“Anyone want to grab a drink before dinner?” I asked as we shuffled into the elevator. We’d arrived at our hotel, the conference would begin the following day. “I would,” Jake replied. “When?” Jeff asked. “I was thinking right now, but whenever you’re ready,” I responded. “I can be down in fifteen minutes,” said Jeff. Our welcome to Orlando would be through a craft brewery. I wouldn’t want it any other way.Continue Reading…
I remember my first visit to Anoka. In 2016 my wife and I purchased a Northern Ale Guide. It’s like a trendy coupon book, with buy one get one deals at breweries throughout the state. The best part? If we visited all the locations, we’d get a free t-shirt. I’ve done a lot of things for a free t-shirt. I’ve volunteered for charities, run grueling obstacle races, and even started a t-shirt blog in my quest to fill out the edges of my wardrobe. Though one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done was traveling through Minnesota to get “free” beer and a “free” shirt.
10K Brewing was in that guide. They were my introduction to Anoka. I recall driving across the Rum River at dusk, the lights of the city enticing us. I recall turning onto 2nd Avenue, remarking at the collection of historic brick buildings. I remember parking—yes parking—because there was an actual lot with actual spaces. And of course, I recall entering the 10K taproom, ordering our beers, and settling in to enjoy the guitarist and vocalist that were performing that evening. I’ve been to Anoka five more times. Each was due to 10K. During those visits I’ve eaten at local restaurants, ordered coffee at local cafes, and shopped at local stores. I’ve encouraged others to do the same.
I’ve since learned that Anoka is the “Halloween Capital of the World.” It’s because I did a podcast with 10K’s owner Jesse Hauf where we tasted some seasonal brews. I’ve seen the town’s beautiful Christmas decorations, including the giant tree on the Jackson Street roundabout. It’s because they invited me to the grand opening of the Empire Room, an event space they opened in the same building. I’ve learned about the city’s water quality. It’s because they gave me a tour of the brewhouse and the special equipment installed to ensure the beer is of the highest quality for their patrons.
Imagine my delight when I heard 10K had plans for a brand new facility. A bigger brewhouse, a full kitchen, an expanded offering, a rooftop patio, a top notch sound system, a chance to grow. Imagine my disappointment when I learned the city was proceeding with a purchase agreement for a restaurant chain that already has eight locations. I live in Bloomington. I don’t know what the restaurant is but, based on our access to almost every chain, I imagine there is no reason for me to travel to Anoka for it. Ditto for the city’s 90,000 other residents, not to mention the entire Twin Cities metro area.
Breweries are a gathering place for people of all races, creeds, and cultures. On any given visit you’re likely to see a retired couple, a newborn, a family of four, and a first date—at the same time. There are no bartenders, there are beertenders. It’s not a bar, it’s a taproom. There aren’t other customers, there are other friends. A craft brewery is woven into the fabric of a community more than a chain restaurant ever could be.
None of my comments are surprising given my primary hobby is blogging about craft beer. But beer tourism is real. A study from the Brewer’s Association learned that 10 million people visited a craft brewery in a given year, 5 million of those were out-of-towners, and 18% of all craft drinkers travel to three or more breweries each year. Given that the amount of craft breweries in the United States has since more than doubled—from 4014 to 9247—I guarantee those numbers have grown too. These people share their journey with their friends and family like they never would for a chain.
Nice beer. Nice people. Jesse and I spoke at length about what their tagline means to him and how it translates to his business model. As you may know, he was born in the area and is a current resident of Anoka. He’s passionate about building a sustainable local business with a mission to give back to the community. He’s started a non-profit that supports underfunded K-12 music programs. He’s donated the proceeds of their Empower Sour to Alexandra House, an organization committed to ending domestic and sexual violence. He’s done more than I can list. And he does these things not because he has a corporate mandate to donate. It’s because he cares. He’s invested time, energy, money, sweat, tears—every currency available to a human—into the city of Anoka. It’s time for the city to invest back in him.
Waiting with hope,
Ryan Salsman, Tap Traveler
For more details on the specifics of the situation please visit 10kdta.com.
We build our lives around travel. On a given year we plan at least two trips. The pandemic forced us to cancel a large one last summer and made winter trips pointless. We are lucky that we can keep our sacrifices small. The older I get the longer (and colder) winters feel. Travel of any kind helps knock me out of funks I get into as the temperatures are frigid. This year came with extra stressors: the pandemic, a new child, a full home renovation, and no outlet to relax. With restrictions lifted and vaccinations completed our feeling was the nation was back on the table. “What about Denver?” my wife asked. Denver it was.Continue Reading…
“Did you hear that we are planning a trip to California next year?” my wife asked. “That’s a big state, whereabouts?” I asked. “We were thinking of San Diego actually” she said. “San Diego?” I responded. Like a burst of carbonation from a bottle, images of craft beer cracked through my mind. Sure the weather would be beautiful, the beaches plentiful, and the food splendid. But it’s a craft beer mecca, surely that’s why we were going?Continue Reading…
During my childhood Germany was the home of beer. The mere mention of the country evoked visions of jolly bearded men in lederhosen clinking their overflowing steins and swaying back and forth to Bavarian folk music. It wasn’t just any beer either, I’d heard they had “dark” beer which, for the delicate palate of rural Minnesota, meant a truly undrinkable draught. I didn’t develop a taste for beer until we were planning our honeymoon in Europe. Our itinerary would bring us to Munich at the start of Oktoberfest, and preparation for that trip was the catalyst for the love of craft beer that would follow.