A visit to their Norwegian namesake inspires new international brew

Pulpit Rock Brewery’s hand-drawn logo superimposed over a picture of the brewery’s namesake, the original Pulpit Rock in Stavanger, Norway. Hannah Tulgren, the brewery’s marketing manager, and McKinley Eide, Pulpit Rock’s brewery assistant, (along with a local Norwegian brewer at Lervig) are pictured atop the landmark rock during their trip to Norway in early May.

In 2014, Luther College graduate Pete Espinosa and a group of family members and friends, most of whom were also Luther graduates or had family ties to Decorah, wanted to establish a business focused on giving back to the Decorah community and providing a gathering space for folks. Together, this group of investors saw that craft beer was a growing industry, and Pulpit Rock Brewery opened its doors Aug. 2015. Espinosa, whose mother was born in Stavanger, Norway, chose the name Pulpit Rock in honor of Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, a steep cliff in Stavanger and one of the most visited natural attractions in Norway.

Nearly eight years later, the brewery has grown, but has worked hard to keep its small town business mindset and atmosphere. 

For this Nordic Fest, Pulpit will feature a small-batch of lingonberry-inspired beverage, according to Hannah Tulgren, Pulpit Rock marketing manager. “We will be offering our new ‘Pulpit Rock Tales,’ a Nordic-inspired lingonberry mojito cocktail — it’s on the sweeter side, very light with fresh local ingredients. Our brewers hand-squeeze the limes and make the simple syrup.  It’s truly hand-crafted.”

Larger breweries produce upwards of 50,000+ barrels of beer each year, but Pulpit Rock is comfortable keeping its numbers much lower, with yearly production ranging from 1,100 to 1,300 barrels. Despite its small size, Pulpit Rock was one of only 100 breweries globally to be selected to participate in the 2023 Mikkeller Beer Celebration in Denmark this May. Congruent with the MBCC, Tulgren and Pulpit Rock brewer assistant McKinley Eide, travelled to Stavanger to hike the original Pulpit Rock, as well as collaborate with local Norwegian craft brewery, Lervig. The resulting collaboration was an imperial stout called Kransekake Stout.

In addition to Nordic Fest, Pulpit Rock Brewery will be celebrating its eight year anniversary Saturday, Aug. 19, with live music, beer specials and a special edition barrel-aged stout.    

For more information about Pulpit Rock Brewery, visit them on Facebook or Instagram. 

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