Blue Mounds State Park, where we were camping, is only a few miles away from the town of Luverne, MN. As the craft beer boom continues to explode around Minnesota, small towns are getting in on the action by creating local breweries that highlight really good beer for an audience that might not have experienced creative craft beer before. In Luverne this is being done by Take 16 Brewing.
On Saturday we headed into town for a nice dinner, and a visit to Take 16. It’s just down main street, and easy to find. Take 16 is still in the growler shop phase of their brewery, meaning that they do not have a proper taproom yet. It’s coming soon, and we saw the space where it was under construction, but for now you can just get samples, purchase a beer ticket for a glass, or buy growlers and half-growlers (grumblers as they call them).
We arrived before dinner and were greeted by a gentleman who was on the board of directors for the brewery. He started pouring sample cups for me so I could decide on which grumblers I wanted to take home, while telling me about how he got involved in the brewery, and plans for the new taproom. It’s was really great to talk to someone who was passionate about seeing a small town brewery take off and really give the area something to be proud of.
I got to sample all 6 of the beers that they had on tap, and there were a couple really nice standouts. First, the Sundown Nut Brown was my all time favorite of the bunch. It was a perfect example of a nut brown ale with a great malt body and low hop character. It was smooth, just like a non-American brown should be, and went down nice and easy.
My second favorite was the Hayloft hefeweizen. I love a good banana and clove hefe and this was one of them. The clove character came through wonderfully, and made this an incredibly tasty beer. It was the kind of beer that I would want to drink on a nice summer day, sitting on a patio; smooth and refreshing in all the right ways.
All of the other entries from Take 16 were solid as well. Since they were well represented in town, I decided to forgo the beer ticket, and get a pint with dinner at a local cafe. I also brought home a couple grumblers, and have already shared one with some friends, who also enjoyed it. All in all, a really great visit to a nice small town brewery. I love seeing small towns get in on the craft beer scene and spread the love of craft beer. There’s limited shelf space for breweries, so establishing destination taprooms is key. Having that neighborhood place where people meet up and hang out is a part of the craft beer culture, as much as the beer itself. Take 16 Brewing is doing just that for Luverne and the craft beer scene.