Take a trip on the beer highway

A new brewery in Spring Valley adds to a growing beer culture in Southeast Minnesota.

Beer Highway
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SPRING VALLEY — Another brewery is springing up in Southeast Minnesota. Wisconsin-based Hop & Barrel Brewing is opening a new location in Spring Valley on Saturday.

It’s the latest addition to a piece of Minnesota that’s becoming a destination for touring beer lovers.

“It’s so much more conducive to beer tourism here than in our area of Wisconsin,” said Justin Terbeest, co-founder of Hop & Barrel and Spring Valley native.

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Th e brewery opens in the renovated first floor of a historic building at 141 N. Broadway Ave. in Spring Valley. Dani Terbeest, Justin's sister, will run the Spring Valley location.


The two-barrel brew system is the old brewing system Hop & Barrel used at its first location in Wisconsin.

Having that system ready to be installed sped up the project. People ordering brewing equipment now are waiting months to get it because of supply chain issues, said co-owner Brian Priefer.

Hop & Barrel is the first Wisconsin brewery to expand its business west across the Mississippi River, according to the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. Minnesota breweries, however, have expanded east into Wisconsin including, most recently Liftbridge Brewery which opened an operation in Hudson, Wis.

The number of craft breweries between the Twin Cities and international beer tourism destination of Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. in Decorah, Iowa is growing. (Pulpit Rock Brewing Co., also in Decorah, has cultivated its share of beer pilgrims as well.)

Other area brewery owners say they don’t see the new operation as more competition, but more destination spots to discover.

“They seem to play well together and they want everyone to succeed,” Jason Pahl, head brewer, said of the region’s breweries.


Pahl came to Hop & Barrel from another brewery along the highway. He was a brewer at South x SouthEast in Pine Island.

“We’re here to see this town succeed,” Terbeest added.

New owners of Trout City Brewing in Preston say they found the same thing since taking over the business.

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“It’s all a big community,” said Vickie Hildestad who took over the business with her husband Craig when they moved to the area from Florida.

Trout City new owners 02.JPG
Craig Hildestad pours a pint of beer while his wife, Vickie Hildestad, looks on at Trout City Brewing in Preston Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. The couple took over ownership and operation of the brewery this fall. John Molseed / Post Bulletin

Craig is from the area and thought taking over the brewery would be a good semi-retirement job. He said he’s noticed the number of people on the go for a good pint since taking over the business.


“It’s very common for us to meet people either heading north or going south,” he said.

Vickie said she enjoys the tree-covered bluffs the beer highway winds through.

“It’s a beautiful area and people love to ride through here,” she said. “I don’t think that will change.”

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Hop and Barrel is pictured Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Spring Valley. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
Traci Westcott

Dawn Finnie, Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild board president and co-owner of Little Thistle, said the brewery adds density to an already thriving region for craft beer.

She said breweries can have a big impact on a small town, and added that having so many close together will likely encourage more beer tourism. She already sees that in the taproom at Little Thistle, she said. When Toppling Goliath has a major release, she usually prepares the taproom staff to be prepared for extra visitors. Not just for volume, but for the questions staff might receive.

“The craft beer community is knowledgeable,” she said. “The people traveling for the release are going to be asking detailed questions about our beer.”

Justin Terbeest said he hopes the Spring Valley brewery will provide a boost to the local economy. He credited building owner Alex Slifka for helping Hop & Barrel find and remodel a good spot for its operation.

“I think we’re going to see some good things come here in the next year,” Terbeest said.

John Molseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he's surprised he gets paid to cover. When he's not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he's either picking banjo, brewing beer, biking or looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter "b." Readers can reach John at 507-285-7713 or
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