Monday, December 31, 2007

Brewers Nightmare

Bruce LeBlanc stopped in this morning. Bruce reviews beers for the Up Next supplement for the St. Cloud Times. Bruce is also president of the Cloudy Town Brewers home brew club and all around great guy. Anyhoo...Bruce informed me he had stopped in Friday night to try the three brews we have on. He confessed something strange was going on with the beer. He didn't go back for seconds on any of them. Bruce has always been very kind with my beers, so I'm like oh crap! Whats going on?! We went to the downstairs bar and I let Bruce sample all the beers again in a glass that I had washed and he was impressed! "These do not taste like the beers I had Friday night". The culpret? Too high a concentration of cleaner in the glass washers-aarrgh! Now, I sample everything I put on tap many times (tough job eh?), but I apparently did not use the glassware that was served Friday-geez who knows how long it was used-egads. Anyway, we are on top of the situation and it is being resolved with the glass washer company. It just kills me when things like this happen, but they are a reality in the brew pub world. I really feel for brewers who have to ship out their beer and lose all control of it. I'm not sure if this situation had anything to do with the person who commented in the last post or if it is just a matter of different tastes, but I do hope they come back and give us another chance. I care a great deal for my product and I want to make sure that folks are enjoying it. Hopefully this will become just a bump in the road to a great future for our little local brewery.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Growlers Now Available

Stop on in and pick up some McCann's brew to go. Growlers are now on sale. Half gallon containers of the freshest beer around.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Got Beer? We Do!

Three of the five brews are now on tap. Yeah!
Fresh beer in St. Cloud!
Deep Seven and Prairie Porter should be on the middle of next week. Thanks for the patience.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Roll Out the Barrels

If the stars align the High Bank Amber, McCann's Golden Ale and Little Abbey Ale should be on tap tomorrow afternoon.
I hope to have the Deep Seven IPA and Prairie Porter on earlyish next week.
We recieved our growlers today. I'm hoping for state approval soon so we can start selling them.
Thank you all for all of the support leading up to this. I hope to share a pint with you all soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One More to Go

I've been brewin' like crazy all week. Just the Prairie Porter to brew tomorrow and then we wait.

I brewed the Deep Seven IPA today and it was a back breaker. Three English malts and four hop varieties (two U.S./two English). Gravity clocked in at 1.067-yee ha! Five full 44 gallon buckets of spent grain to the farmer.

Another thanks to Jon W. for the High Bank Amber logo.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Brewing Pictures

The mash.

First runnings off the mash.

Top view of vorlauf (mash recirculation).

First runnings into brew kettle.

The sparge.

Wort boiling.

Monday, December 17, 2007

In Other News...

We have just been approved by the St. Cloud City Council to sell off sale growlers. They should be here by the time the beers in ready to pour.
Wow, it's been a good day. I even got a new song written this weekend. Things are looking up.
Off to bed to get some sleep for tomorrows brew day.


I got word today we are approved to start brewing! Thank you all for your patience during this lengthy process.
Stay tuned for brew day photos and lots of news in the coming days.

Friday, December 14, 2007

While We Wait...

Since I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for approval to brew I thought I'd show you some photos from a recent trip to New Ulm, MN.

I just love seeking out old breweries. They ooze history to me. This is the old Hauenstein Brewery. It is now a rental space. It's nice when you find a old brewery that has been kept up. Sadly, most are in disrepair.

The brewery started in 1864 and continued operation until 1972.

Another shot.

Could this outlet possibly be a spent grain chute? I could imagine a truck underneath loading up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Hops!

My second shipment of hops came in today-Yeah! Maybe I can sleep a little better. We are looking pretty good hop wise now and I have one more shipment of imports coming.
Now if I can only start using them.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


-14 F this morning. Looks like we actually have a real Minnesota winter this year.
Sorry for the lack of updates , but there hasn't been anything new to report. The government gives us a list of items it needs-we send them in-then they ask for more. It's really been a frustrating process. They say we should be approved to brew next week, but I've heard that four weeks in a row now. I'm trying to stay sane.
I'll keep you posted on any new developments. Have a good weekend.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Winterfest Sold Out

Well, it took 52 minutes this year. Tickets are all gone. Hope some of you were able to get some.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Let it Snow

St. Cloud recieved it's first measurable snow yesterday. Time to get the studded tires on the bike for my brewery commutes. I love winter riding. I'll take cold over 90+ degrees anyday.
Reports are we were very busy at McCann's over the weekend. Thanks to all who came. I hope the new staff wasn't overwhelmed.
I'll keep you posted on brewing news this coming week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Opening Day Friday, November 30th

Well, opening day will soon be upon us. Unfortunately, I have not recieved approval from the goverment to brew yet-grrr!
I'm hoping to hear something today or tomorrow.
Anyway, please stop in and check out the new digs. Great local beer will be here soon-promise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Few Things Before the Holiday...

