Less than a year ago, Dan Justesen’s long-time project came to fruition, and Utepils (OOH-ta-pilz) Brewing opened its doors in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood. Plans for the business began in 2014 but it wasn’t until three years later, in February 2017, that Justesen opened his taproom with the confidence he had created a sustainable brewery. Throughout his first year of business he has worked on creating an ever-better customer experience, like adding a beer garden patio and, as of spring, selling their beers in liquor stores.
Justesen has an extensive background in brewing, owning a brewery in St. Paul with a partner, serving on several local boards and eventually coming to know many of the key industry players. Six months before Utepils opened, Justesen already had his core staff volunteering to make the brewery a reality. Lead brewer Eric Harper is crucial to the small brewery in their first year, but even more to a brewery planning to expand their outputs in the future.
Justesen’s commitment to quality doesn’t only apply to his staff. Everything in the facility is custom-made and replicates tried and true European brewing techniques. As he says, “We designed it to be done once, not twice.” The same goes for their classic list of beers. Utepils is never going to be the brewery inventing the next crazy-flavored beer. They make the classics people have loved for hundreds of years, because, as Justesen sees it, people will continue to love them for hundreds more. Why mess with the classics?
Plenty of other features make Utepils special. The taproom is built into the brewery itself, so every guest can see “behind the scenes.” They brew with artesian spring water, use imported Bavarian tiles and sell growlers by the dozen. They sponsor activities and events most nights of the week, and have a taproom full of tables, board games and a pool table. “If I didn’t want to do it right, I wasn’t going to do it,” Justesen says. He definitely did it right.
225 Thomas Ave. N., Mpls.
Open daily; All ages welcome, 21+ after 9 p.m. Events and offers listed online. Outside food welcome, food trucks also parked outside evenings.