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Kilstone hopes to brew up Christmas cheer

Demolition was underway at 222 Broadway N. in downtown Fargo on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2018, as the space is prepared for the future home of Kilstone Brewing. Owner Randy Wigen is aiming to have the new space open sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Helmut Schmidt / The Forum

FARGO — Local beer lovers are in for a fine Christmas present.

Kilstone Brewing is aiming to move into new downtown digs at 222 Broadway N. sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, owner Randy Wigen said Tuesday, Aug. 28.

The second floor of the building, which will be the brewpub's home, is now undergoing demolition, Wigen said. When that's done, rebuilding begins — including the installation an American-made 10-barrel brewing system and a kitchen — to create a new space for the business.

"We're all pretty excited about it. But it's the grind of getting it done. It's all hurry up and wait. You want to get it done, but there's a million details to take care of," Wigen said. "It's starting to get real. Pretty exciting."

Once the new location is open, the current location at 764 34th St. N. will be closed, Wigen said.

Kilstone now has a two-barrel brewing system. The brawnier brewing capacity of the downtown space, along with climate and temperature control, not only means making a lot more beer, but "a lot of opportunity for experimentation," including making sour beers that are enjoying a surge in popularity, Operations Manager Chris Larson said.

In the meantime, Kilstone is preparing to can its beer, working on branding and focusing on sales of single cans and four-packs, Larson said. Currently, drinkers who want to take Kilstone home have to buy a growler.

"We're really excited at the first excursion into packaging our product. Getting ready to dial it in," Larson said.

Kilstone in a can could happen by the time Kilstone's Block Party and Harvest Celebration rolls around Sept. 29, Larson said. Plans for that celebration will include a farmers market, pumpkin painting for the kids, live music and boxing and martial arts demonstrations, Larson said.

"It's our last big hurrah party with our neighbors before we move to the new facility. But we do plan on staying open here through the end of the year," Larson said.

Larson and Wigen said the new brewing system is being built by American Craft Fabrication, a Vancouver, Wash., firm that makes it a point to hire veterans.

"They're getting real close to finishing them up," Larson said.

Wigen's sons, Brock and Grant, are the firm's brewmasters.

"It's definitely a family affair," Wigen said.

He said he hopes things move smoothly from here on out and that Kilstone can have a successful holiday season opening.

"That would be a huge Christmas present," Wigen said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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