Get a taste of a locally made pint

Francis the Pig has inspired a bronze statue, a song and countless retellings of how he escaped from a Red Deer slaughterhouse in 1990 and eluded capture for months. A locally brewed beer could be next.

Francis the Pig has inspired a bronze statue, a song and countless retellings of how he escaped from a Red Deer slaughterhouse in 1990 and eluded capture for months.

A locally brewed beer could be next.

Pesky Pig Pale Ale is being contemplated as a name for one of the beers to be produced at a microbrewery proposed for Red Deer’s Riverlands district. Troubled Monk Brewery would market several craft beers, relying on local ingredients and catering to local tastes.

“We’re really going to focus on Central Alberta for the first little while, and hopefully it goes from there,” said Charlie Bredo, the driving force behind the venture.

Also involved are Bredo’s brothers Kevin and Graeme. The partners have selected a 4,000-square-foot location and ordered a 17-hectolitre (1,700-litre) brewhouse, which is expected to arrive at the beginning of April.

They’re also close to choosing a brewmaster to oversee brewing operations, said Bredo.

With four fermenters to be used at the outset, Troubled Monk Brewery would be able to produce several beers at a time, he said. These might initially consist of a pale ale, a blonde ale, a dark brown ale, and an IPA (India pale ale), as well as seasonal variations.

Customers would be able to visit the microbrewery, taking part in tours and sampling products, said Bredo. They’d also be able to buy Troubled Monk Brewery beer on site, and perhaps even sit down and sip a pint.

“We’re really hoping it’s a destination,” he said, adding that the brewery would sell kegs and cans to wholesale buyers like restaurants and liquor stores.

Once people try craft beer, Bredo is confident they’ll continue to drink it.

“A lot of people don’t realize that beer is so much more than the mass-produced lagers out there.”

Craft beers are very popular in British Columbia, and he thinks the trend will spread to Alberta.

“There’s a tremendous growth potential out there.”

Bredo, who is founder and president of Bow Valley Power — a green electricity retailer with customers across Alberta, including the City of Red Deer — said the capital and time he and his brothers have invested in Troubled Monk Brewery has been huge.

“We’ve been working on this for about a year.”

But the Red Deer resident is confident that Central Albertans will embrace a microbrewery, particularly one in a trendy area like Riverlands is expected to become.

“It adds to the culture, it adds a little community, it’s different, it’s unique — it helps Red Deer stand out a little bit.”

One hurdle that remains is an amendment to Red Deer’s land use bylaw that would make microbreweries a discretionary use in the Riverlands and Railyard districts. Council gave first reading to the amendment on Nov. 24, and a public hearing into the matter is now scheduled for Jan. 5.

Anyone interested in obtaining more information about Troubled Monk Brewery or being added to the brewery’s email list can do so by contacting Bredo at charlie@troubledmonk.com.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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