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Downtown Minneapolis — and craft breweries — have seen their share of closings since the pandemic. But one downtown brewery that shuttered at the end of 2023 is about to come back to life.

The former Lakes & Legends, just east of Loring Park, will be reborn this summer as Brühaven. And it has an award-winning craft beer veteran as its new owner.

Alex Doering, who worked his way up to head brewer over eight years with the Freehouse, has partnered with friend Glenn Oslin to buy the business and make it their own. But fans of Lakes & Legends will find that much of Brühaven will be familiar, too.

"One component of this place that we really loved was the community aspect," Doering said. "But in terms of their business, what I really liked was that they were starting to expand into things other than beer and branch out, which I think is important in this shifting industry, to be able to pivot."

Doering has already begun brewing with the equipment on-site, and plans to continue the previous brand's forays into hard seltzer, THC beverages, mushroom-based functional drinks and other nonalcoholic options. Doering and Oslin also plan to add coffee into the mix after opening.

It's a something-for-everyone approach that Doering and Oslin believe craft breweries need to adopt to stay relevant.

"People don't always want to drink, so you've got to capture everybody," Doering said.

The space, which anchors a residential building, will be open day and night. They're aiming to open by the end of June, in time for Pride festivities in the neighborhood.

"We want to be the community hub for Loring Park, to really drive people to come back here," Oslin said. "We also think we'll play a vital role in the revitalization of downtown Minneapolis, especially in the west downtown district, just bringing people and giving them something to look forward to and somewhere to come and really hang out."

The former Lakes & Legends brewery in Minneapolis' Loring Park is undergoing renovation before it reopens as Brühaven.
The former Lakes & Legends brewery in Minneapolis' Loring Park is undergoing renovation before it reopens as Brühaven.

Renée Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

Doering's brews for the Freehouse have brought home awards, most recently at the 2023 installments of the Minnesota Brewers Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. Brewing for a restaurant gave him a "beer philosophy" that beer shouldn't be too filling or too sweet, and should come in a wide variety of styles that can appeal to everyone, he said. He plans to bring that philosophy to Brühaven.

"He is a phenomenal beer maker and that will definitely be coming over to this brand," Oslin said.

At least two of Lakes & Legends' core brews will remain on tap: St. Gail Raspberry Honey Ale and Minnesota Cream Ale. "And it's going to be true to their concept, which was local ingredients, sourced in Minnesota," Doering said.

More than the beer, it means a lot that Brühaven will preserve Lakes & Legends' role as a neighborhood gathering space, said Ethan Applen, one of its co-founders.

"In the eight-plus years we were around, we became a key part of the community," said Applen, who founded Lakes & Legends with his brother-in-law, and decided to exit the brewing business when he relocated to California. "For us, that they would come in and continue that community taproom, that was the coolest thing for us and what we really hoped for. The beer is the icing on the cake."

The space will remain dog-friendly. Lakes & Legends was the first brewery in Minnesota to allow dogs indoors.

Food trucks will be the main food supplier, except during morning hours, when they plan to carry pastries or prepackaged food to go with coffee. They're planning to partner with a roaster, and hope to have the coffee program running by midsummer.

"We have a giant space that we want people to come into, work from the space if they want to, or have a coffee in the morning," Doering said. "We want to be an amenity to the building that we're a part of, too."

"Especially post-pandemic, people want to get out of their house," Oslin added. For them, the new taproom will be "the haven."

Brühaven, at 1368 La Salle Av., Mpls., is aiming to open early summer. For now, its website is