So, aside from designing this website, writing the business plan, and doing our research, what do we do? We brew of course!
We brew a lot. Much more than should really be allowed. Almost every single Sunday in fact. As I type this, we have 152 batches of beer under our belts, and there are no signs of slowing.
The question people love to ask us is, “What do you do with all that beer??” I’d say the answer is fairly obvious to that one. Though I will say, we do have help in the form of some very appreciative “official taste testers.”
Why do we brew so much? There are a couple of reasons. First of all, we’re trying to get as much experience as humanly possible before we open the brewery. The more familiarity we have with every single nuance of brewing, the better. Plus, the more we brew, the more it becomes second nature. No second-guessing, just going through the motions every Sunday like clockwork.
Then of course, there’s recipe formulation. We’re trying to start off with as many recipes as possible at the opening of our brewpub. Right now we have about 25 recipes that we consider brewpub quality, and we’re constantly adding to that list. Usually it takes us a few tries to get a recipe right, and we’re constantly tweaking things.
Plus, we have to make sure we have consistency between batches. It’s easy for inexperienced brewers to have a beer come out completely different the second time around, even if they use the exact same ingredients. This is because there are a gajillion factors in the brewing process that can affect the flavor of the beer, most notably temperature, the most difficult aspect of brewing to control. The temperature at every stage of the process affects the final product, so we continually repeat recipes to make sure we’ve perfected our controls.
Temperature is just one example. Fineness/coarseness of the grist, length of lautering, timing of hop additions, amount of yeast pitched, length of fermentation, and so on, and so on. There are so many variables, and we have to make sure we control them all!
We try to mimic the processes of a large scale brewery as best we can, this way there will be no surprises when we brew our first batch on our 10 bbl system. Tim has been phenomenal in this arena, tweaking our processes and equipment to move us further and further toward the way the big boys do it.
All this diligence has produced a lot of fantastic beer that we’re incredibly proud of. We’ve also made quite a few stinkers, but that’s all part of the process!
So far, for our four house beers, we have a Belgian-style witbier, Belgian-style tripel, oatmeal stout, and our ESB, our flagship and the most-loved beer that we make.
We also have a bangin’ IPA that we plan to use as a base for all our IPAs. We’re working on getting a few lager recipes ready so that we always have at least one on tap at a time.
We’ve got eight seasonals (or “Brewer’s Choice” as we’re calling them) down pat — Chile Ale, Comice Pear Wit, Grand Cru 100, Hefeweizen, Harvest Ale, Orange Basil Tripel, Pumpkin Ale, and Sorachi Saison. In the “near perfect” category are Abbey Dubbel, Imperial Wildberry Wheat, Berry Wheat, Citra Pale Ale (which we’ll use as a base for any pale ale), and Oktoberfest.
We’ve brewed somewhere around 50 styles in all, and I’ve got a hit list of dozens more that we’re planning to make. We’ve got plenty of brewpub-ready recipes at this point, but we want more!!
I suppose this probably does sound a bit crazy, but this is our passion after all. As you can tell, we’re dead serious about this whole opening-a-brewery thing.