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Bemidji Brewing Co. to unveil beer at Brigid’s Saturday

From left, Tina Hanke, Tom Hill and Justin “Bud” Kaney of Bemidji Brewing Co. brew up a batch of beer Thursday afternoon in Harmony Co-op’s commercial kitchen. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Local residents will have the chance to drink a glass of Bemidji Brewing Co.’s beer Saturday.

That’s when the local start-up will have its pale ale on tap for sale for the first time at Brigid’s Irish Pub. The tap will start flowing at 4 p.m.

The brewery, launched by friends Justin “Bud” Kaney, Tom Hill and Tina Hanke, has been working out of Harmony Co-op’s commercial kitchen since early October, when it got the final go-ahead from the government to brew commercially.

The event is a long time in the making, as they’ve been brewing and exploring craft brewery scenes across the country for years.

“It’s a huge milestone,” Kaney said. “This is what you become a brewery to do.”

The beer will only be available at Brigid’s initially, Kaney said, as they get a feel for how much demand there is for it and how much they can produce. All three have day jobs, and they have to schedule ahead of time to use the commercial kitchen because it’s shared with other groups.

Kaney added that other establishments have shown interest in selling their beer, but the Bemidji Brewing team doesn’t want to leave any taps dry by spreading themselves too thin.

Kristi Miller, owner of Brigid’s, said she was approached by Kaney about selling the beer. While she doesn’t describe herself as a beer connoisseur, she said she enjoyed it when she first had a drink.

Brigid’s also sells beer from Leech Lake Brewing Co., which is based in Walker, Minn.

“I’m a firm believer in our local artists and business people to be able to sustain themselves here in our town,” Miller said. “I just like the local aspect of it.”

Kaney said the team will be on hand Saturday to celebrate and chat with patrons about the beer. The night will also include a performance from local folk/rock group Good Noise.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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