During her quest to visit every craft brewery in Minnesota, Katelyn Regenscheid turned to camping as a way to cut hotel costs during long travels. She recalls pulling into a state park outside Cuyuna one night, and setting a tent up in the middle of an open field.
Regenscheid remembers that night very well.
“There was an enormous thunderstorm,” she says. “Our tent was shaking, lightning all night. I maybe slept three hours. I saw a woman in the bathroom the next morning, and she said ‘I was going to ask you if you wanted to sleep in the RV with us.’ We were the only tent out there.”
Her boyfriend, Evan Davis, was with her that night. His recollection of the ordeal is … not quite as vivid.
“I think I had some whiskey beforehand, so I slept through the whole thing,” he says. “I didn’t even hear there was a storm until the next day.”
Regenscheid’s blog, Beer and Life, documented her journey from start to finish. The word “finish” can be read exactly as it’s defined: she has visited all 143 active breweries in Minnesota over a span of roughly two years, collecting life tips along the way.
The original plan was to finish around February 1 of this year, says Regenscheid, a 24-year-old Anoka native – but she apparently had enough cramming power left over from college to finish before Christmas. The holiday season saw her dash out for quick stops in Jordan, Pine City, Waseca, Mound, and Grand Rapids. She was in the northwestern corner of the state one weekend, then went to the southeastern corner of the state six days later.
The journey ended December 17, at Hoops Brewing in Duluth.
“I was planning out the maps and looking at weekends that I could go, [and] most of my last ones were going to be big road trips,” she says. “I realized I could potentially squeeze it in before Christmas, which would be a nice thing to do, finish 2017 with a nice closure.”
Her northwestern trip involved stops in Hallock, Fargo-Moorhead, Crosslake, and Little Falls. That’s over 800 miles, according to Google Maps, and was her longest trip for the blog. But not by far: a summer trip involved stops in Bemidji, Walker, Rainer, Ely, and Moose Lake. That trip was “only” 763 miles, but took five days and drew a circle around roughly a quarter of the state’s total area.
“When I started, it was pretty easy to knock out my first few dozen posts in the metro area,” she says. “but it required lots of juggling and strategic scheduling to hit other breweries. Not every brewery is open daily, and many have pretty limited hours. Finding a way to hit the far-away breweries without making too many six-hour drives was tough, but I filled up a notebook with potential schedules and made it work.”
RELATED: In the video below, Katelyn sings a Taylor Swift song with a mouth full of cheeseburger. We’re using “related” very loosely here.
The first video from last week's Mouth Full Karaoke is up! Here's Katelyn Regenscheid beefing up with a double-cheese from Pappy's Chicago Style Eatery and jamming out to Taylor Swift. You can hear the whole episode at http://minnesotaskinny.com/2017/02/10/podcast-episode-22-beef-love-beer-life-craftapped/
Posted by The Minnesota Skinny on Monday, February 13, 2017
The start of the project came not long after Regenscheid graduated with her English and Psychology degrees from St. Olaf in 2015. The real world closed in quickly – or at least it tried.
“I realized that the world is a depressing capitalist place where you sell your soul to your job, and there’s nothing else you really have to do,” she says. “You can go home and you can just stay there. I needed a personal project to make me feel like a part of the grown-up world.”
The idea for Beer and Life spawned from a previous job she held as a social media manager, and the number of people she met working with brewery representatives. She says she wanted to learn how people cultivated that lifestyle. She says it all took shape one Wednesday night after work. She bought the domain, bought a website theme, and informed Davis he’d be sober-driving significantly more often.
“Kind of like a three-year-old with no impulse control,” she says, “once I had this idea, I ran with it.”
She recalls apprehensively approaching a bartender at LynLake Brewery on the first night, and saying something about this blog she was kind of doing but hadn’t really done yet. The bartender was perfectly friendly about it, she says, and adds that she had been met with very little resistance since.
At 612Brew, she was told “Never take sleeping pills and laxatives at the same time;” at Mankato Brewery, she was given the origin story of Mad Butcher IPA’s name. She spoke with Schell’s head brewer Jace Marti, and Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes. She met the head brewer of Union Pizza and Brewery, and the mayor of Fergus Falls, but they’re the same person. She was on hand for Borealis Fermentery’s final tour before owner/head brewery Ken Thiemann sold the business and skipped town.
It would seem a curious time to step away from the craft beer community, and Regenscheid has no plans to do so. For one, she took a job as the marketing manager for Minneapolis-based Inbound BrewCo. She’ll keep visiting new breweries as they open, and she’s hoping to parlay the work she’s done with the blog into publication of a book someday. For some reason, she’d like to camp some more.
When asked to take all the advice she received and put it into one piece of advice, she offered “Seek your own happiness.”
“It’s definitely about a journey, finding something you love to do, and respecting others’ happiness,” she says. “The world can be great if you want it to be, and let other people find that for themselves.”