Craftsmen Interviews are designed to introduce you to dedicated, hard-working local makers that are cultivating local culture. Short, easy reads that impart valuable knowledge and inspire you to explore and support authentic endeavors. Stay ahead of upcoming trends and get recommendations from those helping to build their community. (-Learn more)
About 1.5 hours south of the Twin Cities along the Mississippi is the home of Minnesota’s only brewery B&B, Hoppy Girl Brewing aka Turning Waters Back Alley Brewing Co. The dream of having a brewery in Wabasha started the process and the B&B was the perfect combination for husband-wife duo, Brenda & Ford.
Brenda is a Wabasha, Minnesota native and runs the operation, working 18 hours a day managing check-ins and beer-slanging. She’s passionate about people, her home town, and being involved in all the local charity events.
Ford maintains his 9 to 5 as an attorney and moonlights as head brewer. He’s well known for making quality brews, many designed to highlight local ingredients and collaborates with a few Minnesota breweries including Modist, Back Channel, as a collaborator on new recipes.
Brenda, what inspired you to quit your job and start Turning Waters Bed and Breakfast Brewery?
“I love working for myself and owning my own business, and when we moved back from Florida to my hometown to open our bed and breakfast, the goal was to be an important part of the local culture and meet new people.
Now, we host tons of regulars that come back to see us, and it’s great to get lots of other brewery owners in. We really enjoy meeting and spending time with all our guests and showing them a little bit of what we love.
I meet a lot of people that ask me about the life of owning the bed and breakfast. I’m always a huge supporter of anyone wanting to follow their dreams. I love hearing their ideas and supporting them if I can.”
“A stranger is just someone we have not yet met...”Brenda Pearson – Turning Waters Brewing
OK, speaking of what you love in the area… Help us have a good time in Wabasha; what do you recommend?
“People come for the awesome hiking and biking of the region. People love Frontenac State Park for both (on the way from the Twin Cities), but my favorite is John A Latsch State Park, with a 600-step rise to the top of the bluff and views of the entire region… If you’re really looking for a cool trip, get here via the ‘Great River Road Wine Trail‘.
You mentioned that you’re involved in the local business community and support a lot of charity work. Any favorites?
“Whenever we’re booked full I send people across the street to the historic Anderson Hotel (across the street); a space with lots of local history.
We always support all the local charities, but I’m very involved now with the Reel Project, which makes videos of kids that are available for adoption and are looking to be part of a great family. They are celebrating their 4th Anv. this year too!”
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“A stranger is just a friend we have not met…” 🍻 Meet Brenda & Ford, your happy hosts @hoppygirlbrews. Their bed and breakfast home is also houses a back alley brewery all along the Mississippi River. Stop in at Frontenac State Park for hiking and biking, or check out the @NationalEagleCenter; there is lots to do in the Wabasha area! Check out Craftnotes.net to read the full miniview and get more recommendations for your visit.
Hoppy Girl Brewing & Turning Waters Bed and Breakfast
136 Bridge Ave, Wabasha, MN 55981 / 651-564-1568
Beer Recommendation: Chubby Chipmunk (or Salted Caramel Russian stout when in season) – View tap list
Brewpub featuring both original beers and guest beers from their favorite Minnesota Breweries on Tap. You can also purchase cider or stay overnight in their Bed and Breakfast.