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild's Winterfest will take place at Landmark Center in St Paul on Friday February 8th-6:30-9:30pm. 550 Tickets will go on sale at noon, Monday December 3rd available at Folks, these tickets sell out very fast so do not delay. Minnesota brewers bring out the big guns for this event and if you consider yourself a beer lover do not miss it.
Todays McCann's news is we got our certificate of occupancy today. This means we have our liquor license and we are one step closer to opening day. I still hope to brew next week if the goverment finishes our paper work up.
I picked up a bottle of Brouwerij Lindemans Framboise for Thanksgiving dinner. Should pair up well with the meal.
Happy Thanksgiving folks.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Deep Seven IPA Logo

Here's the Deep Seven IPA logo. Thanks again to J.W.

MPR Interview

Today I was interviewed by Tim Post of Minnesota Public Radio about the rising ingredient costs for brewing. Listen for the piece possibly Friday morning. I gather it will be on the MPR website also.
In other news...The TTB got a hold of me today. They said they are 90% done with our paper work and it looks like things may go through next week. Not what I was hoping, but what can you do? I'm just dying to brew. I'll keep ya posted.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

State Inspection

The brewery had it's state inspection today and everything checked out fine. I'm finishing up the last bit of details with the Federal side of things. Cross your fingers folks-I may be brewing next week.

Monday, November 12, 2007

McCann's Golden Ale Logo

Here's the logo for the Golden Ale. Big ole thanks go to Jon Wittman for the design. Jon has more on the way, so stay tuned. Jon loves beer.

Some Photos to Tide You Over

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Buried in Paperwork

Sorry about the lack of McCann's updates recently. As far as the restaurant and bar things are moving very well. The building is really coming together.
As far as the brewing side goes, it's been a bit frustrating. I have all the paperwork in for the federal and state side and I'm just waiting to hear back. It's getting to the point that I'm worried I won't have beer on for opening. That just kills me. I will do everything in my power to have something on, but it's kinda out of my hands at the moment. I'll be making calls Tuesday to try to light a fire.
Other than that I'm ready to brew. Malt, hops, and yeast are stocked and the brewery is ready to fire up.
Hope I have some good news this coming week. family took the last day trip of the year up to Duluth before the white stuff flies. The kids had a great time at the zoo-even with some snow flurries. We stopped at the Brew House at Fitgers for a late lunch. The food and service were on point and of course the beer was spot on. Dave Hoops has done a great job up there. Growlers were flying out of the place. We need to support our small local breweries more than ever now with rising ingredient costs(if you can get ingredients at all). I practice what I preach folks.
On a side note, my band Cannery Row will be playing the St. Cloud Federal Building downtown on the 16th from 5-9pm for the Art Crawl. Stop in and say howdy.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's Coming Back Home

I just won this on Ebay.

Many local folks don't know about St. Cloud's rich brewing history. The St. Cloud Brewing Co. was in business from 1933-1939(after operating under different names and owners since the late 1800's). The building later became the Purity Milk Company. I was fortunate enough during high school to be a volunteer for the March of Dimes "Haunted Dungeon" which used the old building as a halloween fund raising event. I remember vividly being in the basement lagering cellar-a beautiful stone structure with a healthy population of bats. There were other breweries in town as well. Caves in a ravine near St. Cloud State University were used to lager(age) beer. A rival brewer was accused of starting a fire at the Frank Funk Brewery in 1878. So, competition must have been fierce.

I may display this at McCann's and I'm searching for other items from local breweries. If you have anything interesting, or you know somebody who can help me on this quest, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Man

Finished up what is hopefully the last bit of paper work for the feds today. Our government helper is going to try to push things through in a few days-we'll see.
I attended the Minnesota Brewers Guild meeting last night at Rock Bottom in minnyapplepus.
Bryon had a nice selection of beers on. We reviewed the Autumn Brew Review and things went well this year. We learn every year how to make the festival better, so next years should be a great time. By the by, we are now a official member of the Minnesota Brewers Guild.
The exterior of our building has been completly changed in the past few days. I'll try to get pics up soon. Sure but steady progress. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Malt is Here!

The malt room is full-whew! We have a door on the South side of the building that is usually used for loading in malt(when the building was O'Hara's), but it was being used to bring in the pool tables. So...I had to go the round-a-bout way to get the grain in. Seven bags at a time on the hand truck, through the upstairs dining area, down the elevator, all the way through the basement(it's friggin long) to the malt room. Let's bags at a time, eighty bags in total, that's eleven and a half loads-damn my back hurts.

Seriously, it feels good. One step closer to brew day.

Think I'll have a beer.

