Urban Growler is the first women-owned microbrewery in Minnesota. They brew delicious craft beer and offer a full food menu of thoughtfully sourced eats out of their taproom and beer garden. Learn more by reading our Q&A below with co-owner Jill Pavlak!
When did you open Urban Growler, and what interested you in running a brewery?
We opened in July 2014. Deb and I met through a dating app in 2006, and our first date was at a craft beer bar, the Happy Gnome. Early on in our relationship, we decided we wanted to go into business together. Deb was a home brewer and we would drink her home brew and dream that “someday” we would open a business. We didn’t know what it would be — a coffee shop? A B&B? You name it, we considered it.
All the while we were brainstorming about our future, we were drinking Deb’s homebrew. Well, there you have it! It was right there in our little hands: beer! We said, let’s open a brewery. I would always add, “with a restaurant.” Deb did not want a restaurant. She grew up in Wisconsin and her family owned a couple restaurants. She knew all the work that was involved. Well, I won that battle! We have a full kitchen in our taproom with fantastic food and beer.
What makes Urban Growler unique?
We are the first women-owned brewery in the state of Minnesota. We were one of the first to have a full kitchen. We are lesbian-owned. We have a variety of beer styles and hard seltzer cocktails. We also have many non-alcoholic options. We built the brewery to bring people together. All are welcome, no matter how you vote, who you love, or how you identify. All are welcome, period. This is at the core of why we opened.
What beer and food would you recommend to someone coming to Urban Growler for the first time?
Cowbell Cream Ale is our most popular flagship. You always need more cowbell! It pairs great with our burgers. All our meat is sourced within 150 miles of the brewery. Our Club Credentials Hazy IPA is darn good, too! We finally nailed it on our sixth iteration. I love it with our vegan bowl. We have hearty salads, juicy burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches, and picture-worthy reubens, to name just a few items. All our food is made in house. Our sauces, dressings, caramel sauce and chocolate brownies incorporate our beer. You gotta try our De-Lovely brownie; we add our De-Lovely Porter to the batter. Num!
Where do you get the inspiration for your brews?
Farmers, urban gardens, and our team. We will walk through farmers markets and markets like Dragon Star and others and see what’s available.
We call these Plow to Pint brews — Blueberry Wheat, Lemongrass Wheat, Rhubarb Wit, Plum Sour, Sour Cherry, Orchard Saison, Cranberry Berliner Weisse, Pumpkin Saison, Apple Ale.
We also brew beer with ingredients we like. I’m a candy corn fan. So every fall we brew Candy Corn Imperial Cream Ale — oh, so good!
What is your vision for the future of Urban Growler?
We want to be one of the top 10 breweries in the state of Minnesota — not necessarily by volume, but by reputation. We have a bunch of good humans on our team all doing their part to make that happen. We recently added a Chief Operating Officer and a Marketing Coordinator. We had hoped to have these folks in place in 2020, but then COVID hit, so we had a bit of a setback (putting in mildly), but now we are feeling hopeful that 2023 is going to be better than the last few years. Right?
How can our co-op community support your business right now?
Come on in for food and drink. Meet friends or bring the family. We have a kids menu, too. Hold an event in one of our event spaces. Buy our beer in your favorite liquor store. If you don’t see Urban Growler beer, ask for it. We self-distribute, so grassroots effort has gotten us where we are today. We believe in the power of community!
Our Community Partner Program provides additional benefits to co-op member-owners while strengthening the connection between members and local, sustainable, independently owned businesses. Co-op members get $1 off pints every Tuesday and Wednesday at Urban Growler!