After four years of designing fun and creative beers, the brewers behind Ale Architect have turned their attention to building a brewery and an unabashedly local brand along with it.
Ale Architect’s beers have been brewed locally since the company’s first release in 2018 — but they’ve all been made under contract in someone else’s brewery until now. When Mason Pimm and Ryan Stang started the company, that was the way they wanted it: to take some creative risks without the expense of operating a bricks-and-mortar brewery.
“It was more of a fun thing at first — put some crazy beers on the market,” says Pimm, who’s a mechanical engineer and a former partner in an Edmonton-area brewery.
After only a year, as it became harder for the company to keep up with demand, Pimm and Stang reconsidered. They started to look for somewhere to build a brewery and prepared to make Ale Architect a full-time venture for them both. Pimm and Stang (a design professional with several years experience as a head brewer for another company), left their respective jobs in early 2022.
Building a brewery will definitely give Ale Architect far more control over production, but it will also allow Pimm and Stang to realize their vision for another key part of the business: its identity.
Ale Architect has gained a well-deserved reputation for making bright and tropical hazy IPAs. Colourful label art designed by Stang give cans their distinctive looks on store shelves, but nothing screamed “Edmonton” to consumers. “I’m really excited for people to know we’re a local Edmonton brewery,” Pimm says.
Having a local taproom also means being able to connect directly with customers and tell them the stories behind your brewery and your beer, adds Stang.
“The whole mood and feeling inside the space, for us, is a big part of drinking the beer,” says Stang.
Ale Architect’s vision is taking shape in a building it’s leased on 76th Avenue, just west of 99th Street — a stretch that has been branded Happy Beer Street for the concentration of breweries in the area. Pimm and Stang say they were initially attracted to the location’s proximity to Whyte Avenue and nearby residential neighbourhoods when they acquired the space in mid-2021, but they’re keenly aware that Ale Architect will be part of a burgeoning scene when it opens its doors.
“We feel lucky watching the other breweries open up and see people flocking to them. It gives us a sense of comfort and pride to be here,” Pimm says.
What makes it even better, adds Stang, is that many breweries have carved out niches for themselves — for example, Omen Brewing leans toward dark beer styles while Blind Enthusiasm’s Monolith brewery specializes in complex barrel-aged beers.
Added brewing capacity will give Ale Architect the ability to experiment and try new things, but it also ensures a steady supply of beers it’s become known for, like Lil Crispy Helles Lager and the Colour Burst series of hazy New England-style IPAs.
“Hazy beer has always been on our radar. We both love hazy beer. They’re fucking delicious and people love them,” Stang says.
Sounds like a blueprint for success.
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This article appears in the September 2022 issue of Edify