Sunday, May 27, 2012


Those of you that have found our Facebook and Twitter pages (kudos to you, by the way!) know that we got a pretty large delivery the other day.  Though we have talked about it for awhile, we figured that the Craft Brewers Conference was a good time to unveil those outlets.  So, those of you who have found us, thanks for the follows and likes and for those of you who haven't found those outlets yet, we are going to be periodically updating things via those give us a follow or a like (just no pokes...yet!).  So, back to the point of this post...yes, it was a large delivery, but was still rather comical that it took an entire semi to deliver it to us given the actual size.

Here comes the goods!

Dave doing his best to guide the driver

Though it looks like they are intentionally ignoring the driver, they truly did discuss the truck positioning!

Hopefully we were the last stop for this driver (and not the only one!) as the trailer was pretty empty, albeit for a couple of pallets with shiny stainless steel attached.

Brandon showed up a little late...but in style!

Frankly, it was all a little surreal.  Yes, we had a signed lease, a place to call home as well as a lot of paperwork indicating that we were a brewery.  True, we had written some pretty big checks many months ago when we ordered our equipment, but we couldn't really point to anything that proved that we were starting a brewery.  We could just be a few random people leasing a commercial property with an LLC.  That all changed recently with our shiny new fermenters.  First, however, we had to get the friggin' things off of the truck and into the building!

We did think ahead a little bit and adjust a furniture mover to accommodate our new arrivals 

Delivery driver pulling the first one off of the truck

Ryan doing his best to help out...appears the driver is doing more work than Ryan!

We all had pretty big grins on our faces as we inspected everything to make sure it met our requirements

Of all of the pieces included with these fermenters (we purchased fittings, racking tubes, valves and other equipment along with the fermenters themselves), we were only missing one single nut on the manway hatch.  Pretty successful, I'd say!

All 3 fermenters positioned outside the front, how to get them in the building?

So, the first step was to remove the wooden guards that had been constructed around the fermenters.  The wood wasn't especially high quality, but they didn't skimp on the fasteners!!  As we removed the wood, I'm somewhat amazed that none of us got injured when things like this were everywhere!

After removing from the original pallets, we put them on our improved furniture dolly and rolled them in the front door.  Had we gotten anything bigger, there was no way in the world that they would have fit in the door.  So, when we are able to increase capacity and get a 7 or 10 barrel fermenter, we'll have to figure out a different way to get the silly things into the building!

First fermenter has entered the building!

We repeated the process with the remaining two fermenters and finally had all three fermenters safely inside the building.

Now, since we are still doing some demolition and still have some construction to do within the building, we wanted to make sure that we protected our investment from all of the dust.  Granted, we still will need to clean them thoroughly to remove any oils and materials left over from manufacturing, but we want to minimize any contamination that can get in there before we clean them!  So, after finally being unveiled to us, we had to wrap them back up with furniture pads and a really large roll of saran wrap from CostCo!

Brandon wrapping up fermenter number two.  You can see #3 pre-wrapped with saran wrap to close up all open ports.

So, it took a little while, but we now have three brand new fermenters just waiting for some freshly prepared wort.  Hopefully we will be able to fill them up somewhat soon and put them through their paces!  So, as mentioned earlier, though we all know we are starting a brewery and we have been working towards this point for quite some time it is really hard to describe how cathartic a feeling it is to have some of this equipment finally delivered to its new home.  Step by step, we continue to move towards our final goal...delivering hand crafted specialty beer to the Des Moines area.  Or, to throw out the tagline mentioned on our business cards, we wish to provide "exceptional beer for exceptional folks".  Look out Des Moines, we are on our way!

Cheers and have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Iowa Craft Beer Festival 2012 is coming!

I don't know about you guys, but I love beer. And I love bridges. What could be more f'ing awesome than drinking beer ON A BRIDGE? Not a stupid viaduct. A real bridge that crosses water and everything!

