Winchester Brew Works

Month: September 2015

By in beer 0

I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay!

This post is not about lumberjacks, but we do have lumber… and a lot of plaid.

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We are the Malt Mafia.

The progress we’re making now is feeling really good. We finally nailed down (pun intended) our construction contract and work has started!

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Those will be windows into our soul (i.e. the fermenters).

These are the walls at the back of the tasting room space. There will be a small office area (I gotta have somewhere to work on my spreadsheets) and then the fermentation space. These walls will be behind the bar, where we’ll also have a sink and (eventually) a dishwasher. We’ll be running cooled glycol/water through that block wall from the chiller in the back up to the fermentation room, where we have 2 jacketed fermenters and 1 jacketed brite tank on order.

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Lonely glass of beer. It needs a friend to … drink it?

We have already made a few changes to our initial plan, some of which hinge around the door sizes (I’m full of puns today). We’re trying to think ahead for bringing in more fermenters and having an easy access path to get them into position.

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We’re going to fill all the trenches with water and sail tiny boats on them.

This will be the drains of a new toilet and a new employee shower! We gotta look good to pour you beer…

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Also a drain for a mop sink, but no one cares about that.

In other news, we also got new business cards. Yep, we’re legit. Also, in case you haven’t heard (har har) we have a Kickstarter campaign ongoing – it ends this Friday Oct. 2nd, so get in there now if you haven’t!!!

Yes, people still say snazzy.

We think they’re snazzy.

By in beer, Building, Kickstarter 0

Auction Catches and Pilot Batches

A few exciting hurdles have been overcome this last week.  Because I’m a ‘list’ kind of person, here you go:

  1. Monday: launched Kickstarter and were named a Staff Pick
  2. Tuesday: attended and met the Old Town Winchester Business Association (OTWBA)
  3. Wednesday: article ran in the Winchester Star
  4. Thursday: BAR approval granted
  5. Friday: Purchased and picked up walk-in cooler
  6. Saturday: Brewed TWO pilot batches
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I love this scene of our video.

So yes, the Kickstarter (1) – AWESOME, right??? Thank you thank you thank you.  I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you’ve already contributed.  If not – obviously here’s the link.  Go do it. You will seriously be helping us out.  We started this business on a shoestring budget, and the Kickstarter is helping us afford some things that will really really help the taproom.  The list is in the Kickstarter – go read it.  Other exciting things – since we’re a staff pick, we’re one of the first projects to come up when you look in the Food category.

OTWBA (2) – a really cool group of business owners from Old Town. We’ll definitely be joining. I felt like we got the inside scoop when we went to the meeting. Most notably, we met the president of the association and a fellow female business owner – Christine Patrick of the Winchester Book Gallery. So if you see her, tell her hi for us.  And go ahead and attend the Skyline Indie Film Festival this weekend while you’re at it.

It's a slow process, ok?

We’re gonna be big, big stars.

(3) Article in the Winchester Star – yes, we’re saving some for posterity. We made it onto the front page… of the Local section.

doors for dayz

I learned what a transom is.

ghost walking tour?

No, I didnt do the walking tour. Yet.

The Board of Architectural Review (4) meeting was on Thursday afternoon down at Rouss City Hall.   Since we’re in the Historic District, any exterior changes must be approved by the city. We were lucky that our contractor (Mr. Richie Pifer Jr. of Pifer Construction) was gracious enough to step in to do the speaking at the hearing.  Basically, we want to add a door onto the side of the building.  There’s a parking lot and our future patio out there, and we want another access to it.  Besides, it also helps with all those boring things like egress and occupancy. It’s going to be a really pretty wood door with glass panels in it, which is historic enough for the board to approve. Score! Now, we can begin construction next week.

 

That compressor was seriously heavy.

It was more fun than the last auction pick because Arthur came along. He graciously drove the 16′ truck. I ate all the Cheez-its. It was your basic road trip.

The bittersweet story of the walk-in cooler (5):  we decided to take a gamble on another auction item up in Pennsylvania – a nearly new (2-year old) walk-in cooler advertised as 10′ x 16′. Of course, you never know exactly what you’re going to get. After the cooler had been loaded up into our U-haul truck, we did some math and discovered that the cooler was not as advertised. It’s a bit smaller than we wanted (8′ x 12′ in reality), so we will likely need to improvise some for all our brite (serving) tanks to fit.  Still, it’s in great condition and we can’t wait to put it together!

If Arthur had just washed it earlier...

Yes, that is a fermenter in Holly’s sink. No, she’s not happy about it.

Low country boil or a brown ale?

Our real system will be prettier. And probably won’t say ‘IGLOO’ on it.

Pilot brews (6) – now here’s a topic I could really wax poetic about.  Probably anyone opening a brewery will say that recipe development is one of the funnest parts.  Certainly funner than attending BAR and business association meetings.  I mean, the creative act of trying new beer recipes is why we got into this in the first place.  Our love of cooking is something that brought us together as friends and brought us to the brew kettle.  The only downside is, you can’t exactly taste and adjust.  You have to wait and wait and wait for those glorious little microbes to do their thing. This means the iterative process of narrowing down recipes is inherently very lengthy.  Good thing we’ve been doing this for a while!  Nevertheless, we’re still tweaking and trying some new things that we can’t wait to try on our big (comparatively) system. Plus, we are now trying to take into account one conundrum we face as a nanobrewery.  We may be too big to (cost-effectively) source enough ingredients for a 100 gallon batch that were so plentiful for 5 gallon batches. On the other hand, we have typical inventory issues on our hands and can’t order 1,643,254 different types of malt because we’re not big enough and won’t go through it fast enough.  But what is the joy of unhindered creation? You must have a box in order to think outside of it.  Whoops, I guess I waxed poetic.  Time to end this blog post.

If you haven’t joined our newsletter yet, take a little time to join in.  We’ll be sending out even more exciting stuff as we get closer to opening!