We’re highlighting Minnesota’s 100-plus craft breweries with our new flight series – four short questions for the people behind the beer. This week is Lakes & Legends Brewing Company.
Lakes & Legends Brewing Company opened in Minneapolis almost a year ago, specializing in farm-to-table Belgian beers and Trappist beers that have ingredients from Minnesota farms. In the first 11 months, Lakes & Legends has released 40 different brews and soon will be releasing more barrel-aged beers, starting with its Winter Warmer aged in rye barrels to celebrate its first anniversary.
"We've got unique beers with farm ingredients you're not going to find anywhere else – and something on our list, you're going to love," Ethan Applen, the CEO and co-founder of Lakes & Legends, said Wednesday when I sat down with him at the brewery to enjoy a Fall Harvest (that's a spiced malted cider tapped earlier that day).
We also sampled St. Gail, a raspberry and honey Belgian ale; and Silky, a Belgian stout – be sure to grab a sample of one of the beers because they come in adorable little tulip glasses. Here are four questions I asked Applen for this week's flight.
What beer made you fall in love with beer?
"Great White by Lost Coast Brewing," Applen said, a Belgian witbier. "It was just a really cool beer."
He also credited White by Allagash Brewing with getting him into Belgian beers. After these two, he started getting into tripels and dubbels and quads.
If you could collaborate on a beer with any brewery, which one would you pick?
Applen struggled to come up with just one brewery, but picked Prairie Artisan Ales out of Oklahoma "because they make my favorite beer right now."
"Their beer Bomb, it's an imperial stout that pours like motor oil – it's amazing," Applen said. "We could do something really interesting with them using that base, which I think they do so well ... and then use some of our ingredients we use – could we do a raspberry or plum version of one of those huge stouts, aged in barrels or something. ... We could do something pretty neat."
What’s some advice you have for beer lovers who want to learn more?
"Experiment. Try other things. Drink more than the IPA – before you drink the IPA, because it'll blow out your pallet," Applen said. "Try something else first, even if you love the IPA. ... They're not all going to be hits, you're not going to like everything. But maybe you'll find something unexpected that you love."
What’s your biggest pet peeve with the industry?
"There's probably too many beards," Applen – who is bearded – said. "My wife makes fun of me – some days I come into work and I'm dressed so brewery."