Unitanks Waiting for Beer

Monday, October 22, 2007


Dig the new logo in the upper left corner of the page.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Grain is on it's Way

We have our first grain order on the way and should arrive early next week. Nothing but the best malted barley from Belgium and the UK.
Here is a pic of the newly carpeted basement.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Getting Close

The carpet folks were in today making good progress. I'm going to do a malt order tomorrow or Thursday-just gotta find a two wheeler to haul it to the grain storage room. I'm really ready to brew, but I'm waiting on the Feds and state to get through the paper work.
I'm so anxious to brew I did my first batch of home brew in eleven years this last weekend. It's chuggin' away nicely. McCann's is a flurry of activity right now and it's got me pumped. Can't wait to pull on the rubber boots!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Hops are Here!

Brown santa came today with boxes o' hops and some Belgian candi sugar for the first seasonal. One less thing to worry about.
Carpet is going in early next week. Hope to have a grain order placed mid week if all goes well.
Rumor has it the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is wrapping up the paper work and we could have a green light for brewing soon-cross your fingers!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dining Room Tiled

The tile is all down in the main dining area. Just needs the wainscoting(I believe it will also be tile).

Another Pic

Here is the basement-painting almost complete.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Hops are Coming!

I got confirmation today that I have hops for the next year. This is very good news considering the hop market. I will recieve a nice variety to play around with.
I'm looking at moving water through the pipes of the brew house this week to make sure I have all my gaskets good and tight. I'm chomping at the bit to get brewing. I hope to have some new pictures of the interior progress soon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

From the Land of Amber Waters...

I wanted to give you all a heads up on a new book soon to be released. "Land of Amber Waters" is a coffee table style book written by Doug Hoverson. The book covers the rich history of brewing in Minnesota. I got a chance to look at it at the Autumn Brew Review and it's a keeper folks. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to talk to Doug about it. I am a bit of a history nut (my father was a history teacher) and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Doug will be doing a presentation and book signing at Summit Brewing Thursday, October 25th, 7-9pm. Sounds like there will be free brew and music. Wish I could make it, but I have tickets to the Fred Eaglesmith concert here in town.

This book is long overdue, so be sure to check it out at your local book seller.
I got the brew house walls scrubbed today. The basement has been primered and painting will soon follow. Carpet is due to be installed on the 22nd. Lots of progress.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Autumn Brew Review

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild's Autumn Brew Review. This event quickly sold out, but I was able to purchase some tickets from Ryan at Buddy!

The local brewers were in fine form. I tasted some fantastic beers.

I was very touched by the beer fans that took time out to talk to me and let me know they missed my beers and they are excited in what's to come. You folks are the best.

I can't wait to be serving next year. Make sure you buy your tickets early.

More ABR Photos

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hop Shortage

Yesterday was a trying day. I spent the afternoon with hop suppliers and it's more bleak than I thought. Hops are virtually bought up. I was lucky to find a vender who had made room in thier supply for start up breweries, otherwise I'd be S.O.L. This reminds us all the beer just doesn't materialize out of thin air. A farmer needs to seed and care for the hops and malt, good folks in the supply chain need to do the work to get the ingredients to the brewers, and if things are tough(weather/other factors) we(brewers) do not get what we need-simple as that. Raise a pint for those guys & gals tonight. Word.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mill Room Ready

I started cleaning and organizing the mill room about three weeks ago. The electrician accidentally snipped the wires to the light/outlet circuit, so I had to move on to other things. We finally got power back yesterday. So...the mill room is done and ready to go. Waiting for the grain scale to arrive via brown santa any day now.

My next mission today is to get my hop order sorted out. We(brewers) are in a bit of a hop crisis right now. This years supply is mostly gone and the crop isn't looking great for next year. I hope to have hops coming my way soon one way or the other.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Race Action: Pork Chop Challenge

Riders battling up one of the many climbs.

The Pork Chop Challenge

My local Bicycling club "The Mid Minnesota Cycling Club" once again hosted The Pork Chop Challenge cyclocross race. In past years O'Hara's would donate a keg to this event. Since we are not up and running yet at McCann's, Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center came through in a pinch. The club thanks Omar at Surly for providing a ample portion of yummy Bender oatmeal brown ale. Surly has been known to sponsor other cycling events, so cyclists:
Go get some Surly!
See the website for the 411:

Friday, September 14, 2007


During this summers "down time" I landed a job as coffee roaster at Dunn Bros. in Monticello. I have a passion for coffee as well as beer and I have been home roasting for seven years or so. This here is my Diedrich IR-3 roaster. I do six pound batches. I hope to incorporate our coffee in some of McCann's future seasonals.

Side shot of the Diedrich. You can see part of the after burner to the right. This reduces smoke emissions.

Half of our green bean stock. Dunn carries a nice variety of single origin beans.

Green beans just added to roaster. These are Brasils.

Roasting-yellow stage

Dumping the beans.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Drum Roll Please...

