Student group brews public policy, beer

A student group best discusses law over their homemade booze.

by Raya Zimmerman

Last September, students of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs formed a student group to bridge their interests of law, public policy, urban planning and, last but not least, beer.
âÄúWe thought there was a good marriage between policy and beer,âÄù said Matthew Hauck, the co-chairman of the West Bank Brewing Association student group. âÄúWeâÄôre people who are passionate about public policy and public affairs and like to go to happy hours over a beer to discuss those things.âÄù
The group started with a handful of members to re-create and invent brewing recipes and teach others how to make beer in HauckâÄôs backyard.
âÄúIt involves a little art, a little skill, a little creativity, a little science and a little bit of chemistry and math to have correct balances and flavors,âÄù group co-chairwoman Kelly Asche said.
The group also donates their beer to Eat for Equity, a nonprofit that hosts suppers with donated food and drinks to raise funds for local charities.
Besides making beer, the West Bank Brewing Association also focuses on discussing alcohol-related laws and regulations.
This Wednesday, the group is hosting a panel discussion with speakers from some of the Twin CitiesâÄô most renowned breweries, including Surly Brewing Co.âÄôs President Omar Ansari, Town Hall BreweryâÄôs owner Pete Rifakes and Northern Brewer Homebrew SupplyâÄôs Marketing Manager Jake Keeler.
The discussion follows the recent legislation passed by a state Senate panel Wednesday that would allow Minnesota breweries to sell beer directly to customers at their establishments.
Under Minnesota law, there is an annual 3,500 barrel limit for brewpubs. If a brewpub exceeds that limit, it needs a distributor.
The bill has been dubbed the âÄúSurly billâÄù after Surly Brewing Co., located in Brooklyn Center, announced plans to build a $20-million brewery, restaurant and entertainment center, which violates the long-standing Minnesota law that separates breweries from distributors and retailers.
Asche said the speakers will discuss the roadblocks they have encountered in the billâÄôs process, as well as some of the âÄúarchaicâÄù rules and regulations that govern alcohol-related issues.
The panel discussion will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. in Mondale Hall, Room 55.