BY HUGH KRUZEL
Oh, how thirsty Sudbury has been since Northern Breweries closed. Yes, it has been a few years since we had a local brewery. But cheer up. A new craft brewery opened this summer.
I was at Stack Brewing on Kelly Lake Rd. for the first day of dizzying retail sales in late June.
On that first day, in just one hour and 15 minutes, the shelves were bare. I can assure you that, thank goodness, a steady stream is now assured.
“It takes a lot of work to fill the fridge,” laments Michael Guillemette, brew-master. He consoles a customer at the door, “We are sold out, but come back Wednesday.”
Customer André Brisebois was the last one to go home with a bottle of the very drinkable Valley Girl. When asked if he would share, Brisebois clutched his purchase proprietorially.
Waiting patiently, owner Shawn Mailloux cooled his heels waiting for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario signature that allowed him to put an “Open” sign on the retail side of his business. Social media did the work once he had it in hand.
“It went out on Facebook and Twitter; word of mouth and phone calls did the rest,” said Simon Jongsma, assistant brewer. “There was only a five-minute lag between the message and the first sale.”
Stack has five styles of beer: Angry Moose Imperial IPA, Saturday Night cream ale, Valley Girl wheat ale, Les Portes De L’Enfer amber ale and Black Rock Cascadian dark ale.
Stack went on sale in early June at five downtown restaurants where it quickly sold out.
At the retail outlet the 32-oz. Boston round will retail between $5 and $6 plus tax and bottle deposit while a 1.89 L growler will retail between $11 and $12 plus tax and bottle deposit.
But how did it all start? “Travelled to Montreal and Toronto I got a taste of better beer,” says Mailloux.
He began with a plan. “Last Canada Day I said, fine let’s get the pen and paper out and let’s jot some ideas down;” and a working name took one more time.
It is a big step from imagination to measurable production. Mailloux is a man of action; from finding a brewmaster to having a bottle in hand was a 14-month journey.
Stack Brewing is still just three guys on a mission. But wait! Mailloux is talking about uping production and employing a delivery person and other staff. The facility on Kelly Lake Rd. is ready and waiting for growth for it is really a “nano” with potential.
Mailloux swings open the door to the refrigerated space so obviously proud of the future. In the meantime, he will continue teaching with the Rainbow School Board. It is understandable that he may consider delivering a course in enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Guillemette teaches music at Cambrian College and has run an instrument repair business for more than a decade, but clearly making beer is his passion. He started out with home brewing at five gallons at a time. Up-scaling is not just doing math though, “It is a science and an art,” invokes, the brewmaster. “All of this is such an experiment!”
Try these in your next glass.
Angry Moose is a medium-bodied Imperial India pale ale that pours a deep copper. Intense forward hop flavour. Clean malt sweetness and real character. A strong alcohol content of nine percent gives this a real punch.
A traditional German style wheat beer Valley Girl provides a sturdy base to showcase the citrus fruit character of the yeast. A tall, slim lager glass would do it justice. Ideal for hot and humid weather.
With a nod to Stomping Tom, Saturday Night cream ale style that recalls Prohibition-era America. This all-grain version gets it’s sweetness from caramelized barley and wheat. Pours golden straw yellow and is smooth; oh so thirst quenching.
Originally brewed in French farmhouses nearly 600 years ago, this Biere de Garde (beer for keeping) Les Por tes De L’ Enfer was traditionally brewed in the spring with a high alcohol content to last the summer without refrigeration. Very deep amber, pleasingly sweet, with a little warming alcohol.
Sensational Black Rock is a meeting between the stout and IPA styles. This medium bodied ale pours deep and dark and showcases both roasted malt character and intense hop flavour. You will be impressed.