Skip to main content

Honoring a customer – and helping others – with beer from a Rochester brewery

Chris Balvanz spent a lot of time at the brewpub while his wife was being treated for liver cancer.

A Rochester brewpub is dedicating a batch of beer to a customer – and also helping out others in need.

Chris Balvanz spent a lot of time at Grand Rounds Brewing Company while his wife was being treated for cancer at the Mayo Clinic last year, ABC 6 reports. And now the brewpub wants to support more families going through something similar.

The brewery made a special batch of its Freedom Scotch Ale in honor of the Balvanz family, a post on its Facebook says. It was Chris Balvanz's favorite beer while he was visiting Rochester, Kelly Griffin, the brewpub's general manager, told GoMN.

The Balvanz batch will be tapped next Monday, Jan. 16. Grand Rounds' Freedom Scotch Ale is described as having hints of biscuits, toffee, toasted caramel and smokiness, the brewery's website says.

A dollar from every pint sold from the Balvanz batch (that's about 200 gallons) will go to the Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester, Griffin said. The Gift of Life aims to provide an affordable place to stay while offering other support services for transplant patients being treated at the Mayo Clinic.

"What a great way to honor one of our guests and support Gift of Life Transplant House. Thank you Grand Rounds," the nonprofit said on Facebook.

Grand Rounds, which is the only brewery/brewpub in downtown Rochester, opened in the spring of 2015 and is dedicated to supporting the local community through donations, the brewery's website says. They've donated $1 from all pints sold from a specialty beer to the Boys and Girls Club, and money from sales of another specialty beer brewed for the Rochester Chamber of Commerce went to a scholarship fund for hospitality, Griffin told GoMN.

You can read more about its charitable donations online here.

Liver transplants

In 2014, about 7,200 liver transplants were performed in the United States, the Mayo Clinic says, including about 330 livers from living donors.

Nearly 15,000 people were registered on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

For more information on organ donation, click here.

Next Up


Motorcyclist killed on I-494 crash in Richfield

The Minnesota State Patrol has identified the victim as a 42-year-old Shakopee man.


Gallery: This Seward Neighborhood gem SOLD fast!

Classic 1903 home came with modern updates

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 3.19.42 PM

Evacuations underway after explosion, fire on U of M campus

Evacuations are in effect on campus after an underground explosion and fire Thursday afternoon.

hopkins high school

‘Terrible prank’ during tornado drill causes scare at Hopkins High School

The school principal said the incident brought armed police to the school and "understandably caused some scholars anxiety."

MNBCA - Balsimo 1

Woman admits to role in St. Paul man's gruesome murder

A 32-year-old Duluth woman has taken a plea deal in the case of a 34-year-old St. Paul man's murder.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 11.18.35 AM

'Living nightmare’ alleged at Savage, Minn. rabbit sanctuary

"Peacebunny Cottage" is now the subject of an animal cruelty investigation.


Tractor tips on embankment, killing man in Kandiyohi County

The tractor reportedly tipped and fell on top of the man, pinning him underneath.

Sloane Martin

Sloane Martin teams with Mike Golic Jr. for college football broadcasts

Martin, 33, lives in Minnesota and continues to climb the sports broadcasting ladder.

Melvin Carter

St. Paul plans to extend $500 payments to low-income families

The expansion would give more than 300 families a monthly payment of $500.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

Use of car seat in crash that killed child still under investigation

The mother of the child was treated for injuries not considered to be life-threatening.


Drink a beer, run it off: My love-hate relationship with this new app

It was great when the app told you to drink more beer.

There's a new seal on some beer so you'll know if it's from an independent brewery

It's getting harder to tell what beers are actually craft beer.

MN brewery joins others to urge senators to vote against EPA nominee

Breweries around the country are urging senators to vote against President Donald Trump's nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

This new beer will help the bees

And it's brewing legend Todd Haug's final Minnesota beer.

Surly is releasing a new beer this weekend in honor of the Minnesota United

There's a pregame party Sunday – and you could get a free beer.