We had a great time at the St. Paul Summer Beer Fest. The drizzling rain in the beginning only made us (and you) thirstier, and it turned out to be a great day for a beer fest. Then again, it's hard to imagine weather bad enough to ruin a beer fest.
On tap was our Lonely Blonde, grapefruit-infused Blonde, and Worthy Adversary poured through a randall of whole bean Guatemalan Dark Peace Coffee, cherry wood, and vanilla beans.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi and have a beer! We poured our last drop a minute before the fest ended, so nice job on your part. Looking forward to seeing you at the next fest, if not sooner.
On Friday, 6/24, almost two years to the day after we established our company, we took delivery of our new brewing equipment. We'd been anticipating this delivery much as 10 year old boys anticipate Christmas morning, though most 10 year olds likely aren't thinking about beer as much as we are.
The first truck backed up to the dock at 7:00, and the third and final one was unloaded and on his way home less than three hours later. Unloading, of course, is the easy part, and we spent the next nine hours using forklifts, jacks, dollies, and good old-fashioned manpower to coax the equipment into place. By 7:30 pm, the guys from Murphy Rigging (who did an awesome job -- if you ever need to move a few thousand gallons of fermentation vessels, give them a call) were out the door, and we had placed the mash/lauter tun, the boil kettle, the whirpool, hot liquor tank, the mezzanine, four fermenters, and the brite tank.
So we'll be brewing next week, right? Not quite, unfortunately. There's a lot more work to be done before we even fire up the boiler. Our list of projects seems to be getting longer, not shorter. Piece together the process piping, place the grist hopper, assemble the auger...steam piping, air lines, electrical, gas, glycol...how about getting those sinks and toilets in the bathroom?
Sounds like a lot of work -- and it is. We occasionally find ourselves wishing that our biggest problem was still just our dysfunctional hand-cranked mill or the seasonal plumbing in Pete's garage, but despite the stress and uncertainty that comes with a project of this size, the thought of Sweet Child of Vine flowing from our own Minneapolis brewery keeps us going.
We're anxiously awaiting our equipment at the end of this week, and by "anxiously awaiting," we mean "working day and night to get everything done so we have a place to put the equipment." In preparation for the arrival, we've been cleaning and painting the entire building. All of the construction--especially the concrete cutting--made quite a mess, so a thorough pressure washing was the first step. We then had to edge every cinder block in the 6,000 square foot warehouse with primer, apply two top coats of the primer, edge again with paint, and apply the final topcoat of paint. It felt like an endless job, but when we finally finished, it felt worth it, as the place (almost) sparkles now! Thanks to Kool 108, Pizza Luce Downtown, and North Loop Wine & Spirits for fueling/motivating all of our work.
Other preparations in the past couple weeks have included contractors finishing the entry stairwell, framing and sheetrocking the rooms, and applying the epoxy flooring in the production area. The epoxy floor is non-porous, food grade and cleanable. Best of all, it slopes to drains, which makes cleaning up after a brew into a simple task.
We're almost there! The equipment is scheduled to arrive on Friday -- yes, this Friday--so be sure to keep tabs on the developments via Facebook or Twitter.