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Brewery experiencing delays

Engineering complications have put a brother and sister behind schedule in opening Black Diamond’s first microbrewery.

Engineering complications have put a brother and sister behind schedule in opening Black Diamond’s first microbrewery.

Pamela Lyken said the public has been anxious to see Hard Knox Brewery open in the town’s northeast since she and brother Cory, who grew up together in Millarville, announced the upcoming opening of the microbrewery.

Although they anticipated opening the doors on Canada Day, Lyken said they’re behind four months due to construction delays and will open in late fall.

“I get calls every week,” said Lyken. “I’ve even had calls from non-Albertans saying, ‘We’re coming to the area.’ Every time I bump into locals they say, ‘How come there is no construction yet? When are you opening? What beers are you having?’”

Despite missed opportunities to host private events and build clientele due to the delay, Lyken is remaining positive.

People should start seeing construction of the 5,000 square-foot building by the middle of the month, she said. It will include a 4,000-square-foot brewery, tap room, tasting room and outdoor patio.

“We want to make our brewery not just another brewery that makes craft beer, but a true destination and experience to our operators,” she said. “We are going to do a cider down the road and non-alcoholic beverages.”

Although Hard Knox Brewery won’t serve food, Lyken said the business will collaborate with local restaurants to arrange for food deliveries to the brewery.

Lyken, who will be in charge of marketing and sales, said she’s planning to tap into the Alberta tourism and ride on the coat tails of the Cowboy Trail and Cool Little Towns tourism platforms.

“We want to be a tourist destination along the Cowboy Trail,” she said. “We want to tap into the motorcycle and bicycle runs.”

The microbrewery will also offer employment opportunities in the community, although Lyken said she’s not sure what that will look like yet.

“We are going to definitely be hiring a number of part timers,” she said. “Down the road we will hire an assistant apprentice brew master and eventually we’ll need a bookkeeper and a couple of sales reps and local people for the tap room.”

In the meantime, brew master Isaac Prizett is brewing up sample batches of what Hard Knox Brewery will offer once it opens its doors. He will use local barley, malt and wild yeast from the area to create a variety of styles.

Prizett moved to Turner Valley from Tennessee last month, and has been working with different ingredients to get the flavours he’s looking for.

“All of our beers are going to incorporate some kind of local ingredient,” he said. “I’m big on finding local ingredients and incorporating them into the beer. We are trying to make beer for everyone’s tastes.”

Prizett is working with saskatoons to create beer with champagne characteristics. He’s also creating an English style brown ale with nut and banana flavouring to taste similar to banana bread and a dark wheat ale that incorporates spruce tips and sarsaparilla root.

“I’m new to the area so I’m trying my best to dig in and explore the local flavours around here,” he said. “I’m going to play a little bit before we’re open. Who knows what I’ll come up with.”

Prizett hopes the beers he creates will suits most taste preferences, including light beer for those new to the craft beer scene.

“The craft beer market here is a little bit newer than it is down in the states,” he said. “I’ve been exploring the craft beer community around here and trying different beers. I’m really excited about these new flavours and getting people to try them and hear what they say. What’s lacking is some bold flavours that really make things interesting.”

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