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Let's Eat: What’s on tap at Hallett Brewing?

Owners Andrew and Tanya Mueller are taking their passion for craft beer to the next level as they launch Hallett Brewing in Fort Frances.

FORT FRANCES – For the first time in decades, residents and visitors to Fort Frances have locally brewed beer options on tap.

Patrons from around the community have been streaming into Hallett Brewing at 408 Scott Street since the brewpub held its grand opening on July 28.

“The support from the community, it's been amazing,” said Andrew Mueller, who co-owns the business with his wife Tanya.

“Definitely, like more than what I was expecting," Tanya agreed. "It's great to see the support, especially as a small new business coming to town."

It was a gift from Tanya that got Andrew interested in brewing beer after trying a brew kit, and over time he became extremely passionate about the craft.

“I just fell in love with it. There weren't any easily accessible craft breweries to go to around here,” said Andrew.

From that point on, Tanya said, Andrew was dedicated to researching and creating everything from stouts to lagers.

“We had the idea [about] three years after [we started] brewing, friends and family were really starting to like the beer, and my toughest critic was starting to really like the beer,” said Andrew, referring to Tanya. "[We said, there's not a place like this here, so let's go for it."

Andrew had been working as a roofer at the time, and after seeing the building, the husband-and-wife dynamic duo felt the it was the right fit for their brewing start-up.

“It's a small footprint, but the right size for us just to start out right and test the waters,” Andrew said.

It took nearly three years to put the refurbished touches on the shop.

“We didn't hire any contractors," Tanya recalled. "Andrew and his dad did this all himself, except for the electrical. I have little things here and there, but I'm strictly the front of the house.”

“While Andrew was still providing that income for the family, he and his dad would come in here and just slowly pick away it just on the off days, rainy days, and we just picked away for three years,” Tanya continued.

The renovations included lifting the ceiling from its original eight-foot height and adding support beams, to open up the space. The aluminum ceiling reflects the natural light pouring in from the many windows, giving the room a bright modern-rustic vibe.

With years of experience in the hospitality industry, Tanya manages the staff and service of the Hallett Brewery, leaving the crafting of the brew to Andrew.

For the grand opening, the Muellers decided to put their best foot forward with a Belgian saison, a grapefruit beer, a house blonde, and a raspberry kolsch, all smooth summer beers that go down sweet and savoury.

Andrew described the saison as a classic with a "banana hint, a little bit of spice on the end, but nice, easy drinking.”

The grapefruit beer is based on the brewery's blonde with the addition of grapefruit puree, which he called a prominent but not overpowering flavour.

The house blonde features Citra, Amorello, and Nectaron hops. 

"You get a little bit of hints like tropical fruit, she has some peaches and bubble gum in there," he said.

The raspberry kolsch, meanwhile, brings fruity taste in a big way.

“Basically, it’s as raspberry as I think you can get without being like a smoothie beer," Andrew said. "It's on the verge. It’s one of my favourites, another Kolsch beer, and we just added a lot of raspberries.”

Hallett Brewing sells each beer in a five-ounce 16-ounce glass, or patrons can try all four as a flight. If you don’t have time to sit down and enjoy the selection, patrons can also buy cans to bring home.

However, it should be noted that cans are only available while supplies last. Andrew hopes to expand his canned production, but, at the moment, he acknowledges with the number of customers flooding through the Hallett Brewing doors, he is focusing on maintaining production in-store.

“I have to brew every second day just to get some more beer ready for the next round. So, I'm going to be very busy brewing, which I can't complain about at all. It's my passion and it's so much fun,” he said.

With summer drawing to a close, the Muellers have plans to keep the taps from going dry. They plan to keep rotating craft beers regularly as the seasons change. However, Andrew said the house blonde will remain a staple.

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