Historic and Homey: Durand Brewing Co. offers classic taps, relaxed setting
Walking into Durand Brewing Company feels a lot like walking into your neighbor’s garage. Except this joint has more than just Busch Light. When people inevitably seek it out, they have plenty of other options.
“We make beers that we’ve been drinking, and then we throw a little variation in it,” brewery manager Brent Biederman said, referencing the 16 taps that offer everything from the lighter Freckled Calf (their take on the ever-popular and drinkable Spotted Cow) to a much heavier Russian Imperial Stout. They have root beer as a non-alcoholic option, and they’ll be adding a raspberry soda soon as well.
They also have cribbage. And giant Jenga. And cornhole. They even have some bar snacks – think pretzels and popcorn, nothing fancy, but you’re welcome to bring in your own food as well. You can also bring your dog and kids.
The space, N6649 State Highway 25, is simple. It used to be a welding shop. A line of kegs separates the brewing equipment from a seating area filled with patio furniture and picnic tables.
A collection of flags hangs from the ceiling as an homage to the military service of the men who got the brewery off the ground (which means there’s just Army and Air Force for now, but Biederman is intent on adding Navy and Marine flags in the near future).
Owner Roger Hillestad opened Durand Brewing Co. on Dec. 13, but its history goes back more than a century.
Like many communities in the late 1800s, the small Pepin County city of Durand had its own brewery. What started as Harstoff & E. Stending Brewery in 1863 morphed into Philip Lorenz Brewery just six years later. After a fire destroyed the building in 1882, the business was resurrected in 1890 as Baur & Mertes Brewery, which quickly became Baur & Breunig Brewing Co. after an ownership change in 1891. Basically, there’s a lot of history here.
The brewery, which eventually was renamed the much simpler Durand Brewing Company, operated in some capacity until the 1930s. The transition to ice and soda sales during Prohibition just couldn’t keep the company afloat.
The modern-day Durand Brewing Company is in a different location – the old one was on Prospect Street across from St. Mary’s in Durand – and the Baur and Breunig families are no longer involved.
But the original logo, with minor revisions, remains as a nod to the past. The B&B of Baur & Breunig has simply been replaced with an H&R, for Hillestad and collaborator Kyle Richardson.
“We contacted the family members and they gave us their blessing,” Biederman said.
The brewery is full of history. Its flagship Courthouse Kolsch is named after the historic old courthouse in Durand, which just so happens to be the last remaining wood-framed courthouse in the state. But Biederman also has a lot of plans for the future. Expect more beers with a twist, food trucks, summer concerts, possible distribution, and lots of cribbage.
Durand Brewing Company (N6649 State Highway 25, Durand) is open 2-10pm Wednesday-Thursday and 11am-10pm Friday-Sunday. Find them online at “Durand Brewing Company” on Facebook.