know your bartender: Jared Allerson

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He’s “the cute one;” a personable bar man with a tight beard and boyish good looks.

But our pal Jared Thomas Allerson is much more than just a pretty face. And he’ll be the first to tell you that he does more than tend the bar Imminent Brewing.

“I’m also a brewer. I assist Randy in whatever he needs. That means moving the beer around based on the vessel that we’re using at the time, clearing the mash tun, and checking gravity readings. Things like that.”

A 2017 graduate of St. Olaf College, Jared is a native of Sacramento, California, where his dad was a pastor.

“I’d sit under the pulpit when he was preaching,” he said. “I’d tug on his robes and stuff.”

Family connections brought him to Northfield for college, and recently with his father retiring (Mr. Allerson is a Northfield native as well as a St. Olaf alum), his family has followed him to Northfield.

Does he miss California?

“Well, I have friends that I miss. But Minnesota has four seasons, which California doesn’t. Mostly, I just miss the food in California. I like Pho. There isn’t enough of that here.”

Now that he’s done with college, Jared has decided to embark on a career as a brewer of everybody’s favorite malt-and-hops concoction.

“The plan is beer,” he said.

That begins with furthering his education at Dakota County Technical College this fall and getting certified as a Cicerone.

“From there, I’d like to work here for another year or so, and then maybe shoot for the UK and specialize in English porters.”

So how does a preacher’s kid from Sacramento get immersed in the world of Craft Beer in the first place?

“My ex-girlfriend’s parents were home brewers" he said. "They got me into it, and I just took to it. In fact, I kegged a British "Ordinary" Bitter just last night. It’s just a very light, session beer. You can’t really find an Ordinary Bitter around here anywhere, so I brewed one."

He loves working at Imminent, he says, because of the people he works for and with, and he really enjoys the people he serves, too. To Jared, it’s all about one thing: having a great experience.

“I’m a firm believer in doing what makes you happy,” he said. And he’s happy being a part of the craft beer community.

“My feeling is the craft beer community isn’t just about the beer. It’s also about the people. Brewing is a very personable experience, because you get to make something and then share it with other people.”

“I want to brew beer, but I also want to make memories.”

The Winter Blues tastes like blueberries

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We’ve done our best to embrace winter this year. We’ve thrown parties built around mythical winter creatures, we’ve invited snow shoers and cross country skiers to the brewery for a some post-adventuring beer and fellowship. We even named a beer in honor of that crazy guy in town who insists on riding his bicycle for days at a time through some of the toughest frozen terrain the North Woods has to offer.

We’ve played along, and really tried our best to make the most of what can be a tough time of the year. But, now it’s March and winter is still here, dumping half-a-foot of snow on us at least once a week. Six months from now we will be dealing with the “Dog Days of Summer,” so it would make sense that right now we would have the Winter Blues.

Funny thing is, the Winter Blues tastes great!

If you came in to the brewery last week, you know what I’m talking about. Last Thursday we tapped our first keg of Winter Blues Blueberry Wheat beer, and, of course, it’s a huge hit.

It’s just exactly what we need right now. We’ve had a lot of porters and stouts on tap lately, all of which have been very popular and very tasty, but we need a change of pace. Something a little lighter, something different, something fresh.  Our Question Mark Hill wheat beer, infused with about 200 pounds of blueberries, is just what the doctor ordered.

Yep, that’s right. Two. Hundred. Pounds.

“The thing about blueberries,” Brewmaster Randy Clay said, “is that, on their own, they have kind of a subtle taste. If you really want to get that real blueberry flavor, then you have to use a lot of blueberries. Which we did.”

The berries used were hand picked and organically grown at Little Hill Berry Farm, right here in Northfield, because keeping things as local as possible is important to us.  And they turned out to be perfect for this beer.  You really should get in here and try it. We poured an awful lot of it last weekend, but there is plenty more to be had.

Among the other reasons to come to the brewery this weekend are Potter’s Pasties (Thursday), the return of Crack of Dawn Bakery on Friday, Maria’s Taco Hut (Saturday), and the Twin Grill Food Truck on Sunday. Fred the Bear will play on Saturday, and the JC Sanford Trio will be in on Sunday. And on top of all that, it’s the second Sunday of the month this weekend, so we’ll be offering Yoga on Tap with Michelle Moad at 10:45 Sunday morning. $10 gets you an hour-long yoga session right in the brewery, and then a pour of your favorite Imminent beverage. Remember, you can’t retox until you detox!

Okay. Enough of the blogger trying to be funny. We’ll see you this weekend.

Quiz Night

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Hey everybody.

So, we’ve begun hosting Quiz Night every other Sunday, and it’s cool as hell.

No. Seriously.

