F-Town Brewing is less than a year old, but they’re rooted in southern Minnesota since birth.
Owners Chris Voegele and Noah Strouth are lifelong residents of Faribault and co-owner Travis Temke has lived in town for eight years. Together, the longtime friends aren’t just business partners, but each brings a different skill set to the company as well.
Their varied talents and love of beer brought F-Town to Faribault’s historic downtown, but it’s their ambition and process that sets them apart. The brewery is focused on production and, while they have a taproom and several one-off beers in-house, they knew from the start that they wanted to grow. They’ve canned Ipalicious IPA and Nutso Brown Ale from the get go, and soon will be adding a red ale to the mix.
Those beers, plus their kegged seasonals like this winter’s Coconut Porter, are also available in select Rochester locations. F-Town has beers at all Apollo Liquor and Andy’s Liquor locations, plus Northwest, Hy-Vee and Woody’s.
F-Town also has its IPA available on tap at the Thirsty Belgian starting this week.
Although F-Town describes its focus as being a production brewery, the taproom is its heart. It typically serves eight beers, with just three or four of those hitting outside of their four walls. Located in the Peterson Art Furniture Complex, erected in the 1860s, “it looks like a brewery,” Temke says.
After previous use as a plastics factory, a shoe factory, a storage facility, and its namesake furniture company, it’s now serving locally made beer and drawing local customers and day-trip tourists from nearby Rochester, Owatonna, and the Twin Cities. While F-Town doesn’t have a kitchen, food trucks sometimes park outside and there are six restaurants within walking distance. Plus, Temke adds, the brewery occasionally hosts potlucks.
That connection to community is important at F-Town, whose name is reflective of its community without bearing it literally. They work closely with Faribault Woolen Mill and have had conversations with the Fleckenstein family, who ran the city’s most historic brewery (1856-1964), about ways to revive the brand. In the present, though, they’re establishing their own identity, one that’s craft without the crazy.
“We want to make ales that are easy drinking, approachable, and enjoyed by the masses and people who enjoy craft beer,” Temke said. “We’re not in it to be the newest or most different or most unique.
“As long as you have that pride in what you’re doing, it will speak for itself,” Temke said. That doesn’t rule out cask infusions, sour ales, and experimental beers, but the majority of F-Town’s line-up is aimed as a sessionable gateway into craft beer.
“The essence of where the whole thing starts,” says Temke, is that F-Town’s owners are creators, builders at heart. Instead of a homebrew kit, F-Town was born in a basement where Voegele and Strouth manufactured a complex mini-brewery before they’d made their first homebrew. With experience and original recipes, that’s grown out of their homes and into downtown, connecting F-Town with community and quickly extending beyond.