Unwrapping the tanks

Couple of fun developments today!

First, we finally got to peel the shipping plastic from our tanks and brewhouse. They looked kind of like giant stainless steel butterflies coming out of their cocoons. (Thanks to Jim's dad Jay, a former English major, for contributing that lovely simile).

Better yet, we got to boil some water! It's more exciting than it sounds...really. We ran a full one hour boil, and cycled the water through to the whirlpool.

Next up: degreasing the tanks and continuing to get ready for our first test brew.

St. Paul Summer Beer Fest

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.

 

Our Brewery Showed up!

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.

 

 

 

Brewery Construction Update: We're Almost There!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suckling Pig Roast at Solera

 
Jorge carving the Hog
If you missed the suckling pig roast at Solera June 12th, don't worry, they're doing another one.  Executive Chef Jorge Guzman will be roasting a whole hog from Hidden Streams Farm on July 17th. 
 
Jorge will be preparing a number of sides to accompany the hog, we'll be doing some special infusions to pair with meal, and Javier Matos of Javier and the Innocent Sons will be playing the blues througout the night.  There'll be good food, good drink, good music, good people, good conversation, and good times. 
 
Hope to see you there!  If you're interested, call Solera (612-338-0062) or e-mail Jorge at JorgeGuzman@solera-restaurant.com to make reservations.  The evening will start at 4:00, will only cost $50, and there are only 75 spots available, so make your reservatiosn quick because it'll fill up fast!
               
 

Taprooms, Loans, Construction...anyone else ready for a Sweet Child about now?

Is it really almost June already? Apparently. So what's new in the world of Fulton?

To start with, Governor Dayton signed the liquor omnibus bill today, which includes the "Taproom Bill", allowing Minnesota breweries to sell pints of their own beer in their own breweries. We're looking forward to occupying a barstool at all of the state's breweries -- and for you to occupy one at ours.

In far less interesting but perhaps equally important news (to us, anyway), we finally closed on our financing! It's not the most fun part of the process, but it turns out that breweries don't build themselves, and even if they did, they certainly wouldn't do it for free, so we've spent the last few months pouring over spreadsheets and documents to put together our financing package. Just last week, we put the last pieces in place. We're very happy to be moving on to more exciting projects.

After what felt like an eternity of layouts, plan review, loan documents, and contracts, we finally sunk our teeth into the heavier construction portion of our brewery. In the last few weeks, we cut and removed a four foot wide section of floor in which we'll be pouring a new slab that slopes to our trench drain. We ended up getting about 60 square feet of "bonus" demo when the concrete around the existing water main collapsed, due to 50 years of settling under the existing slab.

Digging up the Trenches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also completed framing of the new bathrooms, boiler, and storage rooms in the last week. There's still lots more to go, however. With the new brewing equipment comes the need for new supply and waste water lines, as well as new three phase electrical  to where the brewhouse will be dropped in, so we have contractors coming in to help with that.

Framing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, we've been pressure washing and filling holes in preparation for painting. Painting may seem trivial, but it's about a lot more than just looks. Sanitation is king in a brewery, and freshly painted, light colored walls make it easier to identify areas that need attention, and make them easier to clean.

Pressure Washing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In non construction-related news, sales have been taking off! We had a record month in November, then February beat that record by 17% -- only to be again by March, which was nearly bested by April. It's still hard to believe that less than 18 months after we sold our first beer, the Twin Cities is now enjoying over 1200 pints of Fulton every day. We know some of you account for a disproportionately large percentage (yes, we include ourselves in that group), but it's amazing and humbling nonetheless.

Thanks again for your dedication and support. The next several months are going to be even more exciting than the last few, so stay tuned -- we're looking forward to seeing you in our taproom, at one of the great bars carrying us, or perhaps...at a liquor store buying Fulton in bottles? Stay tuned for more updates on that...

Where to Find Information on the MN Brewery Pint Law

Hi friends,

Things are moving fast over at the Capitol! Our pint bill has a hearing on Tuesday, April 5. This is an important step, but just one of many. We still need lots of help to make this happen. We've worked with several other Minnesota brewers to compile a website that will serve as a hub for information and updates on the bill. Please visit http://mnpintlaw.com to find out where we're at and what can be done to help. And as always, please pass this on to other interested parties.

New Hardware

Thanks to the popular vote from the great folks at Firkin Fest, we're going home with the Golden Firkin! We won for the War & Peace. People must have been thirsty, because we went through 20 gallons of War & Peace, 10 gallons of Worthy Adversary, and 10 gallons of Sweet Child of Vine. Good times -- can't wait til next year!

 

St. Patty's Day Fulton Pairings @ The Sample Room!

We're all about honoring our Irish Heritage on St. Patrick's Day. A great way to do it? Head over to The Sample Room for a great Irish meal. Tickets are only $35. There are no reservations, but you can call an hour ahead (612-789-0333) to get on the waiting list. Please note that this is an open-scheduled dinner menu: you can order it anytime after 4:00 on Thursday and Friday.

And yes, we know that Guinness is the true Irish stout, but let's be honest: the Irishman in you prefers the Worthy Adversary. Also, if you don't have tickets to Firkin Fest, this will be your last chance to get War & Peace this year.

Menu:

1st course:  Irish borscht paired with Worthy Adversary
2nd course: Caraway pretzel with Lonely Blond cheddar sauce. Paired with Lonely Blonde.
3rd course: Corned beef cheek with gnocchi and roasted root vegetable. Paired with Sweet Child of Vine.
4th course: Chocolate stout Panna Cotta. Paired with cask War & Peace.

Brewery Update

Is it March already?  February certainly kept us busy (and warm) with some great events.  We had a great time at the North Washington Cafe for Neighborhood Night, and spinning records at the Corner Table for Fulton DJ night (the raspberry espresso Worthy Adversary turned out fantastic!).  We were sad we weren't able to make it to Name That Tune at the Aster, but that won't happen two months in a row!   We were happy we were able to be involved in two great fundraising events in the Month of February, and were able to help raise money for the Courage Center at Moonlight Madness and for Livestrong at an event we hosted at the soon to be Fulton Brewery called the One Rock Rally.  Both events had a great turnout, and were thrilled to be able to help give back to two great causes.  The Merge Mashup at Pizza Luce Downtown was a lot of fun, look for some more dates in the future, it was a really cool forum, good discussion, and great pizza!  And finally another big thanks to Sapor for an amazing Fulton Beer dinner.  The food was out of this world and every pairing was spot on.

In non-Fulton related news, a big welcome to Jason and Harriet Brewing to the MN beer scene.  We were excited to share a pint with Jason during his release party at the Blue Nile, and look forward to drinking many more.

Another big newsmaker in February was Surly's announcement of a plan to build a massive new brewery. Certainly big stuff, especially because the new place would include a bar/restaurant, requiring a law change that would allow Minnesota brewers to sell pints of their own beer on the brewery premises. The law change would be a great thing for the Minnesota beer scene, and we're in full support of it. To learn more about the bill and how you can help, check out our earlier blog post.

Oh yeah: there is that whole building a brewery project.  Things are certainly coming along.  We are finalizing our plans (collaborative effort between us, the engineer at DME, our architect, and our general contractor), securing our financing (through both equity and debt), and continuing to work with regulatory agencies to make sure we won't end up occupying various administration buildings.  Here are a few pictures of how things will look (subject to change/adjustments).

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