Beer Activist Alert!

Hey LA Craft Beer lovers!  Would you like to enjoy more of what the Craft Beer world has to offer for LA?  Well, here’s how you can do your part…

The folks who brought you Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank, are planning a new, and even more spectacular project in Echo Park.  But…their liquor license is being protested by a small but loud group of residents.

We’ve dealt with this same sort of nonsense before, so you all know the drill.  Everyone (especially Echo Park residents) please show your support for this project by showing up to tell the City, and the Neighborhood Council how great this would be for your neighborhood.  This includes (but is not limited to the creation of new jobs!)  The Craft Beer world continues to flourish, even in our current economy, and has the ability to create community and a sense of locality for people of all walks of life.

There is a neighborhood meeting tomorrow night: Wednesday, August 18 at 7:00 pm at Barlow Hospital (Williams Hall)  2000 Stadium Way  Los Angeles, CA 90026

To learn more go to www.facebook.com/mohawkla.

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First Batch Released!

Hey y’all.  Just wanted to make a quick mention that our first beer will be released tonight at the Verdugo Bar in Glassell Park!  Come join us in celebrating with a pint of Solidarity, our Black Mild Ale.

Funny name, you say?  Well, look it up and maybe things will start to make sense.  For us it seemed apropos, given the bureaucratic battles we had to fight to bring the people of Los Angeles their own microbrewery.

Well, back to work cleaning kegs…See you all tonight, and thanks again for all your support and words of encouragement.  Cheers!!!

The First Brew!

Yes, you heard right!  After passing our Health Department inspection last week, then scrambling around to get ingredients ordered, we managed to pull together our first brew session this past Saturday, the 14th of November.

Being our first batch on this system, we figured it would be a very long, hard day of work, and we were certainly right about that…From start to finish it took us 19 hours!  Somehow though, there seems to be just a little bit less stress knowing that we have beer in our fermenters.

Here’s a few photos of the day.  We were scrambling around so much for the first half of the day though, we didn’t manage to get any pictures of the mash-in.  Oh well, there’s always next time….

Here’s my dad setting up to do some transfers.  The pump he’s working on is receiving the mash run-off and transferring it into the kettle.  The pump in front of him is pumping the hot water into the mash tun for our sparge.

You’ll notice most of these pictures look a little hazy…We were surprised at just how humid it got in there throughout the day.  Downright tropical even.

And here’s part of the source of the humidity…our sparge arm (on the right).  For those who don’t know, sparge is a German word meaning “rinse”, so we’re basically just rinsing our mash with hot water.

Here’s a better shot of the sparge arm in place and in action.  I’m looking on, getting a nice steam bath…

Actually, I’m just watching the sparge level to make sure the grain bed isn’t getting too exposed and dry as the wort flows out of the mash tun and into the kettle…

Ah, the first wort flowing into the kettle…a beautiful sight!

Ting watches as the kettle fills…

…and then…

…the boil begins!

Here’s the spent grains in the mash tun, after all of the wort has been run-off.  I know it doesn’t look like much…but remember this is a mild, so you really don’t need a whole lot of malt…

Either way, you’ll notice there is no “grain shute” from which to eject the spent grains.  So in other words, climb in and start shovelling!

Okay, well, skip ahead a few steps (because we didn’t manage to get any pictures taken in-between) and here’s our yeast pitch, ready to add to our chilled wort as it flows into the fermenter.  Pretty cool to have a giant package of yeast with our name on it!  7.5 liters worth of yeast in fact.  The homebrewers out there will recognize the 1098 number on the yeast package too…

And finally, here’s a picture of our finished wort!  Yeast pitched and ready to begin fermenting.

And the exhausted brewteam, ready to call it a day!  Until next time…

The Long and Winding Road…

Hello out there in blog land!  You’re probably wondering what on earth is going on over at Eagle Rock Brewery that they haven’t blogged in over a month.  Or maybe you’re not wondering at all…Either way, I know that everyone is getting very very thirsty, and probably a bit impatient.

Yes, it is true that we haven’t blogged in over a month, but suffice it to say that we’ve been extremely busy getting the brewhouse completely finished and ready for brewing.  In just the last 4 weeks, I’ve discovered new levels of pain and exhaustion, and a level of stress that I never knew existed.  Insanity was only the beginning.

Well, my friends, the waiting is finally almost over.  This morning I picked up our final license from the Health Department, which means that we are now officially and legally allowed to start making beer at Eagle Rock Brewery!

Today and tomorrow will be spent purchasing ingredients and planning our first brew session, and then the first brew will take place sometime before the end of the week.

Well, that’s all the energy I can muster for now.  More updates and pictures to come soon…Hang in there friends…we’re almost there!

More Painting, More Finishes

I know, I know…my posts are few and far between these days.  I do apologize for that, but what can I say?  This whole business of building a brewery is the sort of hard work that keeps you busy all day, every day, until it is done.

