By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When he’s not at his day job at the Motorwerks BMW shop, Tony Stoy is probably in a St. Paul commercial kitchen, tinkering with his latest flavor of Isabel Street Heat hot sauce.

“I love food,” Stoy said.

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Stoy was a sous chef and pastry chef before he trained as a car mechanic. His hot sauce story started when he brought some of his homemade sauce to a work pizza party.

“It was a real big hit, people were asking where did I come up with this, how did I make it? And people wanted to buy some,” he said.

In 2014, Stoy and his wife Leslie rented kitchen space, and started making enough to sell. Thai Chile was the original flavor, and his experience as a chef led him to ferment the peppers instead of just immediately turning them into sauce.

“When you ferment the product you change the flavors and tones a little bit,” he explained.

Because he loves to experiment, every year he’s added new flavors to the line: Jalapeno followed, then Habenero.

“His wheels never stop turning. There’s always a new idea,” said Leslie, who runs the business side of the business, so named because they live on Isabel Street on St. Paul’s west side.

His neighbor’s fatalli peppers became a sauce that won first place in the City Pages Hot Sauce competition.

“It’s a really aromatic sauce, you couple that with natural citrus tones, and we put lemon and orange juice there, and it really pops,” said Tony Stoy.

His latest endeavor is a collaboration that started over a beer with Bent Brewstillery owner and head brewer/distiller, Bartley Blume.

“Bartley pulled me aside and said, ‘Can you ferment something in a barrel?’” recalled Stoy.

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Blume uses whiskey barrels from the Jack Daniels Distillery to age his Dark Fatha Stout.

“When you’re done with those barrels there’s still a lot of character in there,” said Blume.

So Tony put a 250 pounds of fermented jalapeños and seasonings in these barrels for four months, strained out the pulp and seeds, added a special mixture of vinegars, salt and sugar, and created a sensation. Isabel Street Heat Sriracha.

“It was perfect. It was exactly what we were thinking about,” Blume said. “People couldn’t get enough of it.”

The sriracha sold out immediately at Bent Brewstillery, so they team went back to work, creating another version that goes on sale at an event at Bent in Roseville on April 8.

“It’s not just all heat or one flavor at the front, you get a well-rounded flavor, hitting all the notes on your tongue,” Stoy said.

The seeds get seasoned and baked, creating sriracha flakes – a sort of red pepper flake with an incredible amount of character.

“Everything we do has a story, a back story, has meaning. There’s nothing we can’t make. But why make it unless it has something meaningful to it?” Blume added.

Isabel Street Heat gives the used barrels back to Blume, who aged his Bent Brewstillery rum creating a very hot rum called FlameBringer.

The Stoy’s family business certainly has meaning. This car mechanic and shop supervisor, who hopes his side business is like his sauce: a slow burn that explodes with success.

“Heat that builds,” laughed Stoy.

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Dark Fatha Sriracha Release
April 8 Noon-Midnight
Bent Brewstillery
1744 Terrace Dr., Roseville

Jason DeRusha