Plan Checks and Corrections…

A few posts back (about a month ago), I mentioned that our Building Plans had been approved by the Health Department, which was very exciting indeed.  Then, just a few days after our plans were stamped I took them over to the Dept. of Building and Safety for yet another approval process.

After they had our plans for three weeks, they finally gave them back with lots of red lines (corrections) on them, and a stack of papers detailing several “clearances” we need to get through before they will give us an approval.  Actually though, now that I’ve spent almost a week working through these corrections, I’m realizing that they aren’t really that bad.  In fact, most of the corrections deal with Accessibility Compliance (for wheelchair access, etc.), so it is just a matter of having the correct width for hallways and doorways, and the correct height for tables, etc.

As far as the “clearances” they are requesting, these have to do with other City agencies (like Fire Dept, Planning Dept, etc.).  Not a huge deal, but kind of frustrating from the perspective of process and efficiency.  It seems as though every process involving the City, has to go through LOTS of different departments that never really communicate with each other.  So if you want to accomplish anything, you need to spend lots of time running around and paying each department their own “processing” fee.

Oh well…After a year of dealing with this slow moving bureaucracy, at least I know what to expect, and how to navigate through it all with a little less frustration.  I guess the really important thing here, is that we are finally very close to starting our construction phase.  We just need to finish these corrections, re-submit to the plan checker, (get approval), and then pull the building permit.  I can actually start to see a light at the end of this long and crazy tunnel!

Cupping Coffees

IntelliWhen we moved into our building last year I was naturally very excited to finally have a space for our brewery.  One of the other reasons I was excited to have found this location is that it is less than one mile from the Intelligentsia Roasting Works.  I’m a huge fan of good coffee and, like good beer, I think it is worth seeking out producers that are passionate and particular about their craft.  In the world of good coffee producers, Intelligentsia is certainly one of the best.

Well, yesterday I had the fantastic opportunity to join the Intelligentsia crew for their weekly “cupping” ritual.  Cupping is a process for evaluating coffee where you observe the aroma and flavor characteristics of several different coffees side-by-side, in a fairly scientific and objective way.  This process is practiced by roasters and baristas on a regular basis to keep their palates in calibration, and to familiarize themselves with their raw materials.

The process of cupping coffee is similar in many ways to the process of evaluating beers, and even the scoring systems are similar in breaking down the body/tactile impression, aroma impression, flavor impression, and overall impression into separate categories.  After each person completes their evaluation of each coffee, everyone compares notes and talks about their impressions.  At Intelligentsia, they will use this information to determine if they want to purchase a particular lot of beans or, once they’ve purchased, the roasters will use this information to determine what the time/temperature profile will be for the roast.

Naturally, I had to bring some beer for after the cupping was complete, so I brought our Black Mild for the guys to sample and enjoy.  Thanks to James, Steve, Jared, Deaton, and the rest of the crew for the opportunity to sit-in and observe their process!  I had a great time, and I’m looking forward to some beer & coffee collaborations in the near future!