About the Public Hearing

Lately lots of folks have been asking about our public hearing, and if we need people to show up for support.  First of all, I just want to say thank you to those folks for their interest and encouragement.  And second, I’d like to say…yes!  Anyone can show up (since it’s open to the public), and we would LOVE to see some familiar, friendly faces there.

If you are so inclined (and happen to be free on a Thursday afternoon), here’s the details on where & when:

Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street, Room 1020
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(Enter from Main Street)

Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm.

If you do plan to attend, be sure to bring an ID (you have to go through a security check to get into City Hall), and probably a good book (it can get pretty boring in there).  Also, once you are in the hearing room if you’d like to give a statement, you’ll be asked to give your name and address (both written & verbally) before you say your thing.

I went to observe some similar hearings earlier this week, to have a better idea of how to prepare, and they’re really not that bad.  The atmosphere is definitely “official”, but its not intimidating.  The Zoning Administrator basically controls the flow of the meeting, and is constantly asking questions and gathering information.  Most hearings last around 30 minutes, but it all depends on the complexity of the case and the amount of public interaction.  Hopefully our hearing will go pretty quickly, and (more importantly) there will be a decision at the end.

Maybe we’ll see you there, but if you can’t make it, try to send some good vibes our way!

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TTB App Submitted!

Finally mailed out the TTB application today, after many long days (and weeks to be honest) of studying those forms.  It certainly wasn’t as bad as the Conditional Use app, but still, there were many different types of forms and long pages of instructions.  Anyway…it felt good to get that sent off!

For those of you wondering, the TTB is the brach of the Federal Government that oversees the production and sale of alcohol, among other things, so that Uncle Sam gets his share.  The full name is the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, but TTB is so much easier to say…

The only application that remains to be submitted is to the California ABC (Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control), but we have to wait until our Conditional Use Permit is granted before we can apply.  Speaking of, our hearing is only one week from Thursday!  Keep those fingers crossed!

More Equipment (pt.4)

Last week we made one more trip to San Diego to pickup another batch of equipment, this time from Premier Stainless Systems.

Among the new stuff was a bottling tank (also called a brite beer tank), a grain mill, grist case & grain auger, a heat exchanger, a temperature controller box (for controlling fermentation temperatures), some brewers hose, and a most excellent hop back!

Behold!

pict00061Here’s our brite tank, still wrapped up and strapped to it’s shipping support frame.  I think we’ll leave it on it’s side until we’re ready to install it though, since moving it around is much easier this way.  This one has a 15 BBL capacity, and is jacketed for easy temperature control.

Beer will be transferred into this tank where it will be prepared for bottling and also measured for tax purposes (tax is paid per barrel of beer produced).

pict0004Here is our heat exchanger (left) and grain mill (right).  These things are seriously heavy, so we’re also going to leave them on the pallet for now.  The heat exchanger cools the wort quickly after the boil, so that yeast can be pitched and fermentation can begin.  I know it’s obvious, but the grain mill crushes the malt and cracks the grain husks so that the starches inside can be accessible and converted to sugars during the mashing process.  Grain will enter from the top into a small hopper (not shown here), get crushed by the metal rollers inside, then exit from the bottom of the mill, and drop into the grist case…

pict0001The grist case (pictured on the left) will hold all of the crushed malt for an entire mash.  Once all the malt has been milled, it will travel from the bottom cone of the grist case, into the auger, which will then carry it into the grist hydrator, and ultimately into the mash tun.

Shiny…pretty…

If you’ve been on a tour of the Alesmith brewery lately, you’ve probably noticed a similar looking grist case that’s about 4 times bigger!

I didn’t take any photos of the grain auger yet, since it is disassembled and in several boxes, but the most visible parts of it look just like a bunch of PVC pipe.  Actually that’s all it is.  PVC pipe with a length of twisted metal inside (the actual auger), which is continually twisted by a motor.  The twisting action carries the grain inside the PVC pipe from one end to the other.  Not very exciting…

But here is something very exciting…our beautiful new hop back!

pict0015We’ll be able to pack loads of hops into this baby, then pump the hot wort, straight out of the boil kettle and through those loads of hops.  The hot wort will strip the aromatic oils from the hop cones, picking up some amazing aromas, then travel out the bottom of the hop back, and into the heat exchanger.  I’m actually starting to drool right now as I think about it…

Here’s a look inside at the screen that separates the hops from the wort.  Basically this thing is like a gigantic colander, which makes it a very versatile and useful tool in the brewery.pict0014 I figure we’ll use it for hops most of the time, but there’s really no limit to what we can do with this handy little piece of equipment.

pict00131Under the screen is a space for the wort to collect as it is separated from the hop solids, and then the wort exits through the port at the bottom.

I realize some of these photos are a bit fuzzy, so I apologize.  What can I say…my camera is a quitter…

Last but not least, here is a shot of our temperature controller box.  There are five individual controllers here (with a bunch of electronics inside), which connect to individual temperature probes on the fermentation, conditioning and bottling tanks.

pict0008The controller box will also connect to our glycol chiller, so that when a cooling demand is needed at a tank, it will trigger a valve to open, sending more cold glycol into the jacket of that tank.

The guys at Premier have done a fantastic job for us, and now we have just about everything we need for a complete brewery.  Now I’m more anxious than ever to hook everything up and start brewing!!

Save The Date

Finally some good news from the city!  I just found out they have scheduled an actual date for our public hearing, March 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm, in City Hall.

Although it is much later than they had previously estimated (mid-January), it feels really good to have an actual date to put on the calendar.

Now we wait some more, and continue to prepare.  If all goes well, our Health Department permits and Building & Safety permits will be finished around the same time…