Mark Rendell
Mark Rendell

Brewpub Update: Kettles Here. Beer Near?

The key equipment has finally arrived. But it will likely take until August for pints to be served
Shiny new gear outside the pub

On Wednesday, the NWT Brewing Company inched closer to opening their eagerly anticipated brewpub in Old Town with the arrival of a truckload of shiny new brewing equipment.

“We’ve had a smile on our face for the last 24 hours,” says brewpub owner Miranda Stevens. “You put your head down and work so hard to get things going, so it’s a nice little pick-me-up and a good boost of energy.”

While the five stainless steel brewing kettles, two 20-keg brite tanks (for fermenting) and a holding vessel, all made by Portland Kettle Works, are now being installed in the large brewery building next to Hak’s Auto Body, it’s unlikely they’ll be producing beer for months yet. The system needs to be measured for tax purposes by federal inspectors flying up at the end of the month. Then it needs a once-over from GNWT inspectors, who can’t proceed until the feds have issued a manufacturing license.

Once the inspections are complete, likely by mid-July, brewing can start. Stevens says they’ll start by brewing light beers that only take about two weeks “from grain to glass,” to get things going as soon as possible.

So realistically, we shouldn’t expect to be sipping locally brewed draft on a sunny brewpub patio until August, at best.

The equipment order went into the Portland-based manufacturer a year and a half ago, but Stevens and her husband/business partner Fletcher Stevens had to push back the delivery date several times because of building delays. They also faced minor hiccups, like when the truck sent from Calgary to pick up the equipment broke down and had to wait a week for new parts.

It won’t be the grand opening ‘before the snow melts,’ that Fletcher told EDGE about back in November, but it does seem like they’re getting awfully close. Stevens says the final kitchen equipment is arriving later this month and she’s already received a small flood of resumes from people keen to work in the brewpub. They’ve hired a head chef, a guy from Vancouver named Michael Pacey, and the rest of the staff will be hired in the coming weeks and months. Stevens expects to have as many as 20 people working as servers, brewers, doormen and kitchen staff.

“There’s quite a number of shifts, lunch, afternoon, evening … and if anything I want to be a bit overstaffed at the beginning so I can get drinks and food out quickly.”

For more information on the NWT Brewing Co. and Woodyard Brewpub and Eatery, visit their website.