If anyone questions the Bredo brothers’ commitment to brewing beer, they need only peek inside the bay at No. 1, 5551 45th St. to dispel any doubts.
That’s where Charlie, Kevin and Graeme set up their new 17-hectolitre (1,700-litre) brewhouse on Monday. Manufactured by Specific Mechanical Systems Ltd. of Victoria, B.C., the system should be converting barley, hops and other ingredients into craft beer by May, said Charlie Bredo.
Operating as Troubled Monk Brewery, the business will initially produce up to four ales — possibly a pale, a blonde, a dark brown and a seasonal variety — with these expected to be available for sampling and purchase in June. A portion of the brewery’s 5,100-square-foot premises will be dedicated to a taproom.
“The intention is it’s a tasting room for the brewery, so people can come, get a sense of the brewery, do a tour and have a beer,” said Bredo. “It’s not a bar.”
The brewing process will see malt barley cracked on site and fed through a hopper into a mash/lauter tun tank. There, the barley will be mixed with hot water, and the resulting liquid transferred to a brewkettle. Hops will be added to achieve the desired flavour and bitterness, and the resulting mix placed into one of four fermenters.
When fermentation is complete, the beer will be carbonated and kegged, canned or served through draft lines.
“We’re planning it so we can put another line of fermenters in here,” said Bredo of the potential for expansion.
Ingredients will be sourced from as close to Red Deer as possible. Even Troubled Monk’s brewmaster, Olds College brewmaster and brewery operations management program graduate Garret Haynes, is from Ponoka.
“The primary focus is to become really well-established in Red Deer,” said Bredo. “This is where we are, this is our hometown; we want everyone in Red Deer to know about craft beer.”
Local interest seems to be building, he added, noting a growing buzz on social media.
“People are really excited.”
Bredo said he and his brothers never doubted that their dream of developing a Red Deer brewery would become a reality. But the journey has been an education, he acknowledged.
“It’s one thing to like to drink beer; it’s another thing to learn how to make beer; it’s yet another thing to set up a brewery and run a business about making beer.
“You start to realize there is all the different components of the business, like the logistical, the ingredients, the sales and all these other different pieces that fall together.”
But the experience has been “great and exciting,” said Bredo.
In addition to being served and sold on site, including in take-home growlers, Troubled Monk beer will be marketed to bars, restaurants and liquor stores, said Bredo.
He’s hopeful the brewery’s market will eventually extend beyond its home base.
“Definitely, growing outside Red Deer is something we’d like to do.”
Blindman Brewing, a proposed microbrewery for Lacombe, also plans to produce craft beer. And Drummond Brewing Co Ltd. — which took its name of a longtime local brewery that closed in 1996 — has been making beer in Red Deer for nearly seven years, and operates a taproom in conjunction with its operations at 6610 71st St.