Are you going to be in or near the state of Iowa on June 16th? The second annual Iowa Craft Beer Festival is coming up and you need to be there. Seriously. A metric truckload of delicious, handcrafted, Iowa beer, a bunch of amazingly talented Iowa craft brewers to serve it to you, a signature bridge in Des Moines, and most importantly - you - are going to all hook up with live music in the background and make sweet, sweet love to each other that day from 1-5 (2-5 if you aren't a VIP - you should really be a VIP, and it'll only cost you an extra 5 spot to sample beer for an extra hour). Tickets are available now, and if you don't get your money out of this, well, let's just say you'll get your money's worth out of this. Come out and enjoy the camaraderie that we, as craft beer lovers, enjoy. Mingle with the breweries that bring you delicious beer. And, most importantly, drink beer. On a bridge. You get to drink beer, ON A BRIDGE. Seriously. A real live freaking bridge! There might even be whales*.

*there probably won't be whales.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

What a week!

So, one of the things that all four of us have been looking forward to for quite some time now is the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference, held this year in San Diego.  Brandon and Ryan went to the 2011 edition in San Francisco last year and were a little overwhelmed with everything.  They attempted to describe how incredible the experience was to Dave and I, but were really struggling to come up with the words to adequately describe it.

I now know why!

This was an absolutely amazing experience.  We were literally rubbing elbows with and talking to brewing industry greats like Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head, Jim Koch of Sam Adams and Charlie Papazian, world renowned homebrewer and president of the Brewers Association.  We had a random lunch conversation with Chris White, founder of White Labs yeast and author of Yeast: The Practical Guide to Yeast Fermentation. There were really too many of those experiences to name, but those give you just an idea of whose company we were in this past week.  It was truly surreal for a few reasons.  1. We were actually in their company and at their events.  2. they actually talked with us!  3. They seemed actually enjoy talking to us!

Then came the primary reason we were there, the conference itself and the expo.  There were seminars on all sorts of things, but it was kicked off by Sam Calagione talking about nano breweries.  It was really encouraging and exciting to be in the room with all of those people who were either in various stages of planning or had been open for awhile.  One brewery in particular had a ton of great information, Hess Brewing Company.  The brewery opened a couple of years ago on a 1.6 barrel system (51 gallons at a time), which is half the size of our operation!  He started a blog about their process as he couldn't really find a ton of information out there on the interwebs about starting small breweries.  This blog has helped many of the small breweries out there get started...we kind of called them the grandfather of the nano brewery!

Next came seminars on taprooms, yeast propogation, brewing with fruit, tips and tricks, and on and on.  So much information to absorb, but so much wonderful information.  Then came the beer.  Oh my word was there beer.  Everywhere you went there was wonderful, wonderful beer.  Throughout the day there were hospitality tents everywhere with food and drink.  Mixed in with the booths trying to sell us everything from full brew houses to bottle openers were booths with random wonderful beer.  Much of it we don't have being distributed in Iowa, but I sure wish it was.

After the last seminar of the day there were shuttles taking us to various places each night.  One night we went to Mission Brewery in downtown San Diego.  Absolutely gorgeous building.  Used to be an old bakery, but they had converted it to a brewery and tasting room.  Another night we went to Karl Strauss Brewery (no idea where it was, my sense of direction was so screwed up all week!) where there was more food and 16 separate breweries with beer....also a mechanical bull!  Once we returned, we were presented with even more opportunities to sample incredible beer.  In one of the courtyards of the hotel, they had constructed two cold boxes with 50+ taps in each one.  You could either filter through the two page list of available brews or just play brewery roulette and pick a number!

I could go on and on and on about this week and everything we learned and did and saw...but I can't put it all into one post.  I do plan on adding another post shortly that will include some of the images we captured throughout the week, but I want to leave you with an image of Ryan's protector.  This print was hung over the foot of his bed and watched over him each night.  Frankly, it's rather creepy!  I think the eyes do follow you around the room...however, he made it through!

Now, if we can just get an airplane to pick us up from the airport and actually get us home, that would be great!