Offers beer, pizza and — when the time is right — a large taproom
Bricksworth Beer Co. in Burnsville opened for curbside and carryout sales the first weekend of October.
At nearly 14,000 square feet, the high-ceilinged space in a business park near the Burnsville Transit Station includes a kitchen, a 10-barrel brewhouse and 6,000 square feet of taproom with socially spaced tables sitting empty.
Absent a pandemic, the taproom could hold nearly 400.
“I look forward to when the first beers get spilled here,” said proprietor Cooper Johnson, a member of the family that owns BlackStack Brewing, a similarly sized gathering spot in St. Paul’s Midway area. “We have a saying up at BlackStack — whenever somebody spills beer, we take it as a good sign, because it means people are having fun. I can’t wait to mop up some spilled beer.”
Johnson was building out the space in the Nicollet Business Center on Nicollet Avenue when the pandemic hit this spring. BlackStack, which he and his parents and brother opened in 2017, only recently reopened to guests at 20 percent capacity, said Johnson, 27.
As he transitions away from directing operations at BlackStack to concentrating — with help from his family — on his own venture, Johnson is cautious about opening to indoor guests, even under the state’s COVID-19 capacity restrictions.
“Sad, because we have this great space that we’re really proud of, and it’s big, but I think it’s really important to us that everybody who is on the team feels taken care of and safe,” said Johnson, who has five employees. “So we’re going to play it by ear and just keep doing the curbside and carryout for the time being.”
Bricksworth is serving from 4-8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and has added 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. “We hope people come get some pizza and beer before football games,” Johnson said.
Those are the specialties at Bricksworth, which also offers wings.
Beer runs in Johnson’s family. His father, Scott, was a distributor during the late-’90s dawn of the craft beer renaissance, and his mother, Shawne, is a former head of marketing for the Granite City Brewery chain. Cooper Johnson said his expertise from years of working in restaurants is the hospitality aspect.
His vision for Bricksworth “could not be more antithetical to the way the world exists now,” Johnson said. “And we’re hoping for a speedy return to normal, whenever that time comes. Because this is really a testament to what gathering spaces used to be before COVID and what they could be.”
Johnson is pumped about the product, no matter how customers receive it.
His brewer is Steve Snyder, formerly of Fair State Brewing Cooperative in northeast Minneapolis.
“I knew of him long before we started this project and I was really, really hopeful to get him,” Johnson said. “But I thought it was unlikely, just being a new place, and him being as established as he is. We’re really, really lucky that he believes in the vision.”
Johnson said the brewhouse is producing seven beers: two India Pale Ales, a coconut stout, a blonde and three sours.
“It’s well above the average brewpub brewhouse size, but it’s relatively undersized for our space,” Johnson said. “We will have a full bar to supplement, and we’re going to bring in a lot of our favorite beers from our other local brewery friends (including BlackStack).”
Bricksworth and BlackStack jointly developed an American lager “pizza beer” called Side of Ranch.
“It’s actually now the top-rated American lager in the world on Untappd,” Johnson said. “That is the ranker of record for the beer world.”
Bricksworth pizza is the work of its chef, Angelo Pennacchi, who has fashioned a Detroit-style pie with other influences, Johnson said. Pennacchi’s blended-cheese selections — mozzarella and provolone — are a detour from the Wisconsin brick cheese that initially was an inspiration for the Bricksworth name.
“It’s true to a Detroit style, but in a lot of ways it’s an amalgamation of multiple styles,” Johnson said. “It uses the pan and has the edges of Detroit style, and the thickness, but the sauce and the way the sauce is presented is very Chicago style. And the cheese and the finish in the cheese, the bubbly brown, is akin to tavern style, like Wisconsin. We think that we’ve come up with something unique and really pretty exceptional, and that’s all due to Angelo. He’s an Italian guy from Chicago, and he does not take pizza lightly.”