All-women brew crew looks to locate on the East Side


Kathleen Culhane, longtime hobby brewer and East Sider, is hoping to start a new East Side taproom called Sidhe Brewing Company. The taproom will be all women-owned and operated. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Head brewer Kathleen Culhane is doing practice batches of her beers in her basement, and also trying out a new India Pale Ale recipe at the request of friends. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Four East Side gay women are looking to add some business diversity to the East Side.

Though there’s not exactly a shortage of small taprooms opening up in the Twin Cities, there’s only one to speak of on the East Side, Flat Earth Brewing, and it just opened.

But the women who are starting Sidhe Brewing Company are hoping to change that, by putting in what will likely be the smallest taproom in the Twin Cities right on East Seventh Street, across from the developing St. Paul Port Authority’s Beacon Bluff parcels at 1000 E. Seventh St.

“It will be smaller by a factor of five,” says head brewer Kathleen Culhane proudly.

Culhane, an East Sider, is working seven days a week to get the operation going.
“This has been all-consuming,” she says. “It’s not going to fail due to lack of effort!”

Culhane’s been a hobby beer brewer since the mid-1990s, and has honed a set of four beers that will be the brewery’s mainstays. There’s a dry Irish stout, a cream ale, an American nut-brown ale, and a Belgian golden strong ale.

Culhane’s longtime brewing hobby came to the fore a couple years ago. “I kind of came to the realization that there are an awful lot of breweries opening,” she says.

Last summer, after a contract job at 3M ended, she found herself going full steam after her dream of making a living at craft beer.

Her basement is a well-organized beer-brewing chamber, where she tries out new brews and makes sample batches of beer to share among friends.

With a background in chemistry, she’s got quite an elaborate setup, including a computerized control panel she built herself that will control the brewing operations.

Culhane proudly touts the brewery’s all-women lineup, comprised of herself, her partner, and two close friends.
“It’s time for some diversity,” she says.

Though they won’t be the first female-run brewery in the state, they look to be one of the first.

Throw into the mix that the group is openly gay and Pagan, and you’ve got a unique addition to the neighborhood’s business community.

Culhane is quick to note the group is hoping the brewery will provide a warm welcome to all types.
“Our goal is to provide an East Side destination,” Culhane says. “The East Side needs more stuff to do.”

Along those lines, Erica Rogers, the group’s information technology specialist, says they’ll hopefully have space available for community meetings, movie nights, trivia nights, and other neighborhood-friendly activities.
It will be “more than just a bar,” she says. In fact, to start with, the group is planning to only be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Permits for opening a taproom are filed at the federal, state, and city levels, and Culhane says she hopes to open the place by the end of the summer, although a lot remains to be seen. The vacant auto parts store they’ll be moving into, however, needs a substantial makeover before they’re able to set up shop, and could delay the opening.
She says, the city’s been very helpful with the process, and so far “no one has said anything but ‘when do you open?’”

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.

 

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