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Brew, with second location just open in DL, makes plans for brewery in Perham

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business Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

With just over a year of business under their belts and a second location in Detroit Lakes newly opened, the owners of Brew Ales and Eats in Perham have yet another venture, well, brewing.

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Though they’re only in the very beginning stages of what could easily be a 6- to 10-month-long process, Alex and Britt Belquist are planning to open a brew pub, with beers brewed by the barrel on site.

It would be the first and only brew pub Perham has had in memorable history.

“It’s going to be a cool project,” said Alex in a telephone interview. “It’ll be good for the town.”

Located right next door to the current Brew bar and restaurant in Perham, the pub will offer growlers of off-sale craft beers, brewed in house. (A growler is a glass or ceramic jug used to transport fresh beer from a brewery to home.)

The Belquists, a husband-and-wife team, have partnered with Wadena resident Brett Doebbeling on the project. Doebbeling, who has a long-time passion for brewing beer, will oversee the brewing operation.

At a meeting last week, Doebbeling told Perham City Councilors that, “This has been a dream of mine for a number of years. I’m really excited.”

Doebbeling and Alex Belquist briefed the council on their preliminary plans for the pub. Councilors agreed to amend the city’s liquor ordinance to allow the off-sale liquor sales and license for the pub.

City Manager Kelcey Klemm said the next step will be for the Belquists to apply for a brew pub license from the state of Minnesota. The couple will also need to apply to the city to sell growlers.

“We’re just in the beginning stages,” Alex told the Focus, cautioning that no plans are definite yet. “Once we get the layout and the blueprints to the state, it could be a 6-10 month process.”

The pub could open as soon as this fall, he said, but it may not be until winter, or even next spring.

“We need to have everything laid out and planned before we can even begin,” he said. “We’re still figuring out spacing. We need to get up to code on drains, and want to make sure to put the tanks in the right spot... It’s another animal compared to opening a restaurant.”

According to Alex, he and Britt had been thinking about opening a brew pub for some time; offering their own beer has always been a part of the couple’s long-term business plan. The problem, Alex said, has been that neither one of them are experts when it comes to brewing.

That’s where Doebbeling comes in. When the Belquists were introduced to him about six months ago through a community connection, it seemed a perfect match, and a partnership began.

If all goes as planned, the pub will be selling craft and tap beers over-the-counter by this time next year. The beer will not be distributed off-site.  

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