This can only raise the caliber of posts
I love brewing – I love taking the ingredients and making a delicious social drink. I love the experimentation and the camaraderie that exists while brewing with others. It’s a great time – lots of work but a great time. Yet, so much of getting our brewery up and running, of getting our beers into the hands of our friends and customers, requires far more than brewing. It requires renovating spaces (which is still pretty fun), updating websites (a good time), and submitting applications and doing the paperwork (less than fun). That’s the work for today – writing, reading, and working the numbers. That’s why a good way of procrastination is to write this blog post. But – that’s about it for today. Need to start blogging more…perhaps that means I should start doing more paperwork.
It’s always exciting to experiment. Exciting and terrifying! Because regardless of how much planning, number crunching, considerations, and practice…experimentation can get weird. Right now we have locally grown and hand-picked elderberries fermenting in two 20 litre glass carboys. They have been added to our wheat beer and to an oatmeal stout (that we brewed for the first time). We like to hedge our bets so while we brewed an entire batch of both beers we only added elderberries to a part.
It’s something out of the ordinary to pass by some fermenting beer when you’re grabbing some pickles from the basement or going out the door and stopping to grab your hockey sticks. Yes, as noted, we’re still brewing in the converted garage and this weather means nothing is fermenting in there – it’s in the house. Some times I surprise even myself with how the brewery has made continued inroads into my living space. I have the feeling I’m not the only one who is super excited about getting the brewhouse into a proper home.
We are currently working on our website, double-checking the ones and zeros and ensuring that we’re presenting our best virtual face to our customers!
It’s that familiar sound when the power comes on – a loud, single beep emanating from the smoke alarm. I normally associate that with summertime and aggressive thunderstorms. But it’s not summer, it’s winter. I get it up and look at my phone – it’s 4:28am. I walk downstairs to survey the situation. While looking around I hear Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” playing on my phone. It’s 4:30am and that’s my alarm. Why am I up at 4:30am on a Sunday? Because it’s 2013 and I’m trying to start a brewery.
The brew day is starting with just me. That’s because after a long meeting the night prior, some well-deserved rest is being had by the others. Aaron and Marcus crafted the recipes for today and cracked the grains for the first brew – a wheat base that will have local elderberries added during the secondary fermentation stage. It’s a cold day outside but the brewspace – a converted garage for the time being – is warm enough to brew in. Our original system, a built-from-scratch, three-tiered, propane-powered, 80 litre system was certainly not ideal in cold weather as adequate ventilation meant equally cold temperatures inside. Our inaugural brew on the current system was 11 months ago and despite the range of temperatures, has proved itself rather worthy.
I should likely talk about our visions, values, and plans given that this is the first post. Yet, we return to these things so often – to talk about how we can further our ultimate vision of local, sustainable brewing that it’s likely to come up again.
So, for now, at the end of a brew day – it’s 6:30pm; I’ll leave you with the sensory thought of bread baking in the kitchen – bread that’s been made with some spent grains from our second recipe, an oatmeal stout. It smells good.
We’re in the process of starting up Ontario’s first worker co-operative nano-sized craft brewery. Believe it!