Pie Eyed Monk Brewery A Community Success That Continues to Inspire
It’s only been a year, but Pie Eyed Monk Brewery has become the talk of the town in Lindsay, as those seeking an authentic craft beer experience, incorporating excellent food and an inviting atmosphere, have been flocking to the facility to sample their tasty and refreshing wares.
The story of the creation of what has become a genuine culinary attraction, blending modern amenities and design aesthetic with the charm of the original Victorian brick structure, is a remarkable tale of community spirit and entrepreneurial acumen.
In short, a need was identified and filled by a collection of local business leaders taking advantage of a prime, but underused locale, anchored by a thriving craft beer operation, melded with a delightfully inviting restaurant and event space. Pie Eyed Monk Brewery has been a boon to the tourism and culinary sectors within the region, and their success continues to grow along with their reputation for service excellence.
According to Erastus Burley, GM of Pie Eyed Monk Brewery there was a general recognition amongst the local business community that Lindsay needed to join in on the burgeoning craft beer industry, as well as needing more diversity in dining options and venues. The restaurant’s menu is eclectic and dynamic, offering a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts to please the most adventurous and discriminating palate.
Forward-thinking investors chose to salvage the historic C.L. Baker Building, originally built in 1868 as a slaughterhouse. It then became a granary, a pool hall, a dance studio, gym, it was a set of apartments at one point, and most recently played host to a number of community organizations. Today Pie-Eyed Monkey Brewery is fully accessible, and encompasses three floors for patrons, plus the working brewery on the lower level. The kitchen is on the main floor and there is a large wedding and event space on the second floor, and some tenants on the third floor. The restaurant also boasts the only wood-fired pizza oven in the region.
As with any renovation of an old building, there were challenges, but Burley said the team of investors included many heritage and community-minded folks, some of whom were experts in the kind of work that needed to be done to make the 8 Cambridge St. N. site something special.
“One of the investors, Pat Murphy, is a master craftsman. He spent a great deal of time learning the nuances of renovation and restoration because they are two very different animals. He and the team managed to maintain the charm of this 151-year-old building – it’s quite spectacular that it’s even standing today, let alone in the manner that it now stands and the way it’s been preserved with a lot of heritage detail. A lot of skill and patience went into this project,” Burley said.
“Having someone of Pat’s knowledge and experience was crucial to turning the building into the landmark that it has become today. He played a crucial role in the restoration of this site and deserves so much of the credit for the compliments that we have been receiving.”
At its core, Pie Eyed Monk is a brewery, and Burley said the biggest challenge has been to convince local beer drinkers on the exceptional quality and unique flavour of craft beers. He said they regularly welcome folks to come tour the brewery facility and learn all about the creation of their beer and sample some of the brew masters’ wares.
As well, restaurant and catering staff are trained to help diners understand more about their beer selection, including the best pairings with the food they have ordered making for a full-on culinary experience.
“We have created entry level brands to get our local customer base familiar with the beer and to experiment with beer and beer styles. Our Laughing Troll Lager’d Ale has been doing a good job in that regard; it’s been getting great feedback and helped us to say, ‘craft beer is great, just give it a chance and experience it.’ And the community has really started to embrace that.”
Enticing both veteran and ‘newbie’ craft beer lovers has been made easier with the rest of the current dynamic repertoire of beer offerings, including Brownie’s Belgian Blonde, Reid’em & Wheat (German Hefeweizen), Murph’s Daily Ration (Irish Stout), Dirty Bird (malty, higher-alcohol ale), First Response (Amber Ale), the dark cherry and chocolate-tinder Angry Viking, Monk’s Madness and Blasphemous Rumours (English IPA).
“We like to do a few seasonals, like Monk’s Madness, because people love the idea of popping by and there’s something new that they haven’t tried yet,” Burley said.
Ambitious from the start, Pie Eyed Monk’s leadership team continues to forge ahead with exciting plans for expansion and diversification. One big goal is getting product into the LCBO to tap into those seeking alternatives to standard domestic offerings. They also continue to experiment and refine their beer recipes in order to perfect a ‘signature’ blend that will put Pie Eyed Monk and Lindsay on the brewing map on a provincial and even national scale.
Pie Eyed Monk was a community initiative driven by local leaders who saw a local need. Engaging with the broader community of Lindsay and the City of Kawartha Lakes continues to be a priority, according to Burley. He and his staff have opened the doors of their restaurant and meeting/banqueting facility for community organizations and local businesses to host meetings, conferences, celebrations and other special gatherings. They network with other businesses in the growing wedding and holiday party market, advertising their unique atmosphere, dining and beverage options.
And the community has reciprocated, by continuing to bring friends, family, business colleagues and clients to enjoy all that Pie Eyed Monk has to offer.
For more information on booking an event, on the beers on tap, food on the menu and upcoming live entertainment, visit https://www.pieeyedmonkbrewery.com.
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