This is not your average “bar trivia.” Why would it be? We’re in Northfield, after all. We’re home to two of the most highly regarded liberal arts colleges in the country, and I would guess that we’re on the upside of Smartest Towns in Minnesota. I think a three round competition with categories like “Movies from the 80’s,” “Cartoon Characters,” and “TV Themes,” would be a little bit beneath us.

This is actually a long-standing, if somewhat on-and-off quiz. Many of you will remember Jessica Peterson White conducting a quiz night in this exact format over the years at the Contented Cow, the (late, great) Rueb ‘N’ Stein and the Tavern Lounge. Somewhere in there, Arnab Chakladar picked up the mantle of quizmaster and has now brought it to Imminent Brewing. An Associate Professor of English as well as the Director of Asian Studies at Carleton College, Arnab is a very smart man.

Judging by the way he conducts the quiz, he clearly assumes that the participants of quiz night are too.

His categories have been things like current events, black history, the winter Olympics, literature of all kinds, and one he called “less famous members of groups.” There is also an audio round where he plays music, as there is in most pub trivia competitions. However, Arnab’s musical choices aren’t exactly the standard Top 40 fare.

To be sure, his questions are fair and not impossible. But I’ve seen more than one person throw down their pencils in frustration. This quiz requires strength of mind, strength of character, and a true desire to be challenged. So, don’t let me drive you away from this. This quiz is an absolute blast. If you get the right team together, you can really do well. Or you can simply laugh your butt off trying to come up with the answers.

It should also be noted that Imminent offers gift card prizes to the first and second place teams.

Participants are allowed to work in teams of as-many-as four people. The entry fee is $5 per team, payable to the quizmaster himself. It is also, of course, assumed that you’ll each purchase at least one beverage of some sort at the bar. We do, after all, offer an incredible array of beers brewed on-sight, as well as Loon Liquors’ Apple-Pear Spiced soda, cold pressed coffee from Groundwire Coffee Roasters and an assortment of Spring Grove soda as well (at last check we offered Black Cherry, Strawberry, Creamy Orange and Root Beer).

The Quiz starts at 6 p.m., and usually lasts just under two hours. You really should come check it out on Sunday.

Also, Quiz Night in Northfield has it's own Facebook page where Arnab will generally post the categories for the forthcoming quiz. Here's the URL:

Tessa Rogers and the Science of Beer

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Every person who works here at Imminent is pretty remarkable in their own right, but as the senior (i.e. old man) of the staff, I personally have marveled at the young people we have here. These kids (pardon the term, but they’re the same age as my daughters, so they will be kids to me for their entire lives) are incredible. They’re all just great people. They work damn hard, they’re engaging and easy to talk to, and each one is smart as hell.

Take Tessa Rogers, for example. She’s giving a talk on Friday – at Imminent – about the science behind the beer we make, and the chemistry that goes into creating all these different flavors.

Tessa is a senior at St. Olaf, and was probably the first person hired to be on our staff, but had to defer her employment over the summer while she was back home in Bellingham, Washington. I have often referred to her as a “warrior,” because I don’t know too many other people who would come to work a full shift at the brewery after separating her shoulder in a rugby match that afternoon. And not only is she tough as nails, she's also nothing short of brilliant.

She’ll tell you that when she started the school year she knew very little about beer. But as a chemistry major, she’s always had interest in the science behind brewing. And really, what college student doesn’t like beer? So she worked out a St. Olaf approved academic internship with Randy, Derek and Laura. As a result, she’s become a vital part of the process. Randy even refers to her as the Brewery Lab manager.

“She does a lot of microscope stuff,” he said. “She works with the yeast viability and the cell count of our beer.  She’s been super helpful.”

All this in just under six months.

So, what exactly is she going to talk about on Friday?

“I’m going to elaborate on what makes a beer a beer and how the brewing process allows us to manipulate the expressed aromas, flavors and color of a beer,” she said. She’s also going to “explain what I do as a scientist in the brew house to increase the sustainability and maintain quality standards of our product.”

Tessa plans to stick around Northfield this summer so she can keep working with us, but she has some bigger plans, too.

“I either want to own a brewery or cidery, or run a full fermentation quality lab (whether it is wine or beer chemistry),” she said. “I’d be all right owning a hop farm, too, hybridizing common varieties to achieve different flavors. “

The "kids" who work here are amazing. Come see Tessa’s talk on Friday and see if you’re not as impressed by her as we are.

The "Flavor Chemistry of Beer" talk, sponsored by the Society of Chemistry Students at St. Olaf College, begins at 4:00 on Friday. It is free and open to the public. SOCS students are invited to a pre-talk tour of the brewery at 3:30. All the details can be found here: