What’s brewing at Lakes & Legends

(From left) Ethan Applen, Derrick Taylor and Andrew Dimery. Credit: Photo by Bill Hickey

The first floor of the LPM Apartments tower in Loring Park will soon be hopping.

With 35 floors and 350 residential units, the building at 1368 LaSalle Ave. is adding a unique lower level tenant in Lakes & Legends Brewing Company, set to open late October.

Lakes & Legends, which will produce Belgian Farmhouse ales, is a story of family and beer. Minneapolis resident Derrick Taylor would often visit his brother- in-law Ethan Applen in San Diego. This inevitably led to touring that city’s acclaimed brew scene. “I learned a lot about food and beer through Ethan, I think we all did, and it was on some of those early San Diego tours that we started talking about the idea,” Taylor recalled.

Ready for a career change, the owners realized that each had a unique skillset and experiences, which made for a strong business partnership.

With a mutual love of beer and an interest in reprioritizing their lives, Applen and his wife Katie moved east, joined Taylor, and set the brewery in motion.

“We were looking for a lifestyle change,” Applen explained. “We were trying to get somewhere we could be close to family, where community was important. With the brewery itself, we want to make a community space where people come together. It’s like the campfire at the end of the day.”

The 3,000-square-foot taproom will face LaSalle Avenue while providing a spot for the neighborhood to gather over pints and take home growlers.

A love of beer isn’t enough to start a business, though. Applen last worked for Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Taylor worked in marketing for Red Bull. Lakes & Legends want an experienced commercial brewer leading the brand, so they’ve hired Kentucky native Andrew Dimery, formerly of Bluegrass Brewing Company and Sun King Brewing.

Dimery has an impressive resume that melds food and beer, something the owners feel is a perfect fit for their own plans, as they view the Twin Cities food scene as an important component to the success of local craft beer. Dimery was kitchen manager previous to becoming head brewer at Bluegrass, where he had free reign on recipes, including making Belgian-styled beers, which is where Lakes & Legends will focus their brand.

Farmhouse ales emphasize local ingredients in build one-of-a-kind beers that typically use a Belgian yeast strain. With 16 taps (plus two nitro lines), that means a constant rotation that can feature anything from local honey to raspberries, smoked malts, and spices and herbs.

“We want to have a crazy lineup of beers,” Applen said of their plans.

Beers in development run the gamut from fruity esters to more expected Belgian strong and golden ales.

Dimery, born in bourbon country, moved north in April, and embraces the change of scenery and weather. After buying a bike checking out the Greenway and local libraries, he’s enjoying the temperate summer, the famed Minnesota Nice, and less humidity compared to Louisville.

Besides enjoying the new city, he’s been in R&D mode on a pilot brewing system, brewing 29 different beers thus far as he formulates and tweaks the brand’s introductory Belgian brews.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I haven’t done this much pilot brewing in a long time.”

He’s been playing  with ingredients and inventing new recipes from the ground up. The senses are an important part of that, and he plans for a flight of beer to be varied in colors and presented in an appealing fashion.

“I’m not saying I want to dance on your tongue,” he joked. “But I kind of do — in a good way.”

He’s noted that Minnesotan beers he’s enjoyed thus far have more of a residual sweetness to their finish than the drier beers he was accustomed to in Louisville.

While the brand identity will be farmhouse ales, Lakes & Legends is also excited about their location. Not only does it come in a modern apartment complex, but on the edge of downtown. There are a variety of restaurants nearby and other attractions such as Target, Loring Park, and Walker Art Center complete the neighborhood.

“We started looking at spaces a year and a half ago,” Applen says of the hunt for a brewhouse that took them to the LPM building. “We were never looking at this part of town because we didn’t think we’d find anything that fit our budget or made sense.”

When the property got on their radar, they didn’t hesitate to commit to the space.

 “Since the ’50s there’s this push to get people out from the city centers but now everybody is trying to come back in,” he said. “I think we can tap that same movement.”

With equipment awaiting installation, now it’s a matter of keeping on schedule between contractors, licensing, and other business arrangements.

If all goes according to plan, Lakes & Legends will have a soft open in late October with an official opening in early November.



At a glance: Lakes & Legends

What: A new brewing company focused on Belgian and farmhouse ales scheduled to open late October.

Where: Street-level space at LPM Apartments in the Loring Park neighborhood, 1368 LaSalle Ave.

Website: www.lakesandlegends.com