Grant, my Nebraska correspondent, was able to come up for a visit a few weekends ago. On his list of places to tour were the Bruce Vento Trail along the old Hamm’s Brewery in Saint Paul, the original Grain Belt Brewery in Minneapolis, and the Grain Belt sign along the Mississippi near the warehouse district. He also wanted to pay a visit to the White Castle No. 8 (Minnesota) structure on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, but eating 10 sliders at the nearby (and still operating) White Castle sufficed as time was limited.
We were both inspired to pay a visit to the old brewery after we each read Land of Amber Waters, a book which I reviewed a month or two back on this blog.
In July of 1890 Orth Brewing, Heinrich Brewing, Germania Brewing and Norenburg Brewing, all of Minneapolis, merged together forming the Minneapolis Brewing and Malting Company. In 1891 construction began on the brewing complex on the corner of Broadway and Marshall near the Mississippi River in North Minneapolis.
Through the careful work of preservation committees, the site is still in good shape and houses art studios, a library, and architecture firm among other businesses. It is a perfect example of renewal and a beautiful specimen of late 19th century Romanesque Revival style brewery architecture. It is also a testament to the rich brewing history in the Twin Cities.
Railroad tracks do run nearby and there is an abandoned spur running between some of the buildings. Since the outside of each building is accessible, it isn’t hard to stand in the middle of the complex and imagine the hustle and bustle of brewing activities back in the day.
All of my pictures from the brewery are on my Facebook page, and a few select ones I have posted on my Picasa site. Additional information about the brewery may be found on the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission’s page for the Grain Belt Brewery.