Thanksgiving Update

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had a nice feast of turkey and fixins (paired of course with appropriate beers).  We smoked a big leg of pork, which paired really well with our Black Mild.  And the herb-roasted turkey we made paired nicely with the malty Thanksgiving Dubbel we brewed a few weeks ago.

Just before the holidays hit we had a little bit of good news from the Planning Department regarding our application for an alcohol permit.  The gentleman who was performing our environmental review notified us that he had finished our file, and there were no major problems.  He did make a few recommendations which we’ll have to incorporate into our building plans, such as low-flow bathroom faucets (with automatic shut-offs), low-flow toilets, etc.  Also, since we’re very close to the Glendale Freeway, we’ll need to install high-efficiency air filters to keep the dirty freeway air out of our building.

Now we just have to wait for a 30 day public comment period before our file is handed over to the zoning administrator, who will then schedule a public hearing.  The City is estimating mid-January for our public hearing, so hopefully they don’t delay us any further and we can open our doors in early spring of next year.

More Equipment (pt.3)

Our keg filling head finally arrived today.  It was meant to ship the other day with our bottling line, but apparently it was out of stock.  Anyway, it’s here now!

keg-filler_01

 

 

 

 

 

It looks a bit like some science fiction torture device with all those levers, valves, knobs and gauges…I’ll have to figure out how to make it work without maiming myself…

 

Our next shipment will probably come in another few weeks, since some of the tanks are still being fabricated, but we’ll definitely post more pictures when it all arrives.

Planning Dept. Update

Small news, but good news…I spoke with one of the people in the Planning Department today, and he was just starting to review our file!  Believe it or not, we actually submitted our applications in mid-August(!), so that gives you an idea of the amount of inefficiencies we’ve been struggling with.

Anyway, the good new is that he’s working on it now, and should be finished by the end of the day.  He’s working on the first part of the review process for an alcoholic beverage permit, which is an Environmental Assessment.  The next step is a public comment period, after which the case is sent to a Zoning Administrator for further review.  Then the ZA will finally schedule a public hearing for our case, and hopefully issue our permits.

In the meantime, we’re trying to get our plans submitted to the Health Department so that we don’t have to wait for one process to finish before we start another.  Multitasking our way through bureaucracy!  Hey that has a nice ring to it…

More Equipment (pt.2)

It took longer than expected, but yesterday we finally received some more deliveries of our new equipment!  Our bottling line, labeling machine, flowmeters, glycol chiller, and a big drum of glycol all arrived throughout the day on three different trucks.  It’s pretty exciting to see the shiny new equipment, and it somehow makes everything feel more real.  I can’t wait to actually get some beer moving through this stuff!!!

 

Just like unwrapping a giant Christmas present!

Just like unwrapping a giant Christmas present!

Ooo...Just what I wanted...a 6-head manual bottling line!  Thanks Santa!

Ooo...Just what I wanted...a 6-head manual bottling line! Thanks Santa!

flowmeters

Hooray for flowmeters!  These will help us measure the volume of liquids as we’re moving large amounts of water, wort and beer around the brewery.  Obviously very important for consistency in brewing, but also pretty important for Uncle Sam.  The tax man always wants to know exactly how much finished beer is being sold, and even being moved around the brewery from tank to tank.  These two look like a sturdy, trusty pair though – I’m sure they’ll do a great job.

 

 

labeller_01Our manual labeling machine.  Looks pretty basic, but also pretty cool.  A bottle lays horizontally across the rollers in the front and the roll of label-stickers sits on the rollers in the back.  Crank the handle and the label rolls smoothly onto the bottle.  Grab a new bottle and repeat (about 100,000 times).  Yep, we know…it’s a LOT of manual labor…but isn’t that the beauty of making a hand-crafted, artisanal product?  The fact that you get to participate in and enjoy every part of the process?  And doesn’t that ultimately result in a better finished product?  Yeah, we think so too!

 

chiller_01Our beautifully shiny, new glycol chiller unit.  This one is 5HP and should easily cool all of our tanks while still having enough cooling capacity for us to expand and add more tanks in the future.  This thing works by cooling down a tank full of glycol to a very low temperature, and then pumping that glycol to stainless steel pipes that run along the outer jacket of the fermenters and conditioning tanks.  Any heat in the beer inside those tanks is transferred to the cold glycol running through those pipes.  That warm glycol is then pumped back to this unit to be cooled down, and eventually sent on the same journey again.

chiller_02Here’s the control panel for the chiller unit.  To the right of the unit (in the background) is the 55-gallon drum of glycol, which is basically like a food-grade “antifreeze” (or a liquid with a lower freezing point than both beer & water).  The two pipes sticking out on the front left of the unit are where the glycol will ultimately flow into and out of the internal tank.

This guy will definitely keep our fermentations cool and our yeast happy!

 

We now have almost everything we need for a fully operational brewery.  In a few more weeks we’ll probably be receiving our heat exchanger, bottling tank, hop-back, grist case, mill, auger, and a handful of other odd & ends.  Now, if we can just get the city to move a little faster with our permits……