Many a beer enthusiast has had the dream of owning a brewery. Such is the case for Richard “Ricky” and Barbara Stein, the new owners of Ineffable Brewing in Burnsville.
For as long as they can remember, Richard and Barbara have held the goal of operating a brewery. Richard’s passion began in Duluth at Fitger’s brewhouse while attending college. “The Duluth beer scene inspired us. We experienced lots of new beers and admired Dave Hoops,” remembers Richard.
Richard was working at LTD Brewing through the first COVID shutdown. Shortly after, there were rumors about some businesses about to close. Richard responded to a listing he saw in Burnsville, and he mainly inquired out of curiosity, not expecting anything solid. He soon ended up meeting with Nutmeg Brewing, examined the equipment and then ended up with the opportunity to purchase the brewery.
Richard’s experience at LTD gave him the confidence to start his own business. However, he knew he couldn’t go at it alone. He hired his friend Steve, who was a mentor and brought his years of expertise from LTD, where they worked together. Steve manages all the brewing right now. And although COVID kept them moving slowly, it actually helped them make it through getting everything ready.
Ineffable Brewing began in October of 2020 – they were open only five weeks before the second shutdown. “We know what we had to do to get through. The craft beer community has been amazing – they’ll stockpile or give beer as gifts. People knew what they needed to do, and we appreciate their support more than people know,” says Richard, “Other brewery owners buy from competitors and overall support the movement. We were new and had to convince people to drink new beer – but it comes with a good community. We keep overhead as low as possible. We work a lot more to reduce costs. It comes with its challenges.”
Their team is optimistic for the summer months and getting back to normal. “You can tell the general mentality has changed – we’re following protocol, but people are less afraid to go out and about.”
“We’ve got big plans for the place,” explains Richard. The crew continues to enhance the inviting atmosphere and is anxious to have the pre-covid vibe back: watching people gather more and playing games inside and out. It’s part of the beer culture they’re excited to have return full force.
Richard and the team’s thirst for knowledge (and of course, ah-hem, beer) have inspired a work culture of creativity and pushing boundaries.
“We’re really starting to find our groove,” shares Richard. “Our shandy has been very popular. Some brews we’re most excited about are the Norwegian Farmhouse Ales; our Liquid Swag triple hazy IPA has been a big hit. I’m proud of our Belgian double; it’s an awesome beer and portrayal of our capabilities. When you’re working for yourself, you get to be creative.”
Other well-received beers have been a mixed berry ale and the B52 coffee porter, which sold out quickly. They hope to continue to push the boundaries and tweak traditions, such as offering an Oktoberfest over the winter. “We think it’s fun to have some beers around all the time!” expresses Richard. “We’re trying to bring out beers most haven’t heard of, such as the Norweigen Farmhouse ales. We are always evolving and changing, trying new things, and being creative. “We offer a variety of new beers,” says Richard. “People like to try new things and yet, some people like the same thing. We try to balance that.”
The Ineffable team also works to promote a culture of collaboration. For example, Ineffable and LTD Brewing brewed a white stout – but a dessert version. Both breweries came up with what they wanted to createtogether. “We each brewed on different equipment. It’s fun to learn and see how people do things differently. We both made the beer but they were sightly different and we explained the science of why they were different. I love the neverending knowledge and learning.”
As local brewers, the Ineffable Brewing crew’s passion drives them to expand the craft beer culture as a whole. Richard elaborates, “We want to do things like homebrewing competitions, get people involved, and continue our collaboration with other breweries.” They also have big plans to create a permanent outdoor area and continue to enhance the decor and atmosphere indoors.
“We hope that it brings more brewery hopping to Burnsville – it didn’t really exist before. A lot of people are excited there are local options and they love being able to walk to the venue.” Ineffable, as well as other local breweries, plans to shape the brewing culture south of the river and become a craft brew destination.