Minhas Brewery is located in Monroe, Wisconsin. It was a short drive south of New Glarus, which we had just visited the same day. My brother, his friend and I walked in just in time for their 1:00 tour of the facilities. We started by having a few of the bottomless samples they offered on the tour. I began with the Lazy Mutt, which was a wheat beer. I will be writing specific tasting notes in the future.
Minhas was recently purchased by a brother and sister from Canada. According to the video we watched at the beginning of the tour, they are focused on production and packaging a high volume of beer from their facilities. They produce 550 cans of beer per minute. They move the beer from the brewery to the other plant for bottling underground. Growing up in a small farming community in Iowa, I associated the smells in the brewhouse with the room on a dairy farm where the bulk tank is housed and where they stored the kegs smelled like the local feed store.
They also keep a library of the beers they brew, keeping a case of each brew. Each batch is tested 85 times throughout the process. I had never thought of the concept of a brewery keeping a library of their beers, but I’m sure a lot of companies have this practice. It makes perfect sense to be able to go back to a particular production if the need arises. This plant dates their beer by the month, date and year to be able to locate specific ingredients of batches.
Not only do they produce their own brews, they also produce and package beer and other alcoholic beverages for other companies. Some of the labels we saw along the tour included Crunk limeade drink, Jaguar, and Blackeyed Voodoo. Blackeyed Voodoo was originally based in New Orleans, but was outsourced to this plant after Hurricane Katrina.
Some of their beer appeared to be intended for the craft brew lover, but the majority of the beer was similar to domestic beer. They even commented that college kids love the Boxer beer (presumably because it is inexpensive and easy to drink).
The conclusion of our visit at the Minhas Brewery was a little soured for me because I was having issues with my debit card. Turns out, someone in Kansas had tried to charge a hotel room on my card and there was a hold put on my account. I was truly grateful for the hold, but it was still embarrassing to be declined in front of a group of people I had just toured the brewery with that afternoon. My mind was also racing with worst case scenario thoughts about what could have happened to my account, which the beer I had drank throughout the day did not help. I hope to return again and be able to fully enjoy the experience!