Grand Rounds Brewpub has a new beer on tap. Officially released Monday, the 100 Grand Saison isn’t just any new brew, it’s their 100th batch of beer and it’s exactly what you’d expect from such a milestone: a French/Belgian style pale ale with some subtle spicy notes. Since hitting the Rochester scene in March 2015, their 100th batch equates to roughly 176,000 pints or 22,000 gallons (!) of beer brewed in-house and served by the brewpub.
Since batch one, their focus has revolved around community and quality and they continue to uphold that commitment. Their name, a homage to the medical tradition that is so entwined in Rochester’s history of grand rounds where medical professionals meet on a regular basis to discuss cases, and their logo comprised of half hop, half brain, a visual representation of their aim to provide a space “where great minds and great beer collide”, is just the beginning. They don’t just provide a community friendly meeting place, they are making strides within both the local and beer communities.
From start to finish, they bring a local aspect to brewing. They’re passionate about quality ingredients and don’t skip corners. To start, they brew with as many local ingredients as possible, like honey from The Bee Shed for their Kolsch. To finish, a local farm also reaps the benefits of brew days as the spent grain gets used as cattle feed. Grand Rounds is also starting to dabble with infusions. Done on a small batch scale, expect frequent infusions throughout the summer. Most recently, their Cold Press Coffee Porter is infused with coffee from Rochester favorite, and next door neighbor to Grand Rounds, Cafe Steam. This just so happens to be my new favorite with a freshly ground coffee flavor coming through up front and finishing with the dark bite of the sweet porter. It’s truly a breakfast beer and deliciously well rounded.
Within the brewing and beer community, making connections with other Minnesotan breweries is extremely important to head brewer, Steve Finnie and assistant brewer, Adam Fredericksen. The brewpub represents Minnesota and Rochester in many acclaimed brew festivals across the Midwest and celebrations such as the recent American Craft Beer Week. In house, the brewpub proudly features at least two guest taps of Minnesotan brews and ciders that aren’t readily available elsewhere in the area. Home brewing is also a passion for the two and members of the American Homebrewers Association receive a 10% discount (just bring you AHA card) on every purchase.
Also unique to Grand Rounds are the stories behind their beers on tap. Each beer has at minimum, a great story behind the name. Take for example the 1866 Commerce Wheat. Brewed in collaboration with the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, the brew not only celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Chamber that once was housed in the historic building Grand Rounds now calls home, but also pays tribute to the original members of the Chamber of Commerce who were wheat farmers. The 1866 is a light, wheat beer with hints of banana and will be available all summer.
Or, how about the Biggest Small Beer Ever Made Robust Porter: along with more than 100 other small, craft breweries across the country as part of the aforementioned American Craft Beer Week, Grand Rounds joined the movement and added this to their menu in honor of a passionate homebrewer from Colorado that was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. His recipe was what was used in all craft breweries across the country.
Their name game isn’t all serious though with their Freedom Scotch Ale being named after Braveheart. I dare you not to envision Mel Gibson yelling “FREEDDOOM” in his Scottish accent as you sip on this ale.
In addition to their superior brewing, they boast a convenient location with great decor (think subway tile, vintage light fixtures, and a navy and copper color scheme) and a contemporary menu. Located on the corner of Broadway and 3rd Street, Grand Rounds Brewpub is seeped in Rochester history with origins as the Union National Bank built in 1866. Many historic and structural elements remain in tact and the building has been the center of local economy for 150 years. Take a brewery tour (the first Saturday of every month and FREE with the donation of at least three canned good for Channel One) to get a first hand look at how the transformed the space into a modern brew house. The tour is also a great chance to meet the brewers, hear their stories, and learn how their beer comes to life.
Sure to have plenty of events this summer (you’ll also see them at Thursdays on First and Friday Concerts at the Civic), outdoor seating that’s puppy friendly, and great happy hour specials, it’s always a good time to experience the place that encourages meetings and conversation over a beverage. And don’t forget to try the 100 Grand Saison; rumor has it for a limited time, they’ve infused a small, limited batch with tart cherries. Get it before it’s gone; cheers!