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Atypical Brewery brings home gold

Eric Johnson, co-owner and Head Brewer at Atypical Brewery & Barrelworks of Minot, holds the Gold Medal won by their beer “Gin and Spruce” at the 2022 World Beer Cup.

For the first time in four years, brewers from around the globe gathered for the 2022 World Beer Cup on May 5 in Minneapolis, Minn., and Minot’s own Atypical Brewery & Barrelworks came home with something shiny. With over 10,500 entries from almost 60 countries at this year’s Cup, the competition was fierce, but Atypical’s “Gin and Spruce” took home the gold in the Experimental Wood Aged category.

“It’s a bit like winning the lottery,” said Eric Johnson, co-owner and head brewer at Atypical. “The baseline is that you need to enter a good beer that is able to compete.”

Johnson’s Gold Medal beer, “Gin and Spruce,” is a blend of a sour brew barrel aged for nearly a year in neutral oak barrels with another aged over a half a year in gin barrels from Proof Artisan Distillers of Fargo. Spruce tips, juniper berries, and lemon zest were then added to give it that classic gin and tonic finish.

“We wanted an herbal quality to it to enhance the gin, so we added some spruce tips, which my daughter actually helped me forage,” Johnson said, “We like to use a lot of both unique and as much local ingredients as we can.”

He and his crew then went to work finding the right mix between the two as they arrived at their winning combination.

“When they said ‘Gin and Spruce,’ I stood up and then just kind of paused for a minute. I’m still a little bit in shock,” said Johnson. “It’s whatever the judges were feeling that day.”

Atypical still has a few cases of “Gin and Spruce” from their initial batch on sale, but once they are gone it might be a bit before the public can sip on this award-winning brew.

“It’s a big-time investment in the barrel aging process. I imagine we’ll probably be needing to get more gin barrels from Proof and start the next round. We’re probably like a year and half out from even starting that process,” Johnson said. “For the time being we have a few cases. We’ll see how long they last.”

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