BREWING AND TAPROOM UPDATES
Over the last few weeks we have acquired, hooked up, and tested out all of the necessary equipment to brew a beer on our American Beer Equipment system. There are still many things that need to happen, including that Certificate of Occupancy, but on Friday, March 11, 2016 we fired up the brewhouse and brewed our first batch of IPA.
We learned several key lessons about this ABE system that we’ll use for the next batches. We began figuring out what works best for our brewers; how many people are needed to brew in a timely manner, the best ways to keep everything as tidy as possible during the process, how to field curious tourists while sparging….
Barry Starcher, a wood worker who created our first beer taps, walked up from the corner of Main and Royal. He said he could smell the beer brewing! It is an extremely pleasing aroma after a year of remodeling, construction, and planning.
That Sunday we followed up with a batch of our Blonde and Tuesday we brewed the Stout. Friday was all about our Belgian Witte. We’ve been tracking their fermentation progress and change in specific gravity. Now we wait as the yeast does its job.
Each batch has produced, we estimate, about three tons of spent grain. A local rancher has taken it off our hands each time. Allie Guenther and Lonnie Edwards both swiped some of the spent grain to bake with. Allie created some amazing granola style coconut chocolate bars and Lonnie made some delicious bread. To be able to minimize our waste is so important …plus it’s just cool that the grain we’ve brewed with is still useful to others.
The taproom is also getting some attention. Ben Guenther and Ro Shaw have been working into the wee hours to finish the long leaf pine bar top. This long leaf pine came from Lonnie Edwards who harvested it from a house built in 1889. You cannot find this kind of wood these days. And the pine trees certainly don’t get this big these days. It is a treasure to our brewery and just so beautiful! Once complete we’ll put together the bar-back and be just about ready to open our doors.
Our designer, Keith Davis Young, and the talented sign painter, Andrew Manning, came this week to finish out our chalkboards. We are stoked with the way they turned out. Andrew’s technique is flawless. He used a mahl stick to steady his hand and avoid smudging the paint.