‘All about the fi­nal prod­uct’

The Glengarry News - - News - BY RICHARD MAHONEY News Staff

The partners at Wood Broth­ers Brew­ery are faced with a pleas­ant chal­lenge.

De­mand for the IPAs pro­duced by the “nano” craft beer­maker in Glen Robert­son con­stantly ex­ceeds sup­ply.

The own­ers are al­ways be­ing asked, “When can we buy your beer?”

There is sel­dom a de­fin­i­tive an­swer to the query.

Since the brew­ery lo­cated at White Pine Lum­ber pro­duces small 120-litre batches of beer, availabili­ty is limited. Cus­tomers fol­low up­dates on so­cial me­dia, where Satur­day after­noon tast­ings are an­nounced.

“We are slowly build­ing a mar­ket. We are show­ing our colours. What we are stress­ing is qual­ity,” says brewer Louis Cas­tonguay, who owns the busi­ness along with Mark Rick­erd, his wife, Natasha, hop pro­ducer Kurt MacSweyn and brewer Dan White­head.

All five partners, who have other reg­u­lar day jobs, are con­tent for now with keep­ing the op­er­a­tion small while con­tin­u­ing to per­fect dis­tinct recipes.

“This is a serious hobby for me,” says Mr. Cas­tonguay, a Coteaudu-Lac prop­erty man­ager and “hop head” who loves ev­ery­thing about beer.

Mr. MacSweyn’s Chi­nook hops are among the “su­per hops” used to make the New Eng­land-style ales at Wood Broth­ers.

“There are a lot of craft beers. We have to be dif­fer­ent,” ob­serves Mr. Cas­tonguay, who adds that Wood Broth­ers ap­peals to those who like “big aro­mat­ics.”

Blend­ing lo­cal and im­ported hops, the brew­ers have ex­per­i­mented with about 125 batches. “It has been in­tense; we have done about ten years of brew­ing in three years,” re­lates Mr. Cas­tonguay.

“It is all about the fi­nal prod­uct. We are very judg­men­tal of our­selves. We have to be very pre­cise.” With im­ported hops rang­ing in price from $12 to $30 US a pound, even the slight­est mis­step can be costly. “When we were test­ing, we lost about 20 per cent of our batches. We were flush­ing money down the drain.”

One of the ad­van­tages of be­ing small is that there is less fi­nan­cial pres­sure on a craft maker than there is on a large-scale pro­duc­tion.

Work­ing with 12 IPA recipes, the Wood Broth­ers brew­ers are striv­ing for a “crafty taste.”

‘Frag­ile’

Asked what he likes best about mak­ing beer, Mr. Cas­tonguay says, “It is a liv­ing be­ing. It is frag­ile. The plea­sure I get is seeing peo­ple en­joy­ing a beer you made. It is hoppy, re­fresh­ing and aro­matic. I want it to be a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The “dif­fer­ent tastes” are refined by the ad­di­tion of in­gre­di­ents such as honey, maple syrup and cane sugar.

RICHARD MAHONEY PHO­TOS

PRE­CI­SION: Louis Cas­tonguay notes that small-scale pro­duc­tion en­ables Wood Broth­ers to concentrat­e on qual­ity. At left, he of­fers one of the dis­tinct beers pro­duced by the Glen Robert­son firm.

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