Stubborn brothers and holy hops

We spent Sunday afternoon in pious reflection and that’s the truth.

That we gleaned our pious reflection from an icy glass of craft beer in no way diminishes the sincerity of our intent, thanks to two Stubborn Brothers in Shawano and the specific efforts of Father Scott Valentyn and brewmaster Aaron Gilling.

Gilling, who launched the Stubborn Brothers Brewery with his brother Erik last year, came up with a plan to brew a Trappist Enkel style of beer called the Baron. To fulfill the “monk” part of the recipe, Aaron recruited Fr. Valentyn, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, located two doors down from the brewery.

As it happens, Fr. Valentyn knows a thing or two about beer and he gladly agreed to stir a little mash and shovel out some grains. In return, the Gillings brothers offered to donate to Sacred Heart Church a percentage of each Baron sold.

So, really, we were just adding to the Sacred Heart coffers when we ordered up a glass of Baron, along with a really delicious lunch yesterday. Beyond the beer (though there are 21 very cool varieties) Stubborn Brothers Brewery offers an enjoyable atmosphere (lots of space between tables and all of the servers and staff wore masks) and some great, locally sourced food and beverages.

Located in a renovated theater two doors down from Sacred Heart Church, Stubborn Brothers Brewery manages to maintain the elegance of bygone eras and the innovation necessary to mainain its craft. Glossy wood and a gorgeous crystal chandalier share space with stainless steel vats and 24 visible taps.

When the Stubborn Brothers say locally sourced, they mean it. According to their website, Erik, who also runs the family’s dairy farm, grew the first hop fields to determine which vareties are best suited for the Shawano soil. Syrup used in the beer comes from Bonduel. All of the specialty oils and vinegars used in the food recipes come from The Stock Market in Shawano. The Brothers also serve local farm-to-table beef and pork processed by the Happy Little Butchers at Adams Meats in Marion, WI. Even the beef sticks used in the wide variety of bloody marys are locally sourced.

The result of all this local harvesting is a healthy and tasty menu full of food you feel good about eating.

We split an order of roasted brussel sprouts as an appetizer and then I had the pulled pork street tacos and Vince had the beer mac and cheese. All of that food was delicious and we each spied things on the menu we intend to order next time.

A ballroom on the third floor, empty during our visit, offers a great event space or for overflow seating and there is outdoor seating as well.

We highly recommend a stop at the Stubborn Brothers Brewery. We are really looking forward to going back.

Aaron and Erik Gilling renovated the old Crescent Theater in Shawano into a very cool and very tasty Brew Pub.
I’m not sure what they use this renovated truck for, but it definitely intrigued me.
The Stubborn Brothers Brewery is just a few buildings down from Sacred Heart Parish, so Mother Mary keeps an eye on things.
The Brothers maintained a lot of the building’s elegance, and added some necessary innovation. They currently brew 21 different kinds of beer, a flavored seltzer and a home brewed cream soda.
This is the view from the second level.
How ’bout that chandelier? This is a view of it from an upstairs window. It hangs in the entranceway.
And this is the original stage, which they use for live music events.
I thought this was a clever way to denote the bathrooms, which were very modern and clean.
Holy hops! It’s the Baron Enkel!
My pulled pork street tacos were very tasty and way too much for one lunch (though I did my best).
We had plenty of space in between tables and the view into brewing area was very interesting.
Good luck to the Aces of Ale. We love what you’ve done with the place!

4 thoughts on “Stubborn brothers and holy hops

  1. Thanks for sharing this great story! Just this past Tuesday I learned from the Behrens family (I suspect you know them) that they are going on the Stubborn Brothers brewery tour to Germany in October — which sounds like a delightful trip. I’ll also share this with our son-in-law (Christiana’s husband), who is a chemist by trade, and is also a craft-brewer. I’ll bet they’ll be making a trip to Shawano soon!

    1. I’ll be very curious to hear what your son in-law thinks. I think he’ll be impressed. I was but I know very little about beer (except what I learned in college. Ha ha).

  2. Thanks so much for this, Laura! We would love to meet you there sometime when we are all in Shawano. Sounds terrific!

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