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


State Patrol investigating fatal crash near Duluth

The crash was reported around 6:15 a.m. Wednesday.

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.


Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Impound lot

Crowded impound lot raises COVID concerns after Minneapolis snow emergency

A vehicle owner complains about the tightly-packed impound lot following the weekend's snow.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, Jan. 27

The latest update from the state health department.


Charges: Bar owner, employee served underage drinkers during shutdown

The bar hosted 20-30 people on Dec. 4, 2020, charges say.

police lights

Driver wearing bulletproof vest strikes pedestrian in Rochester

The 21-year-old claimed the vest keeps him warm, according to police.


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.