It's time to annonuce our beer line up!
Here's the tentative brews:
McCann's Golden Ale-Our easy drinking brew-light body, clean hops, a perfect session beer.
High Bank Amber-nice middle of the road amber brewed with all Belgian malts.
Deep Seven IPA-organic English floor malted pale ale malt, two other malts and four hops.
Dark Seasonal Tap-first up will be a porter.
Seasonal Tap-first up will be a Belgian single.
Don't hold be to this, but I'm pretty sure that's the line up. I'll have more details on each beer as things develop.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Don't Forget!

Autumn Brew Review 2007
When: Saturday, September 29
Time: 1 – 6 p.m.
Where: Warehouse lot of the historic Grain Belt Brewery complex – NE Minneapolis
Website: Visit for more details!
The 7th annual Autumn Brew Review craft beer festival will take place on Saturday, September 29, 2007 from 1 – 6 pm at a new, exciting vintage beer venue……the historic Grain Belt Brewery complex in Northeast Minneapolis! 40+ Breweries from Minnesota and other regional breweries will be pouring well over 130+ different craft beers. This outdoor festival, produced by and benefiting the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, will feature unlimited beer samples, a commemorative tasting glass, live music all day from local bands: The Alarmists, Romantica and others. Tasty food vendors on-site, including Pizza LucĂ© and Uncle Franky's. Voting for your favorite beer and table display competitions, and a good time to be had by all at this beautiful historic beer venue on the banks of the mighty Mississippi.
Ticket Info:
$25 Advanced General Admission / $30 Door General Admission (if available)
$10 Sober Driver - no glassware / alternative wristband / access to the festival, live music and non-alcoholic drinks
To Purchase Tickets online visit the official website:
You can also purchase General Admission tickets in person at: (cash/check only at these outlets)
Barley John's Brew Pub - New Brighton
Great Waters Brewing Co. - St. Paul
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery - Minneapolis
Ticket price includes unlimited samples of great craft beer and a commemorative tasting glass (while supplies last). The Autumn Brew Review takes place rain or shine. All attendees must be 21+ years of age and must present their valid id at the gate.

Friday, September 7, 2007

We Have a Winner!

The shirt has been grabbed-thanks for playing.

The Sign's on the Door

First off, the shirt is still available. See the last post to win. Things are moving along well. More gets done every day, but I'm getting stoked to brew. The brewery is pretty much ready to go, just waiting for government approval. Lots of construction work to do yet.

Here is the progress on the main dining area.

The downstairs bar is now under construction.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

T-Shirt Prize Spectacular!

The first person to email me at gets this brand spanking new XL shirt. I'll pay shipping. This will not be our final logo. We just thought it would be fun to get these made.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Beer Hunter Has Passed...

I'm sad to report the passing of Michael Jackson. The craft brewing scene would not be what it is today without Jackson's campaign to show us all the wonderfull world outside of bland American lagers. He introduced us to the people, places and traditions of brewing.
Oddly enough, I revisited his Discovery Channel series "The Beer Hunter" a couple of weeks ago. Great fun.
I was fortunate enough to share a pint with Michael(very much the trooper as he was fighting the flu).
I will raise my glass to him tonight.
We will miss you Michael.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ready for filling.

Pin(5.5 gallon keg) ready for tapping.

Real Ale Workshop

Today I got together with Colin Mullen at Barley John's Brew Pub. I can't thank Colin enough to spend some time with me going over his real ale production techniques.
You can be sure that McCann's will have some real ale(and lager) offerings in the future. We will also have fun with adding new ingredients to these brews to make our real ales a new experience every time.

Colin in the office.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Heading to Barley John's Brew Pub in New Brighton tomorrow. I'm due for a fact finding road trip and my bandmate( Dean and I will be discussing cask ale preparation with brewer Colin Mullen. Hopefully sampling some of Colin's wonderful brews also.
You should also visit Barley John's. Linkage:
Hope to have pics of the trip for you soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Hops are Here!

Despite drought conditions most of the summer, the hops in back yard are looking pretty good. Hops contribute bitterness, flavor and aroma to beer. Even though my hops are just ornamental, it gets me looking foward to brewing soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beer Development

I got the piping on the brewhouse all back together today. Kegs are washed and stacked-a little more progress everyday. I'll be contacting my suppliers today to get accounts set up. The recipes are starting to come together and I should be making the beer line up public knowledge soon. There are some hard choices to made about the regular beers. You have to live with them a long time so you have to make solid decisions. Many people have requested some of the old O'Hara's beers and I am flattered, but O'Hara's owned the recipes/names of those beers and we want to do things our own way for the new pub. I hope you will all understand. I feel very good about what I have planned so, keep your minds and your palates opened.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The brew house. Lots of copper cleaning to do-wax on/wax off.