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No Troubles So Far for Troubled Monk

troubledmonk_logoI reported last week that Red Deer’s Troubled Monk Brewing quietly opened its doors in June. The Bredo Brothers, Charlie and Graeme, have traveled quite the path in the past couple years. I profiled their plans back in January (read here) and at the time mentioned they were one of the first new breweries to get a license under the relaxed AGLC regulations. Their initial thinking was to be an all-out nano-brewery, operating on a 50-litre system. Those plans changed quickly, however, when they started doing the math on the viability of a brewery that size.

Instead they jumped up to a 15-barrel brewhouse with four fermenters and one bright tank. In June they opened both the brewery and their 60-seat tasting room (which, again due to new rules, can serve full pints). I thought an update might be timely and so I sat down with Graeme to see where things are at.

The tasting room, Bredo says, will for now be the anchor of their operation. Open Monday-Friday 1-8 and weekends 11-8 it will serve beer on tap and do take-away sales as well. Their plan is, of course, growler fills, but they also intend on packaging a portion of their product in cans, following a growing trend among new breweries. At the moment their beer is NOT available in liquor stores, as they are still ramping up production but they hope to expand their availability in the Red Deer area and select Edmonton locations in the coming months.

Their brewer, Garret Haynes, is one of the first graduates from the Olds College Brewery Program, and is working on tweaking recipes with the Bredo brothers. At the moment they have four mainstays with a series of seasonals and rotationals planned.

Their four beer include Golden Gaetz Golden Ale, Pesky Pig Pale Ale, Open Road American Brown and Homesteader Saison. Golden Gaetz harkens to the history of Red Deer and its main street, Gaetz Avenue, while Pesky Pig is an homage to Francis the Pig, a plucky porcine who in 1990 escaped the clutches of the meat packing plant in town and spent months on the lam in Red Deer’s parks and green areas.

At the time of my visit with Bredo, their first one-off was Accidental Amber, which was intended to be the first batch of their Brown Ale. However, their malt order came with the wrong kind of amber malt. They decided to try brewing it anyway and it came out lighter and more like an amber ale than a brown. It is dry-hopped with Equinox to still give it a hop flavour kick.

I had a chance to try the first batches of Golden Gaetz and Pesky Pig. The Golden Gaetz is a light-bodied blonde ale with a delicate grainy malt and just the slightest hint of grassy hops. It reminds me of a fruity pale lager (and I don’t mean that in a bad way). The body is delicate and the malt touches are subtle, but it offers a summery experience. Bredo says they were aiming for a “saltine cracker” character, a description that I both love as a writer and think is quite accurate. I plan on stealing the phrase in the future.

Pesky Pig is an assertive pale ale with a sharp, piney, grapefruit hop character backed by a dry toast malt and touches of light fruit. The linger is quite resiny with grapefruit rind accent. Cascade and Mosaic  are the feature hops in the brew.

Like all new breweries, these beer, along with the other two when they are ready, will shift as they tweak the recipes. That is half the fun of tasting beer from baby breweries; you get to go along for the ride. So far I am not seeing a lot of trouble brewing for Troubled Monk.

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