Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Getting To Know Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. - Thunder Bay, ON

2011 was a good year for beer drinkers in Ontario. New beer styles, some incredible seasonals, proliferation of cask ale and many new breweries/contract brewing companies opened their doors and introduced individuals to a variety of new beers. Most of the noise took place in the Toronto area with companies like Spearhead, Kensington, Junction, Sawdust City, Indie Alehouse, Gananoque Brewing Company and more opening, and 2012 is already shaping up to be another great year as Hogtown Brewers, Bellwoods Brewery, Snowman Brewing, Double Trouble and a couple others are planning on joining the burgeoning market.

Well, Thunder Bay is getting in on the action as the Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. is hoping to open later this Spring (May) as they're getting set to receive their brewhouse in early March.

There are four friends behind the new venture who secured a building at 946 Cobalt Crescent in the middle of Thunder Bay, and close to both the college and university. The crew took some time to answer some questions I had about the brewery, the beers they intend to brew and how cool it will be to be the only brewery north of the Muskoka's to Manitoba!

Tell us about the Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. Where did the name come from?
The name embodies our area and city that we love. We also find that when other people think of Thunder Bay they visualize the Sleeping Giant. Being the only current brewery in NorthWestern Ontario (NWO), we wanted the Sleeping Giant to be our Ambassador for us and our area.

You'll be the only brewery north of the Muskoka's to Winnipeg - how cool is that? 
Cool. We would love to bring beer culture to NWO. There are difficulties to being isolated and our craft beer market is smaller so we have to work to make it bigger.

Where will the brewery be situated in Thunder Bay? Will you be working on capturing the attention of Lakehead students? 
Geographically, we are in the “middle” of Thunder Bay (946 Cobalt Cres), within walking distance of both our College and our University. We will be looking the capture the attention of Lakehead and Confederation college students. We to look forward to expanding beer knowledge in those groups AND everyone looking for great tasting beer. Our head brewer is already making friends with some Lakehead students and staff who our just starting out in the home brewing game.

There are four of you involved. How did you all come together? 
We befriended each other in our neighbourhood, our kids have grown together and we fostered our beer knowledge and beer making skills together over the past 10 years. We our four besties who want to bring our passion for beer to our community in our next big adventure.

Where are you currently working on your recipe development?
Recipe development occurs in a small 10g homebrew set up. It also comes from course work, reading from the masters and trying new things.

What beers will you be offering on opening day? 
When we start, hopefully we will be able to offer the Elevator Wheat and 360° Pale Ale right away.

Why have you chosen the styles of beer that are mentioned on your website? 
Our picks come from a good starting point for our city. The pale ale is not quite an English and not quite a North American, but takes the best of both worlds into a tasty but not over the top ale. Our stout is loved by many, even people who don't necessary like dark beers. It's an easy drinking introduction to dark malts. The wheat ale is already loved in Thunder Bay and we want to bring more hop forward flavour to it and adjust local beer drinker's palates to more flavour in their beer. We hope to push the taste envelope more with our seasonal and limited editions.

The four founders
Is Thunder Bay ready for beers with bolder flavour?
Thunder Bay is getting ready. Not everyone is thirsty for more taste but we have lots of beer geeks out there who are trying to spread the word. Thunder Bay is also big on local and that will help us.

How has the local support been so far? 
Local support from previous brewers, locally-owned licensees and potential beer drinkers has been great.

Educating consumers will be a big part of your business plan I'm sure. How will Sleeping Giant Brewing go about this?
Our plans for educating people starts with licensees (the folks who will be selling our beer at their establishments), and tours at the brewery. We want to work with local restaurants and charities on pairings and tastings. Our female founders will be starting a chapter of Barley's Angels. We plan on inviting Mirella Amato of Beerology to help share her specialized knowledge. We hope to start a regular column in the local paper to spread knowledge. The best way to educate is to share a pint with potential customer and ambassador at the brewery or local pub. We enjoy that part the most!

Do you have any plans to get your product, once available, into the LCBO or Beer Stores? 
We will have kegs and growlers to start... tall boy cans in the future. Initially we'll just focus on draught and the brewery retail store and look to the LCBO once we start canning.

Check out their Facebook page for updates on the brewery's progress.

No comments:

Web Analytics

Winter Ale