Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Neighborhood Brewpub From Neighbors

How many of your neighbors do you know? Not many, I'd bet. I only know a couple and that includes our immediate neighbor whose driveway abuts ours. There might be some really cool people just around the corner and who knows where that could lead? Just look at Great Notion Brewing - the three owners met because they're neighbors and a shared love of craft beer has spawned a partnership that is re-energizing the former Mash Tun brewpub on NE Alberta.

James Dugan and Andy Miller had been homebrewers for years before they met Paul Reiter, the non-brewer piece of the triumvirate. The beers they shared with Paul thoroughly impressed him and it wasn't long before they began talking about opening a brewery. Many a homebrewer has done the same thing but talking and actually making it happen are completely different. Thanks to Paul's professional background in finance, they were able to tether their dreams to reality, albeit a reality that included scouting locations and finding many of them to be financially out of reach.  Then through a friend of a friend they learned that the owner of Mash Tun was looking to get out of the business.

The guys proceeded with the process of purchasing it, taking over ownership in the fall of 2015. Since the purchase included the beer that had already been brewed (and they were sitting out the standard six month wait to brew from "The Man") they continued to pour Mash Tun beer, retained the Mash Tun name and curated a guest tap list as the Mash Tun beer ran out. In early December 2015 they were cleared to begin brewing and as the New Year was rung in the official rebrand from Mash Tun to Great Notion took place.

It wasn't until recently that I finally made it to Great Notion to check it out first hand after hearing great things about them and being impressed by a pint of their Ripe IPA enjoyed at my Growler Guys in SE. The space doesn't look drastically different from it did as Mash Tun but look below the surface - a larger (7bbl) brewing system, a lineup of beers that showcases the brewers' ability to take what had formerly been recipes scaled for homebrewing to successfully recreate them on a commercial system (far harder than just doing math) and a menu from Chef Ryan O'Conner that goes beyond the food you'll eat just because you're there and need something to pad your belly with to food that you'll look forward to.

Both Ripe IPA and Juice Jr. session IPA are great beers but it's the sour program that they're working on that excites me the most. Currently available is Zest, a Berliner-Weisse, that is kettle soured and very enjoyable but for those who prefer a more traditional barrel-aged sour, those are coming. I was able to sample one, a 12% Belgian beauty that if representative of what's happening at their separate barrel aging facility where they're utilizing their own sour strain they will be something worth seeking out.

Based on the beers I've had so far Great Notion seems to be living out their slogan, "The passion for hops. The patience for sour." If you haven't been it's time to check them out. In the meantime, a clip of Paul, Andy and James talking about their place.

1 comment:

  1. I love the space here. I attended amazing venues in Chicago and I ate more than I should. I had bread pudding, apple crisp, waffles and strawberries and cream. The main floor is very large and good size without being overwhelming, also there's tons of bar space too to order drinks.