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New brewery brings Irish flair to F-M craft beer scene

Sam Corr opened Drumconrath Brewing Co. in March in Mapleton, ND. Dave Wallis / The Forum1 / 3
Empty growlers wait to be filled with beer at Drumconrath Brewing Co. in Mapleton,ND. Dave Wallis / The Forum2 / 3
Several varieties of beer are being produced now at Drumconrath Brewing Co. in Mapleton,ND. Dave Wallis / The Forum3 / 3

MAPLETON, N.D.—A new brewery stands out in the booming local craft beer scene, and not just because of its location beyond the Fargo-Moorhead city limits.

Drumconrath Brewing Co., 349 Knutson St., opened in Mapleton about eight miles west of here on March 30.

The owner and head brewer said there's another unique side to his offerings compared to the six breweries up and running in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo—an "Irish flair" that honors his ancestry.

Sam Corr decided to call his business Drumconrath after the name of the Irish village of his ancestors. He also honors those ties by brewing up traditional Irish varieties, including a red, a porter and a stout.

The one-man operation and taproom he's set up in a small leased space also produces other unique brews, including an American IPA and a summer wheat that might not be traditionally Irish, but aren't out of place on the nine taps there.

Corr said his goal was to "bring a small piece of Ireland to the prairie."

Figuring it out

When Corr isn't busy being a stay-at-home parent, he's probably brewing at Drumconrath or manning the taproom that brings in locals and craft beer fans from the region.

"This is my 60-hour-a-week part-time job," he joked.

Corr first got into brewing about a decade ago when his mom bought him a Mr. Beer kit as a gift. It was hardly a learning experience, he said, and he wasn't impressed with the results of diluting a pre-purchased syrup into boiling water and adding yeast.

"It is terrible," he said.

Corr gave his Mr. Beer accessories to a friend and went shopping for pots, a starter kit and grain. He wrote up a makeshift recipe that was more or less an educated guess at how to make beer.

"I had no idea what I was doing," he said.

He kept refining his recipe and his third batch of home-brewed beer was a hit. Corr said that recipe was pretty close to the signature Ribbonman Red brew he serves at his taproom now.

As he got more into the craft, Corr said his wife was mad he was just giving away his beer, so he decided to make it a business.

He considered opening in Fargo or somewhere around town, but the spots he could afford to rent would cost about three times as much as what he found in Mapleton. The regulations there were also less cumbersome than in Fargo-Moorhead, he said.

Corr now keeps busy at the taproom and production facility that has room for 48 and capacity to brew six batches at once. For now, Drumconrath is only available at the taproom and in growlers that can be filled there. He'll eventually expand distribution to local bars and said he'd like to get into canning or bottling at some point.

He also plans to introduce other Irish flavors to the local beer scene in the months to come. Corr said he's going to try his hand at an ancient Irish ale this fall using raw, unfiltered honey from the village of Drumconrath.

"It's just always been a strong part of my upbringing and my personality," he said about his Irish ancestry.

Business profile

What: Drumconrath Brewing Co.

Where: 349 Knutson St., Mapleton, N.D.

Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon to 10 p.m. Saturday

Phone: (701) 645-3786

Online: www.facebook.com/drumconrathbrewing

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.

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