From the Bottom, Up: December 17, 2018
Hi. Sorry. I know the number one rule of having a blog is that you have to write said blog. Must remember that.
A lot has happened since we last wrote! Maybe you’ve been following along on Instagram — we’ve started sharing awkward little video updates there more frequently. We made our most recent update last weekend, in the freezing cold of Bucks County, PA, where our pilot system lives. We spent the day outside, brewing a bright and delicious lager for the Sustainable Business Network’s annual meeting coming up in January. A lager is a great beer to brew this time of year, especially when the fermenters are in an un-insulated garage, because lagers ferment at lower temperatures than ales. This makes the fermentation process take longer, and can make them a bit more finicky to produce. We think they’re worth the extra work, and we can’t wait for you to try ours!
Our new brewing system is arriving in the next month or so, so our brew day last weekend was also our last hurrah on our pilot system. Now it’s all hands on deck to get our space ready to receive our new tanks.
But we didn’t want to move on to our bigger, better brewing system without honoring the time we’ve spent with our pilot system. It’s the system that got us started. The first time we all brewed together was just over 2 years ago on that system. For me and Bill, it was the biggest batch of beer we’d ever brewed — a Saison that turned out delightfully fruity and spicy, and led to fun taste testing events over Thanksgiving meals. For Kyle, this system was hundreds of times smaller than what he’d been used to at Stone Brewing Company. It needed to be completely dismantled at the end of every brew day, and then engineered all over again for the next one. Just this past weekend, one of the electric pumps broke, and we had to keep moving our single functional pump around to different parts of the system, depending on which stage of the brew process we were in.
Most days, something didn’t go as planned and Kyle had to troubleshoot as Bill and I tracked down tools and kept the wort from boiling over. I learned not to stand too close to the 20-gallon kettle in a puffy coat, because your coat will start melting and you’ll have to wear it patched with duct tape from then on out. Bill learned where all the nearby lunch spots are and kept us well-fed and on task. Kyle learned that the local police don’t mind our brewing in the driveway, but definitely want to try the beer when it’s ready.
We brewed in all weather — from 30 degrees to 90 degrees, and rain and snow and sun. It helped us learn to work together. It made us really excited to brew indoors. We couldn’t have gotten started without our little pilot system, and we’re beyond excited for what’s ahead.