But we’re getting so close now…

Here’s a few pictures of what we’ve been up to.  Hopefully we’ll be able to invite everyone over very soon to see it for themselves.

The tasting room as seen from the front door. The painting in here is finished.

The tasting room as seen from the front door. The painting in here is finished.

And a view into the brewhouse from the tasting room...

And a view into the brewhouse from the tasting room...

Here's a look at the unfinished bar. This should be finished with a front and top by the end of next week.

Here's a look at the unfinished bar. This should be finished with a front and top by the end of next week.

Behind the bar where the sinks and back-bar will soon be.

Behind the bar where the sinks and back-bar will soon be.

Our friend JT works on welding a support to hold the back-bar.

Our friend JT works on welding a support to hold the back-bar. Stop staring at the welding arc...You'll burn your eyes out!

And voila! The support is finished...

And voila! The support is finished...

Here's a look into the women's restroom, with most of the tiling completed.

Here's a look into the women's restroom, with most of the tiling completed.

And the men's restroom, with no tile yet...but indoor plumbing that works!  Very exciting indeed!

And the men's restroom, with some tile...but also indoor plumbing that works! Very exciting indeed!

Brewhouse_Tanks

Here's a nice look at the brewhouse, with most of the tanks finally in their permanent locations. Oh, and also floors that have already been sealed.

Getting our bottling tank upright was a little bit precarious...

Getting our bottling tank upright was a little bit precarious...

...But we managed it. Woohoo! (anyone remember those Toyota commercials from the 80's?)

...But we managed it. Woohoo! (anyone remember those Toyota commercials from the 80's?)

Details and Painting

Now that all of our walls are up and most of the messy work is done, we’re finally able to install some of the fixtures and finishes (windows, doors, trim, etc.).  Also we’ve been able to spend a good deal of time putting primer and paint on the walls…but there’s still lots more to do.  Here’s a few pics of the latest progress…

The tasting bar with primed walls.

The tasting bar with primed walls.

The window and doors into the brewhouse are installed.

The window and doors into the brewhouse are installed.

Hallway to bathrooms, primed and ready for paint.

Hallway to bathrooms, primed and ready for paint.

Women's bathroom, painted and ready for tile.

Women's bathroom, painted and ready for tile.

The warehouse, painted and with doors.

The warehouse, painted and with doors.

Warehouse wall, with FRP.  Sinks for the brewhouse will be mounted here soon.

Warehouse wall, with FRP. Sinks for the brewhouse will be mounted here soon.

Brewhouse doorways.  Fire-shutter is over the window (center); Air Curtain is over the loading-area door (left).

Brewhouse doorways. Fire-shutter is over the window (center); Air Curtain is over the loading-area door (left).

A corner of the brewhouse, painted and tiled, and ready for the floor to be sealed.

A corner of the brewhouse, painted and tiled, and ready for the floor to be sealed.

The loading area, primed and ready to be painted.

The loading area, primed and ready to be painted.

Going Up (pt.4)…and Catching Up

Catching up indeed!  We’ve been working at a fast and furious pace for the last couple weeks and it has been a real challenge to find the time to post.  Things are looking really great though and, as you’ll see below, it’s getting easier to visualize the finished space.Vestibule Frame_01

This picture of the framing around our vestibule was taken just a few days after my last post.  The one on the right was taken on the same day, but looking back toward the entry door from the seating area.

Vestibule Frame_02The next two pictures were also taken on the same day and show the completed framing around the bar area.  In some of these pictures you’ll see the occasional tank or two…Since everyone was working so quickly, we had to move the tanks around quite a bit to keep them out of the way of the scissor lifts and ladders.

Bar Framed_02

It’s hard to believe that all of this framing happened in just a few days, but it just shows what a great construction team we have!  Actually, most of the guys on our team usually work on high-rise building projects, so our little brewery project must seem like a walk in the park for them…Bar Framed_01

The next picture is a view of our loading area, where we’ll bring pallets of raw materials in, and send pallets of beer out.  You’ll also notice that one side of the drywall has already been hung on these walls.  This helped to move things along quickly so that the grid for our drop-in ceiling could start to be hung on the other side of the drywall.

Loading Area_02The picture below is a look into the brew house from the tasting room, showing the framing for our door and window.Window Frame

Jumping ahead about a week (to sometime last week), we finished installing all of the electrical and plumbing work inside the walls pictured above, passed our rough inspections on those trades, insulated the walls, and finished hanging the drywall.  Yep…all in about one week. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, I guess I’ve spent enough time describing the above photos, so I’ll just post a bunch more below, and spare the descriptions…

Entry_InsulationTasting Room DW

Hallway DWLoading Area DW_01

Tasting Room_MuddedBar_Mudded

Ceiling Tiles_02Jer Bar_01

Equip Placement_04Steve Jer Tanks_01