UP UNTIL CRAFT BREWERIES OPENED, I wasn’t much of a beer drinker. I’m still not. But I now enjoy the occasional IPA or other locally-brewed beer at a brewery. Yet, it’s about more than appreciating a good beer. For me, it’s also about the setting. The place in which these beers are brewed and served.
And in southern Minnesota, I’ve discovered some aesthetically pleasing breweries in historic buildings. Montgomery Brewing has come full circle back to its roots, based in a 130-year-old building built to brew beer. At Chapel Brewing in Dundas, the taproom occupies a compact 1880 former chapel along the Cannon River. In neighboring Northfield, Imminent Brewing is stationed in the old National Guard Armory garage. And further to the southeast along the Mississippi River, Reads Landing Brewing occupies an 1870 dry goods store.
And then there’s Sleepy Eye Brewing. Set along U.S. Highway 14 which runs right through the heart of the business district in this southwestern Minnesota community, the brewery draws beer lovers, and coffee lovers, into the former PIX Theatre. It’s a beautiful place that pays homage to its entertainment past, right down to the movie reels that hold flights of beer. I can’t write enough about how much I love the feel and look of this brewery with Sleepy Eye Coffee Company tucked into a small part of the open and airy space.
A balcony overlooks the long, narrow room defined by wood and brick and tile and stainless steel and even chandeliers.
Outside, the restored marquee adds artistic and historic interest. Eye-catching. Unique. Memorable.
I haven’t returned to Sleepy Eye Brewing since my first visit a year ago. The pandemic has kept me away from breweries. But once I feel safe and comfortable—perhaps by summer or fall—I’ll revisit some of these home-grown breweries as much for the beer as for the settings. And history.
© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Love good business sense and they did an AWESOME job! I love the history of the building along with how the brewery started. Then there are the people that make the place what it is and has people coming back (of course if the beer is great too). That is one thing that I can say about the craft breweries here in covid that they did what they needed to do to keep business going and their customers happy – crowlers, growlers, cans and luckily the weather is nice here and can be outdoors and spaced out to social distance. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂
I know you appreciate craft breweries also. And you’re right, great beer and welcoming staff are top requirements, too.
My movie reel flight would include the Sleepy Eye Cream, Bee Honor Roll, Nuthouse and the Crazy Aunt – love those styles plus the names of the brews. I could so name beers – what fun! Cheers 🙂
You would really enjoy Sleepy Eye Brewing. If only you were in Minnesota, I’d join you (once the pandemic is over).
It’s always a good thing to repurpose buildings…I love the ambiance of the older buildings. This looks like an awesome old theater. Love the tile work too, with the Pix name.
I’m with you on repurposing buildings, and appreciating the ambiance of older buildings especially.