Since Buffalo Beer Week ended, we’ve been a bit on the quiet side.  Why? For one thing – we needed a rest! We attended 7 different events that week and recorded a podcast for Buffalo Eats in the middle.  So – needless to say – we were pretty whipped by the end.

At Bidwell.  This was while it was still "nice" out
The best of these days (and the most exhausting) was the first Saturday of Beer Week.  We began the day by brewing part II of our Bidwell Wild Ale (see description here) in the pouring rain at the Bidwell Farmer’s Market.  We didn’t get a huge turnout for this event, as you’d guess – but, on the positive side, the beer is aging quite nicely.  Thus far, it’s followed a similar progression as part I; no activity for the first 48 hours, followed by slight evidence of fermentation, to a vigorous fermentation by the middle of week 2, then ceasing all activity by the end of week 2.  We haven’t tasted this batch yet, but the aroma is fairly sour (seems lactic in nature), and we are hoping this batch will blend well with the heavy brett characteristic of the first batch we brewed. After a year of aging that is!

The second half of that day was spent at Ballpark Brew Bash.  And it was awesome.  The beer selection was great yes – but even better was the fact that we were slammed with people all day long wanting to know all about us.  We talked for nearly 6 hours straight, and by the end, retreated home to rest our legs and voices. 
At brew bash

But! There was still celebrating to do on this day! Because, in between the two events, we learned that our TTB federal brewing license was approved!  This was amazing for two reasons: 1) we cut the predicted lead time of 76 days nearly in half (it took us 39 days to be exact) and 2) we received this information on a SATURDAY.  Wha?  We didn’t question why of course – especially with the knowledge that, had we received our approval in 76 days instead of 39, we probably would have been delayed by – gulp – THE SHUTDOWN (our condolences to any breweries that were setback by this mess.) 
I celebrated our TTB approval by curling up on the couch with a bottle of Duvel, slowly sipping and savoring, before falling asleep.  I consider this to be a fantastic end to any day.
Since beer week, we’ve been focusing on the details that will get the brewery open.  The first order of business was our SLA application – which took much longer to submit than we’d hoped because it requires a disability insurance policy – and apparently, not many insurance companies are comfortable with start-up breweries as clients.  However! It is done, and now, we wait for approval.  Get on it New York State! Like you have better stuff to do.  Sheesh.
We’ve also been working on/completing scope details, for instance:
-          Ordering our boiler for steam, and our chiller for glycol.  How big should they be?  For how long do we expect these to last?  Where the heck are they going to go?
-          Ordering our cooler.  How big?  How high?  New/used/self-built?
-          Ordering a lift for moving materials, like grains and kegs.  Manual lift or automated?  What capacity? How high does it need to travel? To use outside or strictly inside?
-          Ordering our kegs.  What style?  What quantity?  How many will fit in our cooler?  How many 1/2s?  How many 1/6s?
-          Ordering a keg washer/filler.  Automated or manual? How fast – or, how long will it take us to wash and fill them all? What features do we need, and what can we live without? Will the kegs we ordered work with whatever we purchase?  What utilities are needed? How many people will it take to wash and fill all these kegs?
-          Instruments.  Temp probes, pH probes, CO2 meters, flow meters, dosing pumps, bag sealers (for hops).  We need this stuff!  We started working on this early because frankly, it will improve the heck out of our homebrew setup as well.  Win-win!
-          Water!  We’ll need this in the brewery right? But what do we have to worry about – water is water isn’t it?  Ha!  As brewers we have to determine what we want to take out of it and/or add to it for brewing water, for cleaning water, for boiler water.  How big does our water system need to be to get it how we want it? (We had a water plan months ago that we’ve recently updated with the release of the Water book from John Palmer.  This is a highly technical publication with a ton of chemistry, and is really geared towards advanced brewers.)
There’s obviously been a bunch of other scope we’ve worked on too – that we’ll leave out for now since they’re either really, really boring (like, even more boring than the stuff above) – or, because we’ll wait to reveal the topic at a more opportune moment. 
And finally – there’s the beer.  We brewed a ton of beer over the latter part of last summer as test batches– but we’ve mostly decided to cease tastings, in order to leave some suspense with regards to what the beers will be once we open.  This means we now have a lot of our own beer to drink – sorry! 
However, we are proud to say that most of our intended recipes are either completely done (3 to be exact) or really, really close (4).  The four beers that are close are very good (based on feedback from many of you!) – but frankly, very good just isn’t good enough for us anymore.  So, we’ll continue making necessary tweaks up until the brewery is open, and possibly even after the brewery is open– until the beers are excellent. 
We’re starting to branch out into some other potential recipes too.  We brewed a saison which we had many people tell us they really enjoyed. We recently brewed a hefeweizen (still too early to tell), and both a wit and a porter are on the horizon of beers we’ll be playing with soon.  We’ve also got a double secret collaboration in the works – stay tuned.
The opening is unbelievably close, but still seems unbearably far away. I expect, between now and the end of the year, we’ll have a lot more exciting news and information to post about our brewery.  We continue to look forward to sharing all of our plans and progress with you.

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