Photos by Hillary Ehlen, J. Alan Paul Photography and Samantha Stark
We traveled all over Fargo-Moorhead and profiled your favorite local breweries, meaderies and distilleries. Whether you prefer a nice cocktail, a craft beer or even a sweet mead, we have them all here! Come along with us on the tour of some of the great establishment in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
RELATED: “Which Local Brewery Are You?”
When you hear the words Fargo and beer, what pops into your head? Outside of the small handful who shouted “Busch Light!”, chances are you immediately thought of the aptly named Fargo Brewing Company. Though they have been around since 2010, the brewing firm has steadily grown in terms of production and reach. They now distribute in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Their true size and capacity is put in perspective by the vast number of blue, red and brown cans resting on pallet racks in the brewhouse.
Fargo Brewing Company still has their staples. Aaron Hill, one of the masterminds behind the entire operation says their mainstays still remain their most popular beers. “Our number one seller is Stone’s Throw, but the most well-known is our Woodchipper IPA,” Hill said. “We are brewing at least two batches of Stone’s Throw throughout the year, and probably three batches in the summer.”
With the company now heading into its eighth year, Fargo Brewing Company knows it needs to keep up with beer trends. “When we started, clarity in your beer was key,” he said. “Now the trend is these hazy IPAs, which is totally different. It is hard to get out in front of things like that. Usually, we can brew a small batch and see if we’re able to make a bigger batch once the trend really hits. But it gets tough, for sure.”
They are looking forward to the future though. Fargo Brewing Company plans to have more concerts and shows in their main taproom on University. “We’re still growing in North Dakota, the people of North Dakota are just starting to catch on,” Hill said. “I think the city is working really hard to connect NDSU with downtown and seeing some stuff move this way is really promising for us in this location.”
Making Beer 101 With Aaron Hill
Step 1: Although it differs from beer to beer, each brew has a malt profile. Brewmasters identify the beers malt profile (a recipe) and mill it. This begins the brewing process, Fargo Brewing Company usually brews four to five beers at a time.
Step 2: After the beer recipe is milled, it is augered and sent to the brewhouse. Here, the malt will be mashed with water, which will create a wort (sugar water).
Step 3: Once a wort is made, the liquid is transferred to a boil tank. The wort will be boiled for about an hour at 209 degrees. It is at this point that hops are added. As with the malt, each beer calls for a certain amount of hops. The earlier hops are introduced to the mixture, the more bitter the beer gets. If hops are added later, the beer ends up having more aroma, flavor and character. For example, a beer like Stone’s Throw, their Scottish Ale, has its hops brought in later in the boil since you want to taste more of the malt mixture than the hops.
Step 4: The beer is then transferred into a whirlpool tank. The purpose of this is to attain as much pure liquid as possible before fermentation begins.
Step 5: As the wort is transferred to the fermentation tank, it must lose nearly 200 degrees of temperature before entering. However, that number varies based on the beer being brewed and the type of yeast being used.
Step 6: Yeast is added as the wort is being transferred to the fermentation tank. The yeast acts with the wort to create the alcohol. As Aaron puts it, “Yeast will eat sugar and poop alcohol.”
Step 7: After primary fermentation, which takes roughly four days, the tank has its temperature dropped to roughly 34 degrees. This is done in an effort to let the yeast settle to the bottom to be extracted, which can take up to four days as well.
Step 8: Once the beer is ready (based on taste tests), it is moved to conditioning tanks. A product called biofine is added to make the beer less cloudy or hazy. More carbon dioxide is added as well. The beer will stay within the conditioning tank for three or four days.
Step 9: The beer is either kegged or canned for distribution.
Fargo Brewing To-Dos
- Tour the brewery from 12-1 p.m. on Saturdays.
- Try Alfred the Great, their English Rye Barley wine (pictured above).
- Though they are famous for beer, try their chef-inspired restaurant menu at their Ale House.
610 University N., Fargo
Monday-Friday | 4-10 p.m.
Saturday | 12-10 p.m.
Sunday | 12-6 p.m.
4445 17th Ave. S., Fargo
Sunday-Friday | 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday | 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
So far we’ve also featured Drekker Brewing Company. Check back later this month to see what other places we featured!