Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub opened in September 2012 with much anticipation. A neighborhood, crowd-funded, investment model put this brewpub on the national scene. This was due to the offer of free beer for life, in return for a $1000 investment. Three years later, Northbound is an award-winning brewpub and operates in its humble space with several nods from the City Pages ‘Best Of’ issues, USA Today’s ‘Top 20 Brewpubs’ and a Silver Medal from the World Beer Cup, as well as being featured on an episode of ‘Beer Geeks’ and most recently the Piggin’ Out episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
Unlike most brewery taprooms, Northbound is a bonafide full-service brewpub with a restaurant and full bar that includes a great whiskey selection. Northbound continues to grow and evolve with its scratch kitchen, equipped with two industrial smokers and also by consistently pumping out adventurous top-notch beers. Look for the highly anticipated Snow Series Beers this winter, which includes the award-winning Snownami, a Chocolate Raspberry Imperial Stout.
Owner & Brewer
Jamie Robinson has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In 1998 he began a limousine business. After the fleet grew and his team expanded, he had more time to focus on his hobby of homebrewing. In 2006, he sold the limousine business and accepted a management position at Town Hall Brewery, a local award winning brewpub. His dream of opening his own brewpub blossomed and for the next six years he gained knowledge about the brewing process and the business of owning a brewpub. Jamie attended Siebel Institute in Chicago, after which he honed his technical brewing skills as a brewer at Town Hall Brewery on its commercial brewing system.
In 2012, Jamie opened the doors to Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub as Head Brewer and his dream came to fruition. As business grew, he trained in Joel Scott. In 2015, the mash paddle to the brewery was handed over to Joel, Jamie stepped back and focused on the growth of the business as owner, Chief Manager and Brewer.
Chef Jason Foster was born in Corsicanna, Texas. He moved over thirty times throughout the central United States by his early twenties. Chef Foster’s cuisine is as motley as his background stitched together by smoke and beer. For him, smoke and beer conjures memories of sitting around a campfire while creating memories with friends and family. Chef Foster strives to bring that sense of intimacy and community of the campfire to the table at this neighborhood brewpub.
Chef Foster began his culinary career preparing food at Restaurant Alma. He attributes his approach in the kitchen to his mentors there. Jason took over the kitchen at Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub in August of 2013. Chef Foster utilizes this creative outlet to smoke everything his heart desires. Although his approach is often keeping food simple, the flavors that he creates are complex.
“The wood you choose is so important. Not just in the flavor imparted to the food, but it also affects the texture significantly.” Chef Foster doesn’t just utilize the in-house smokers. He also uses beer, components of beer production (wort), and byproducts of beer crafting (spent grain). His approach to the menu is akin to the beer offerings. With three seasonal menus and weekend specials, there is always something new for our guests to savor.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Joel Scott comes from a family of home brewers where he watched, learned, and helped out while standing on a bucket at a young age. Joel as had an interest in chemistry from an early age, even making ethanol for his 8th grade science fair project. He has worked in the service industry for many years, four of them at The Herkimer where he met Mike Willaford who helped him get his foot in the door of the professional brewing arena. Joel then joined the Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub team in 2012, gaining the technical knowledge of the trade from Jamie Robinson. In 2013 Joel attended Siebel Institute in Chicago with a scholarship from the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild. As his brewing style continues to evolve, Joel’s love of punk music has become incorporated into his brewing routine. He draws inspiration form Founders Brewing Company and Firestone Walker Brewing Company, while working with his favorite ingredients of rye, naked oats, and El Dorado hops.
Every restaurant needs someone to be the glue that holds everything together. Someone to manage staff, coordinate events, handle problems, create spreadsheets, identify grown opportunities….basically everything that nobody else wants to do. That job belongs to Ryan, and for some reason he enjoys it.
He’s a veteran of the restaurant industry and has done nearly everything from serving to bartending to training to managing. This helps him remember that in order to create a successful business you not only have to pay attention to the numbers, you also need amazing employees. This is something that Northbound puts an emphasis on. A focus on service and being a positive addition to the neighborhood always helps the bottom line.