Resting behind the newly built portion of Fridley’s Northern Stacks development is a piece of the city’s history: a building topped with two nearly century-old smokestacks, one with six white stars painted down its side.
The building is all that’s left of The Northern Pump Company, a 1.5-million-square-foot production facility built for World War II.
Underneath those stacks lies what will soon be Fridley’s first brewery, Forgotten Star Brewing, 38 Northern Stacks Drive.
Opening late this fall, Forgotten Star is aiming to be “Fridley’s spot,” according to owner Andy Risvold. He envisions using the outdoor space for markets, movies, games and food trucks to bring the community together.
“The people of Fridley are very proud to be from Fridley, and we want them to be proud to come in here,” Risvold said.
Forgotten Star’s head brewer is Matt Asay, who’s previously worked for The Freehouse and The Herkimer breweries in Minneapolis.
Asay prefers brewing traditional styles of beer, but he’s open to more adventurous takes.
“I would like to celebrate the tradition,” Asay said. “But you also have to brew for what people want, what’s most popular. ... I know people really like these peanut butter and jelly porters, or whatever is like that. That’s not something that I’m personally excited about, but I know there’s a group out there that wants something like that.”
Asay has about a decade’s worth of experience brewing beer. He’s earned several awards for the beer he’s made, including multiple honors The Freehouse won while he was head brewer.
One of the points of Forgotten Star, like most breweries and bars, is to bring people together, Asay said.
“We really want to try and be welcoming to everybody,” he said.
Forgotten Star’s location just off I-694 and I-94 is only 10 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and right off major roadways for people commuting from neighboring suburbs. But being outside Minneapolis allows for ample parking space, Risvold said.
At night the downtown skyline is lit up and easily viewed from Forgotten Star. The brewery’s smokestacks light up as well, giving the nighttime crowd a cozy, yet glamorous, view.
Asay wants to focus on attention to detail and streamlining the taproom experience at Forgotten Star.
Once it builds a reputation, it will start distributing its products, which Asay referred to as “phase two” of the plan.
“We’re willing to sacrifice brewing a huge amount of volume to make sure what we brew is award-winning,” Risvold said.
Risvold wants the taproom to be a learning opportunity for anyone who visits, he said, whether they’re a beer connoisseur or novice. Forgotten Star wants to ensure their staff is knowledgeable about each of the brews so customers know about what they’re drinking, whether it’s an experimental beer or something more traditional.
“If one of those wild and crazy beers is somebody’s introduction into what true craft beer is, that’s an awesome opportunity for us to have.” Risvold said.
The headline has been edited for clarity.