Don Samuels and the magic of beer-making

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Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels got a few chuckles around here with his recent ode to the microbrewery — a place of decorum, he said, as opposed to a place “to pick up chicks.”

Samuels offered his remarks at Friday’s council meeting explaining why he was supporting a new measure that would allow breweries more flexibility in where they can set up shop in the city. Current restrictions don’t allow so-called “alcohol establishments” to locate near a church.

Samuels opposed the change until a visit to the new Fulton Brewery made him a believer.

The “pick up chicks” line was just one highlight of Samuels’ five-minute paean to beer-making. Samuels, whose way with words has at times landed him in trouble, also compared the brewery to a chemistry lab. And a farm where one could experience the magical awe of seeing cows produce milk.

Samuels said brewing beer is “part alchemy, part art, part science.” Here’s a transcript of his remarks:

The interior of a brewery — microbrewery — is a place that requires a certain amount of decorum and order, and there’s an expectation of some kind of deferential behavior. And so, as Council Member Schiff said, the sales will take place inside, because that’s where the magic of the visual of the brewery is.

It’s like being inside of a chemistry lab. To see all these tanks and tubes and processors operating, that is part of it.

It’s like going to a farm and watching the milking taking place and having this sense of awe about it. That’s what it’s really about. It’s like a museum.

It’s an entirely different feel from a bar. You don’t go there to pick up chicks kind of thing. That’s not what it is. It’s not going to have that kind of crowd, full of testosterone and revelry.

And I think the church can take comfort in that. When people leave, they’ll be in good behavior, and they will have just left an experience of awe. And it’s a different crowd altogether. There’s not going to be the closing-time drama from two o’clock downtown. I think it’s consistent with a neighborhood, and neighborhood activity.

And just think, when people leave, if they’re still feeling some need, they can go to church. (Laughter from fellow council members.)

That might be a little funny, but I do believe there is a need for us to begin to see our society as integrated, and all the parts compatible. I just love the fact that we have a garbage burner next to the Twins Stadium. I love that! Because it’s our garbage, and our Twins.

The entire audio is here:

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Has anyone else had such a life-changing experience at a craft brewery? Is beer the future of Minneapolis, as Mayor R.T. Rybak recently proclaimed?

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