.
Even though I've been to this brewery a half dozen times, I'd never taken any pictures. So with camera ready, I went on the tour.
A blurry shot that shows you part of the computer control room. "You don't want to do that, Dave..."
This is one of the lauter tuns.
I didn't catch exactly what this is. Probably the company that made some of the equipment.
These mash tuns that are in a different room from the lauter tun and boil kettle (previously seen).
Looks like they use caps for this high-tech scheduling calendar. :)
The fermentation room. It's massive. I had been in here before but this time the sheer size of these tanks struck me more. There is "only" one row of the giant fermenters at left, but at the right they go three deep.
The tour guide said they use 7 different yeast strains. They only use one strain for any Summit beer that ends in "ale." Then they have some lager strains, and a Belgian one for the Scandia. Oh, the Hefeweizen strain is from Weinstephan. Some of the strains are from Siebel, at least one was from White Labs, but they were somewhat tight lipped on this, and they do not do any yeast sharing with local homebrewers. :(
Here you can see how there are three rows of fermenters on your right.
I forget if they can fill one of these with one batch or two.
The automated temperature control system is run from the computer room you saw earlier.
One of the filtering devices they have. I asked if they filter the Hefeweizen, which should have yeast in the bottled beer, and he said they do, but not with the same process as they do the other beers. That is, they filter it less.
The stuff that gets filtered out falls into this trough and is augured into a cart.
These are older, smaller fermenters. They used to have to brew 2 or 3 batches just to fill one of these. Now, one batch can fill 3 of the smaller fermenters. Apparently they still are used.
The quite expansive bottling room.
One can only imagine how loud it gets when the bottling line is running.
Ah, the sheen.
I'm guessing this is an old sign that is now on a bottling room wall.
I didn't hear the tour guide say but this must be the keg filling area.
Wow. That is some EPA. Looking at this you can start to understand the volume of sales a brewery needs to do to achieve the status of 16th largest brewery in the US. I asked the tour guide about their capacity and he guessed it would be about 115,000 barrels if they were to be running closer to full time. I think their sales were around 87,000 barrels in 2007.
I think they do tours pretty much every Saturday. Check out their website for details.