Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Where the faithful once gathered… February 26, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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I’M GOING TO THE CHAPEL and I’m gonna…

 

 

have a beer

because Jesus isn’t there turning water into wine.

 

 

Rather Andrew Burns and crew are brewing and serving beer at Chapel Brewing in Dundas. Located along the banks of the scenic Cannon River in this small southeastern Minnesota town, the latest brewery in the area offers an intimate setting in a former chapel.

The name fits this historic building constructed in 1880 as a village hall and jail and two years later converted into a chapel. For 50 years, the faithful met here for Sunday School and related religious purposes. Eventually, the building use reverted back to that of a town hall and then to a photography studio for 30 years before transitioning into a taproom. Patrons sometimes reminisce about senior portraits taken here.

When I consider the history of beer making, I think how appropriate that craft beer lovers now drink beer in a former chapel. The church in general has a long history of beer making with monks brewing beer and even Martin Luther’s wife, Katie, opening a brewery.

 

 

I found Chapel Brewing to be an inviting place. It’s different from many other southeastern Minnesota breweries I’ve visited. For one, the space is small, really small. And loud with sound bouncing off the hard wood surfaces. That’s not an uncommon problem, though, in many breweries. I was thankful when some of the patrons left. But I like the warmth of wood and the overall homey, and less industrial, essence of the taproom. You really can feel the history in this sun-drenched building and imagine it as a chapel.

 

 

Chapel beer is also worthy of praise. I favor hoppier beers and chose the Chapel IPA. I liked it, and I don’t always say that about craft beers I try. Likewise, my husband, Randy, enjoyed his Kolsch, a German ale. I’d like to see Chapel Brewing have a little creative fun with its beer names, though.

 

 

Given my positive experience, I’ll return, but next time to drink a brew outside. Had the riverside deck been cleared of snow on the warm (by Minnesota standards), sunny Saturday afternoon I visited, I would have imbibed there. Just to say I drank beer outside the chapel in February.

 

FYI: Here are two tips should you visit Chapel Brewing: Parking is limited to just a few on-site spaces and to a several spots out front. You are encouraged to park in the municipal lot a short walk away across the river rather than along residential streets. If you park on the bridge, you could be ticketed. Also, bring your photo ID. You will be asked for that, no matter your age. And, yes, you will have to retrieve your ID from your vehicle if you don’t have it on you.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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16 Responses to “Where the faithful once gathered…”

  1. parkerozgood Says:

    Awesome write up! I can’t wait to get down there and check it out!

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    I love this! I appreciate the tips too. So many times we travel mindlessly, and having a heads-up on parking and a “bring list” or things to know, really helps make the visit a pleasant one!

  3. I’d love to have a craft beer in a chapel! How clever. We’ve recently started seeking out breweries with restaurants for our weekly night out–love trying the different flavors. You’re right, they could get very creative with their beer names–I can think of a few myself. I hope to visit Minnesota sometime soon!

    • When you head to Minnesota, be sure to tell me.

      While Chapel Brewing doesn’t offer food, you can order and have it delivered. And, on occasion, they have a food truck on-site, which seems to be quite common at area breweries.

  4. Valerie Says:

    We have driven by Chapel Brewing several times and have watched it be renovated. Gary has been to a meeting there. I guess it’s my turn.

  5. Jackie Says:

    Sounds like a fun little place Audrey. Rick and I have never acquired the taste for beer, so probably wouldn’t visit it but…. I loved hearing about the history of this little building!

  6. Beth Ann Says:

    Looks like a fun place. My sister goes to a place in Pittsburgh that has a similar theme–old church turned into bar and she loves it. Definitely makes drinking holy, right?

  7. What a neat idea. I visited a little shop in my hometown the other day but opted for coffee over wine.


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