At Pitchfork Brewing our mission is simple-we bring you beers that are crafted using classic brewing styles without applying filtration methods or clarifying agents. We support our local partners by using their finest ingredients all while practicing environmentally friendly processes.
Our Philosophy: Here's what we're thinking...
First and foremost, we brew true to style.
Mike is a certified beer judge so that makes him kind of a stickler for staying true to style guidelines. On brewing days you can bet he’s using ingredients from the country that originated that style of beer. It’s all about being authentic – that’s Mike’s true passion.
Second, we like whole cone hops.
We only use whole cone hops for all of our brewing. Why whole cone hops? They tend to lend a softer profile to the hop character and are less processed than pelletized hops, which are used by most breweries. Hop pellets tend to end up with more leaf and stem material in the pellets along with a binding agent that results in a little harsher finish.
Third, let’s be clear, no finings!
We produce beers with no finings, also known as clarifying agents. Instead, we use cold conditioning to naturally clarify our beer. We also don’t filter our beer because filtering strips beer of flavor, body, and nutrients and that’s just wrong.
Fourth, we shop locally.
For the US beers we purchase primarily from hop farmers located in Stillwater; Roberts; St. Croix Falls and Ellsworth. While our German and English hops are imported, we still buy them in whole cone form. Mike the brewer grows hops in his back yard for our annual wet hop brew, along with pumpkins for our annual pumpkin beer, as well as spices and peppers for a variety of our beers. The maple syrup and honey we use comes from suppliers right here in Wisconsin.
Finally, we brew Green.
Being environmentally responsible is very important to us. That ideal is strongest in our brewing process where we are committed to reducing, reusing, and recycling. Like most breweries, our spent grain goes to a local farmer for feed. Used hops are composted in Mike’s garden. Waste beer, wort or yeast isn’t dumped down the drain; it’s pumped and land spread on local farmers’ fields for fertilizer. Water used to chill the beer during the brewing process is recycled whereby saving about 1200 gallons of water per batch of beer we produce. The only waste product from our brewing process is the water we use to clean the equipment after brewing.
The bottom line: At Pitchfork our passion is to craft authentic beers in the classic brewing style while working hard to take care of our community and our planet.
Owner and Head Brewer Mike Fredricksen became interested in craft beer at the age of 19 when St. Paul, MN based Summit Brewing Company hit the market with their EPA and Great Northern Porter in 1986. His first experience in home brewing came shortly thereafter when a friend, Kris Olson, started to brew and show him the ropes. He purchased his first set of brewing equipment when he turned 21 and immediately displayed a passion for the craft. With the arrival of the brewing supply store Northern Brewer in 1993, Mike further honed his beer-making skills and became a frequent visitor to the shop. On a particularly busy day that Mike had stopped by, and with just one employee on the floor, he jumped in and lent a hand helping customers. He was offered a job on the spot and worked for Northern Brewer just short of 6 years, eventually teaching their brewing classes and becoming a recognized BJCP judge in 1997. He moved back to his hometown of Hudson, WI in 2003 where he built a 20 gallon custom brewery in the third stall of his garage, complete with a 24 plant hop yard. But being away from the shop, Mike found he missed talking to people about beer and began attending a local beer club at Paddy Ryan's Irish Pub (then run by current Pitchfork Brewing co-owner Mike Fassino). As he started meeting other homebrewers in the area he was inspired by the community, and founded the Sconnie Suds homebrew club in November of 2010.
As the popularity of home brewing began to rise, a sudden call to action was put out by the American Homebrewers Association to all presidents of Wisconsin homebrew clubs explaining that the state’s Department of Revenue was beginning to enforce a pre-prohibition law. The law loosely stated that it was illegal to take homebrew off the property of where it had been made. Mike quickly got involved with the Wisconsin Homebrewing Alliance who collectively rewrote the legislation (Senate Bill 395), secured the support of local representatives Shelia Harsdorf and Dean Knutson and testified in front of a senate committee to change this outdated regulation. On April 2, 2013, the legislation was signed in by the governor. Mike received an ample amount of press over these efforts and was approached by investors about starting Pitchfork Brewing Company. With 350 homebrewed recipes archived, he was eager to share his beers with the public. Pitchfork’s tap room opened in August of 2013 and with this new endeavor, Mike has been bringing his love and knowledge of brewing to a new generation of beer enthusiasts from all over Western Wisconsin.
In the wake of the explosion of the craft beer industry, breweries all over the country are not only showcasing the talents of brewers who have turned their passion for great beer into successful outlets for their craft, they are also showing us that there is an equal number of assistant brewers who are playing vital roles in this run-away industry. At Pitchfork, we are lucky enough to have two such decidedly creative people. Jeff Milleson started at Pitchfork Brewing in 2013 volunteering his time alongside Mike as a brewer’s apprentice. His ultimate goal was to learn all he could about the brewing process in preparation of opening his own craft beer bottle shop. As it turned out, Jeff’s plans changed, leading him to focus his attention to the craft of brewing beer. In 2015, Jeff was promoted to Assistant Brewer, a move that solidified Pitchfork Brewing’s powerhouse beer brewing team. Jeff fancies German Lagers, Belgian beers and anything barrel aged.