Newcomer Zambaldi Bros. Brewing on samples, sour styles, and session beers

There is no shortage of new breweries in the Twin Cities and, likewise, there is no single way to get a new business off the ground. Zambaldi Bros. Brewing, founded by brothers-in-law Wade Zander and David Malcolm, is hoping to get its beer in stores and bars later this year or early 2015. They plan on getting their feet wet with contract brewing and later expanding into their own brewspace and taproom, much like Fulton Brewing did before moving into Minneapolis.

While it will be some time before Zambaldi hits the shelves, the brewers are offering homebrew samples at the upcoming Linden Hills Neighborhood Garage Sale on May 17. Both Zander and Malcolm are avid homebrewers and Malcolm has commercial brewing experience at both Big Sky in Montana and Titletown in Green Bay.

Hot Dish recently had a chat with Zander to sort out the details on the upstart brewery.

See also: Beer of the Week: Big Wood's Jack Savage

Hot Dish: Where did Zambaldi come from and what does it mean?

Wade Zander: The "ZAM" in Zambaldi comes from the initials from the founders' last names (Zander and Malcolm), and "BALD" from the fact that neither of us has much hair. "Brothers" is in reference to the fact that we are brothers-in-law.

Do you have a brewery secured?

Our goal is to start off by contract brewing, essentially buying supplies and renting space in an existing brewery with extra capacity. This will allow us to get beer onto the market and build our brand with less up front capital expenditure than a full-scale brewery build-out. Once we get beer into the Twin Cities market we plan to begin scoping out facilities to build out our own brewing space.

Do you have arrangements yet? What are you looking for?

We are working on arrangements currently. Proximity is a consideration, but our first criterion for a contract brewery is one that we trust to produce beer of the highest quality. We like the flexibility that contracting would give our operation at the start. Our hope is to get into a contract brewing arrangement, but to have close involvement on brew days and throughout the cellaring process. This is our short-term plan to get the company off the ground. We plan to open our own brewing facility as soon as we can.

What is your brewing style?

Initially, we are planning to brew beers that we think of as everyday or "session" beers -- the type we like to grab at the end of a day. For us, beer is about sharing time with friends and family and coming together to celebrate every day. As far as our approach, we take our inspiration from historic, classic, and contemporary beers. We sometimes stick within the style parameters, and sometimes add our own twist.


What will be your launch beer? How did you choose it?

We have four or five recipes that we're currently working on, including a Scottish 80 Shilling Ale (David brewed this beer to serve at his wedding to my sister), a session IPA, a Belgian-style saison, and a porter. And maybe one or two others that are still early in development.

The tasting event on May 17 is an opportunity for us to give people a sneak peek at some of our brews. We hope to get feedback on our recipes and begin to build awareness of our brand. Customer feedback and input is a big part of the process to help us hone recipes and decide what beers we want to create for sale.

Those styles are somewhat underrepresented in local beers currently. Is there another kind of beer you think our local market is lacking that you'd like to address?

In the entire Upper Midwest, we feel that sour beers are underrepresented. Currently, we're big fans of Berliner Weiss and Flanders Red. Once we have our own facility, we plan to offer some of these sour styles as well. Sour beer can be tricky and often requires its own production line so as not to cross-contaminate and turn the non-sour beers sour, but we would love to have a facility capable of producing both traditional and sour styles of beer.

How is the process of creating Zambaldi coming along? What do you have to do next?

The business is coming very well. There is a lot of interest and support in the community for the local craft brewing movement. Our near-term goal is to identify a contract brewing partner and to work through production logistics. Once we get production underway, the real excitement of bringing our beer to market begins: promoting our beer and building relationships with customers.

What beers will you be sampling at the garage sale?

We will be sampling our Yard Sale Pale Ale (a session IPA), our Good Dog Porter, and our Belgian-Style Saison.

What do you think the public tasting will add to the neighborhood sale's atmosphere?

I think this event is a great way to share the beer that David and I are passionate about with our neighborhood in Linden Hills. The Linden Hills Festival weekend is always a great event with everyone in the neighborhood being outdoors together. We hope we can add to the festive atmosphere and give folks who are attending the Linden Hills Garage Sale a welcome oasis where they can come, relax, and sample some new brews with their neighbors.

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