Brewery of the Month – February 2023
By Thomas Pankratz
Junk Yard brewing, established in 2012, is a small, fun, and exciting brewing company with a brewery and taproom in Moorhead, Minnesota. Their creative names of their beers will not be out done by the creative and innovative beers they produce. Every time we get a shipment of their wonderfully wacky beers, I get excited because it’s never the same product twice.
Junkyards are places to find cool stuff. Stuff with character. In a market that continues to offer more and more choices, their beers are always unique and full of character.
Junkyards are local places. In a word, unique. They are the complete opposite of chain companies. Likewise, you won’t find a brewery quite like them anywhere else. They are individual and local. Their taproom is open every night of the week and has become known for their focus on brewing experimental styles and for constantly rotating offerings for on and off sale.
“Junkyard is the perfect name for this company because it expresses, in a word, who we are; we’re unique, we’re local, and we’ve got character.” Says Aaron, Co-founder and brewer. With his brother Dan and limited funds, they began the brewery as a couple of guys fresh out of college with no outside investors. They visited other Minnesota microbreweries and made detailed business plans and financial models, but things never took physical shape until the brothers pooled their resources and decided to make a go of their nanobrewery setup. A sort of Junkyard mentality took shape.
They designed and built a 50-gallon, stainless steel, all-grain brewing system with a custom jacketed brew kettle heated by a couple of 200,000 BTU propane burners. But they needed a place to put it. They found a place adjacent to the Country Cannery homebrew store in Morehead. After that came a lot of paperwork, research, and building, all of which was tedious and interesting only to somebody planning a nanobrewery. To sum it up, a lot of scrounging, deal-making, and hard work went into the creation of Junkyard Brewing Company. The dream finally became a cold, foamy reality as the last of the licensing and permitting was wrapped up in the spring and summer of 2013. And their first kegs went on tap in local establishments in August of 2013.
After approximately one year of operations at the original brewery, they finally secured a lease at a bigger warehouse space in the summer of 2014. “Throughout the summer, Dan and I alternately brewed at the original brewery and constructed the new taproom and brewery.” Their current taproom space opened in September of 2014, but even after upgrading to a new 3-barrel brewing system, they still struggled to brew enough beer to keep up with their taproom. In 2017, they brought a 10-barrel brewing system and additional fermenters online to expand their brewing capacity. Still, folks continue to try to drink them dry which is never a bad problem to have.
At the end of the year 2018 they were able to open the doors to their new 1,500-square-foot Taproom Expansion! Now they have two full bars, dozens of new tables, spacious bathrooms, and ample room for indoor fun in the Fall and Winter!
“Going forward, we’ll continue to focus on brewing experimental styles, constantly rotating our beer offerings, and we’ll stay true to our Do-It-Yourself style of brewing and business. We’ve had a lot of support along the way and are excited to continue offering a place for community to come together to enjoy handcrafted brews and a cozy space welcome to all.” -Aaron (Co-Founder)
We can’t wait to see what comes next from Junkyard!!
A clean, session lager with a crisp finish featuring Maris Otter Malt. This English based malt gives the beer a bread & crackers taste, with a darker color and fuller body than most lagers. Just one sip will take your right back to your favorite fishing hole. Tips up! ABV 4.8% IBU’s-18
Forget about cooking, washing dishes, and a hard day at the office. Get away to an ice cold Jolly Meal! A juicy New England IPA that’s packed with delicious hoppy flavor featuring a blend of Strata and Sabro hops! We took the recipe for the ultra-juicy “Triple Double” triple IPA and made it the perfect size for a smaller appetite! It’s just the kind of break you deserve today! ABV-7.0% IBU’s-0
The first ever JY beer brewed with Australian hop variety, Vic Secret! Rock the Cash Bar uses Conan yeast to bring out a juicy, hazy hop character, but without the sweetness that typically accompanies other IPA strains. Expect a high caliber hop torpedo with incredible drinkability. And by the way- PUNK’S NOT DEAD. ABV-7.2% IBU’s-0
This ale was made with a combination of cherry, pineapple, toasted coconut, plus vanilla and marshmallow to recreate everyone’s favorite potluck dish! You better believe that it tastes and smells just like you’re eating a spoonful of this classic fruit salad, which has been affectionately served in fellowship halls across the midwest for generations. ABV-7.2% IBU’s-10