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Lakeside Tavern will become Detroit Lakes’ first brew pub

Detroit Lakes, Minn.

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This 150-keg capacity cooler was just installed in the brewery section of Lakeside Tavern, which will allow the brew pub to stockpile enough beer for the busy days of summer. Forum News Service
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Detroit Lakes, Minn. - Lakeside Tavern is conjuring up an unprecedented expansion project in Detroit Lakes.
Owner Chet Collins is turning an existing portion of the historic building into Detroit Lakes’ first brewery.
“This is my dream to do something like this,” said Collins, standing in the raw construction of what will soon be called “Tavern Brewery.”
The 1,400-square-foot space, which is adjoined to Lakeside, housed The Yogurt Place for a few years.
When that shop closed, Collins knew that it was time to begin work on an addition to his tavern that he says has been in the works for five years.
What he hadn’t planned on was building the city’s first brewery – until a little friendly encouragement came his way.
“I was hunting with a friend of mine up in British Columbia, and we were checking out the brew pubs up there, and he says, ‘You know what Detroit Lakes needs? A brew pub. You should do that,’ and I said, ‘No, I shouldn’t do that,’” said Collins, who said the cost and work would be substantial.
Then again, he also knew he’d be starting work on that addition soon.
“So I thought, this would be a good opportunity to do something great for DL; I thought hard about it and just decided, yeah, let’s do it,” said Collins.
The space was gutted while Collins began the arduous process of getting his ducks in a row. This hadn’t been done in Detroit Lakes yet, so there was no licensing available. The city ordinance had to be changed, and if that wasn’t a process, the paperwork to apply for a brewery license was.
“The application was 400-and-something pages, there were interviews, background checks … the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) knows more about me than my wife now,” joked Collins.
Piece by piece, the space is being transformed into a pub brewery.
The interior wall that now separates the main Lakeside building from the addition will be knocked out so that it’s all open. The exterior wall that faces the lake will also be knocked out and replaced by 8- by 24-foot sliding glass doors that will be opened up in the summertime.
Inside the brewery section, several pub stools will be added, as well as four more tables. A 27-foot bar will be built. It will include pieces of the 100-year-old bar that once stood in Lakeside.
The showpiece of the brewery will, of course, be the actual brewery. Large five-barrel fermenters holding approximately 10 kegs each will sit behind a glass partition so that patrons can watch the magic happen.
Included in the hodge-podge of stainless steel contraptions and tanks will be two fermenter barrels containing test batches.
“Those are to make sure we get our product down right,” said Collins, who adds the bar will have 24 beers on tap, two of which will be their own brew.
They plan on creating one year-round ale, as well as four seasonal beers.
Once they nail down a formula, technology in the new brewery will enable the brewers to program it to make the exact same beer every single time.
It doesn’t mean anybody can push the buttons and brew some beer, though.
“There’s a science to it; the brewery will be off limits to everybody on my staff except the brewers,” said Collins, who adds he will have two full-time brewers.
In addition to that, he is hiring more staff to help handle the brewery bar and seating area.
And unlike the plastic cups Lakeside customers are used to in the summertime, large coolers holding 1,400 pint glasses now sit ready to serve up the new brew.
“We couldn’t go through the trouble of brewing our own beer, then turn around and serve it in plastic,” said Collins with a smile, adding that he’s excited to provide a fun, unique customer experience.
If all goes as planned, the grand opening for the brewery is set for Memorial Day weekend.

Related Topics: DETROIT LAKES
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