Brewing in Bismarck: Updates from Laughing Sun Brewery

On the afternoon of October 25, 2012, I dropped in to the construction site that is Laughing Sun Brewery in downtown Bismarck, North Dakota. Laughing Sun Brewery is co-owned by two friends, Todd Sattler and Mike Frohlich (certainly pillars of northern Great Plains culture and society). When Sattler isn’t practicing law and when Frohlich isn’t practicing the digital humanities, they are thinking incessantly about how to make better beer and beer making better, and how to bring a public tavern to fruition. The first video is Todd expanding on the brewing vats from 10/25/2012. That video is here:

I continued pressing Todd for more information (the people want beer! and they want to know the processes of getting beer!) after he got down off the ladder, and he showed me some rough hewn slabs of cottonwood recently milled and donated by the Suchy family. Last year the Missouri River bottoms flooded (every where between Fort Peck, Montana and St. Louis, Missouri), and this in turn caused massive erosion and property loss, in addition to felling large cottonwood trees that typically grow in the river bottoms of the northern and central Great Plains. Todd and Mike are considering how to make this lumber work for table tops, and this will be a bit tricky. Todd expands on the cottonwood logs here:

The trick with building with cottonwood is that it is soft and fibrous. This means that when these boards

Rough milled cottonwood boards donated by the Suchy family to Laughing Sun Brewery in downtown Bismarck, North Dakota.

dry, they will certainly bend. Todd said he is looking for ways to deal with controlling some of the bending, and they may just end up fixing, latching and securing the large slabs down to a horizontal surface while they dry and — as the punk-DIY ethos goes — see what happens. There may be a way to slice up the rough hewn boards after they dry, and re-fix them with epoxy into shapes that are more conducive to holding level large mugs of tasty beer.


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