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 LTD Brewing.
LTD Brewing in Hopkins, which will celebrate it's third anniversary in June, is different from a lot of other breweries because it doesn't have any flagship beers. Instead, it always has the same genres on tap – but the beers that fit into those genres always rotate, co-founder Blake Verdon told GoMN.
There will usually be the staples like a stout or porter, a hoppy beer, a lighter beer, something that's malt-forward, something sour, and then something Verdon calls an "experience" beer – something unique that people probably haven't tried before. One time it was a peppercorn rye chocolate wheat beer (people either loved it or hated it, Verdon said).
Because LTD doesn't have any flagship brews, it can't really sell a traditional six-pack. But since adding some more capacity in the brewhouse, LTD decided to try something different – it's a rotating variety six-pack liquor stores can sell. Much like in the taproom, the beers in the pack will never be the same.
Now to get to know the people behind the beer: I sat down with Verdon and LTD's other co-founder, Jeremy Hale, and asked them a flight of questions.
If you were going to have a showdown against another Minnesota brewery, who would you want to compete against?
"Let's go head-to-head with Surly and see what we can do. We'll take on the big boys," Hale said.
"I guess, for me, the only thing that I was thinking of – is probably one of the most similar breweries to us is Dangerous Man," Verdon said. "They're very well respected in the industry, but I mean – to battle someone who does something kind of similar to you would be the way that I'd want to do it. Granted, they're an amazing brewery so I don't necessarily want to show up to something where you're maybe the underdog, but they're just so well respected and they do their beers and rotate them just like us, and they do it really well."
What's your biggest pet peeve of others in the brewing industry?
"I think sometimes the resistance to try something crazy – something that may be really polarizing, and some people may not like," Verdon said. "Making something that's always going to be against the grain and may not be a ridiculous seller, but is going to be an experience and could be someone's favorite beer ever. To this day I always go back to the peppercorn rye chocolate wheat that we did – I still have people begging me to just do a batch of it so they can have some. And I have a lot of people that tell me it was the worst beer they ever had in their life."
If you could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be?
"Russian Imperial Stout," Hale said. "Our Nightfall barrel-aged Russian imperial stout. ... the second year released."
"I'm an IPA guy," Verdon said, noting he probably couldn't drink this beer every day, but he'd pick "Sleepwalker, which is our triple IPA that we've done every year. I'd say I'd probably drink that. It's my favorite beer to make, it's my favorite beer that we do."
What's your least favorite style of beer to brew?
"Probably a blonde, or something that's technically easier to brew, an Amber – it's just an easier brew day, so it's not as challenging," Hale said.
"I'd say probably the same, although when you get to one of those bigger stouts on a double-batch brew day, when it's like a 16-hour day and you've got a ton of grain and you're shoveling – those are pretty brutal days," Verdon said.