Going Back to Our Roots: 612Brew Uses Old Grains for Brewing

612Brew Minneapolis

612Brew is a relatively newcomer to the beer brewing industry. Nestled in the rapidly expanding region of Northeast Minneapolis, 612Brew offers a unique look that mixes  mirror-polished tanks and exposed bricks in their massive tap room.

612Brew is part of an area that has seen quite the brewing renaissance in the past few years – so much, in fact, that the area is now a Mecca for the city’s young and discerning imbibers. Among the many good names growing in the city, 612 is whipping up an especially wholesome craft beer: the 612Brew Wild Rice Dunkel Lager.

We talked to head brewer Austin Myhran to find out what makes 612Brew such a unique find in an area buzzing with great brewers.

Q: Can you give us a quick background of the brewery and how it all started?

AM: 612Brew opened about three years ago in the old Broadway Building on the corner of Central and Broadway in Nordeast Minneapolis, the new hub for craft brewing in the Twin Cities. I took on the role of lead brewer only about a month ago, after spending time at a brewpub outside of Chicago. I am a native of Minneapolis, and always loved the Nordeast neighborhoods. 612Brew was beginning an expansion into canning and barrel aging, so it was a perfect fit.

Q: Can you tell our readers more about the Wild Rice Dunkel Lager? What makes it so unique?

AM:  The Wild Rice Dunkel is a take on one of my all-time favorite beer styles, Munich Dunkel. Having lived, studied, and consumed a beer or two in Munich it was a style I was very interested in. Munich is now known for light, or hell, lagers. Historically, though, it is the home of dark, or dunkel, lager beers. You don’t find many examples of them being produced commercially, so it was a beer we wanted to take a swing at, but do a little differently.

Q: You have a pretty unique beer for sale, made using wild rice. What made you choose it as an ingredient and why is it so special?

AM: At 612 we try to brew beer that is reflective of where we live and beer that has a story behind it. Wild Rice is a perfect fit flavor-wise for a style like a dunkel lager, as it adds an earthy, sort of rye-like spiciness and a fantastic, almost black, color to the beer.

Also, wild rice is a grain commonly found in river valleys and lakes all over Minnesota and has helped to sustain many Native Tribes in the state for hundreds of years. So, it gives the beer a Minnesotan soul.

Q: Do you produce any other beers or do you have plans to produce any others?  AM: We have our year-round flagship beers that will start rolling off our new canning line next week. They are: “Unrated,” our bold American-style Rye IPA; “Six,” our hoppy American-style Pale Ale, named for the bus line that ran past the garage where our brewery started as a small home brew set up; and “Gateway Parka” our Pre-Prohibition Style Lager, a beer not unlike something your great grandfather would have enjoyed. We also have tons of seasonal and one-off beers.

Two that I’m particularly excited for is our “Payback” Oatmeal Porter that we have aging in bourbon barrels from Breckenridge Distillery, and Bitter Cold #3, our latest in our series of single-malt single-hop IPAs we release each winter. This year we used Australian Pale Ale malt and Rakau hops from New Zealand.


Diana Bocco is a writer and author who writes for Yahoo!, the Discovery Channel website, Marie Claire, Poplar Mechanics, and more. You can find more about her work on her website dianabocco.com.

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