Jenkins, Minnesota, might be a small town of just over 400 people, but its proximity to the Whitefish Chain of Lakes brings in plenty of campers, cabin-goers, and anglers every year. That made it the perfect location for Snarky Loon Brewing Company to set up shop.
Founders Joe and Melissa Klatt were sitting at their kitchen table about a year ago when the idea of starting a brewery came into the conversation. Right before the pandemic hit in March of 2020, Snarky Loon Brewing Company went from a pipedream to reality for the married couple.
The Klatt’s personal experiences will shape the identity of the brewery each in their own way.
“I managed a brewery for about a year,” explains Melissa Klatt. “I didn’t even drink beer before that job, but I fell in love with the atmosphere, the people, and the craft. I knew I wanted to stay in the industry.”
For Joe, opening a small, local watering hole is an opportunity to pay homage to his 21 years in the Army and Coast Guard.
“I want the brewery to be a welcoming and safe space for military, veterans, law enforcement, fire, and first responders,” Joe adds. “We’ll have a discount on both beer and merchandise for those folks.”
Jenkins is surrounded by popular tourist destinations such as Whitefish Chain of Lakes, Gull Lake, Nisswa, and more. The couple hopes that Snarky Loon Brewing Company will be a flourishing traveler’s destination, as well as a space where the locals feel at home.
“The brewery should complement the area, not take away from other businesses” explains Melissa. “Jenkins is a small, tightly-knit community and we just want to help our town thrive.”
Melissa and Joe have encouraged their two brewers, Josh Estensen (head brewer) and Will Denny (assistant brewer), to be creative and experimental with their beer recipes. Snarky Loon’s nano-brewing system will allow them to test out recipes, one barrel of beer at a time.
“We’re hoping the small system will allow our brewers to come up with some really unique and delicious recipes without the pressure of brewing a lot of one specific beer with every batch,” Melissa mentions.
With the opening day planned for March 11, 2021, Estensen and Denny have been brewing tirelessly to finalize the 9-beer tap list. Snarky Loon’s flagships consist of a Kölsch, a red IPA, a porter, and an imperial pale ale. In addition to their flagships, they will also have a sour, an Irish amber, a hefeweizen, and a double black IPA on tap. After the opening, new beers will be released regularly.
Snarky Loon occupies a 900-square-foot taproom and a 1,000-square-foot German-style beer hall, plus has ample outdoor patio space. The taproom portion of the building has 8-foot ceilings, a fireplace, and wood accents giving it a cozy, cabin feel.
“The beer hall is where we’ll eventually have bands, cornhole tournaments, games, and TVs” describes Joe. “It will be a great place for people to come hang out and just have a good time once COVID allows for it.”
In order to make opening day possible during COVID-19, Snarky Loon Brewing Company will have growlers available to go, tables that are 6 feet apart with a 6-person limit at each, and will be following all current regulations.
“Whether you’re looking to swing by for a growler to take home or you want to enjoy some beer in our taproom,” says Melissa. “We are so excited to share our love of craft beer with you!”
Brewers: Josh Estensen (head brewer) and Will Denny (assistant brewer)
Beer: Snarky Loon Kolsch, Bobber Red IPA, WaveRider Imperial Pale Ale, Dirty Loon Porter, plus a sour, an Irish amber, a hefeweizen, and a double black IPA
Address: 33488 State Highway 371, Jenkins, MN 56472
Hours: Tue–Thu: 2–8 pm; Fri & Sat: 12–10 pm; Sun: 12–8 pm