Piney River Brewing Company

Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page


In Start up on September 23, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Today’s blog post begins with Harvey from River Rock Redi-Mix, now semi-famous and very important in his role in building the BARn at PRBC.

Unloading concrete at the end of the South side.

In addition to providing much needed concrete, Harvey helped Brian load rebar for the floor out at the concrete plant.  When he delivered the concrete he was very friendly and helpful.  Thanks Harvey!

The South side of the BARn will be the main entrance, the stairs to the tap room, the grist room,the office and storage.  We got Harvey’s mud, and tonight…drum roll please…we have completed the concrete floor in the BARn.

Joe screeds the floor at the end of the barn.

Sam guides the mud chute

Under Joe's critical eye Brian got to use the bull float.

Under Joe's critical eye Brian got to use the bull float.

And Reuben was there helping, too.


Tonight  after spending two days pouring 25 yards of concrete, Brian happened to be at an event where he saw a doctor friend that’s been following our grand adventure.

When she saw Brian, she quickly diagnosed him, “You’re insane.”

She followed that up with a big smile and “in a good kind of way”.

Her comment made us laugh.  When you’re doing something like this, being told you’re insane might make you want to high five the insane person or people you’re adventuring with.

So it’s time to share one of the things we’ve been thinking about in doing all of this:

The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something.  It’s as simple as that.  A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to something about them now.  Not tomorrow.  Not next week.  But today.  The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.  –Tom Asacker

So we may be insane, but we’re having the time of our lives.


Pour it on….

In Start up on September 22, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Construction projects just take time.  Sometimes, the construction progress seems to inch along, especially when multiple parties have to coordinate their efforts.  There’s nothing slow about a concrete pour, though.

Getting ready for it was long and tedious.  First, we removed the manure.  Then Brian dug pretty close to China to increase the headroom in the bottom of the barn.  That led to jackhammering.  Earlier this week Brian added gravel back into the barn floor, and it was prepared for the concrete pour.

When a giant truck with tumbler full of concrete that’s getting hotter by the minute shows up at your construction site, things  happen quickly.

Some of the old side boards were torn off the side of the barn for the concrete chute to have an entrance.  Sam, Reuben, and the concrete specialist, Joe Romano, rigged up an additional length of homemade chute (one piece of old roof tin with boards added along the side) and added the homemade piece to the truck chute to reach the far interior of the barn with concrete.

Joe made sure the concrete was smooth and sloping ever so slightly to the drains along the side.  (This is the North side of the barn where the actual brewing and fermenting will take place–the wet side.)

Smoothing out the pour

Finally, Joe polished the side with a power trowel that I rented and ran out to the farm with lunch for the guys.  It’s beautiful.

We also poured concrete where our central boiler will go and around our new well.  Andy was given permission to go to town drawing with a nail on those pieces of concrete.  We’ve got his name and hand prints in the central boiler concrete.  On the well concrete Andy wrote his name, the date, initials for Brian and I, hearts with an arrow through them and a bow that the arrow was shot from.  (That’s what’s happens in about 15 minutes when you cut a 5-year old artist loose with a sharp nail and some hardening concrete.)

As the sun was setting, Brian and Andy hauled gravel into the South side of the barn, and  Sam, Reuben and Joe readied it for the concrete truck that’s set to arrive at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Another day of pouring is headed our way.

And the word is that pine logs are loaded and to be delivered to Houston Wood Treating tomorrow morning.  They will be cut and treated over the next few days and readied for pick up early next week.  The West end of the barn is ready for wood, doors and very large picture windows next to the doors.

The door and window spaces have been framed up.

Today I had a moment…I realized, “I don’t have to worry anymore about this barn falling down.  We’ve saved it.”

Barn naked!

In Start up on September 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm

I rounded the bend on our road this evening about 12 hours from the time I left this morning and saw this!

BARn...fully exposed backside!

Reuben and Sam flat got with it today!   (Not that they don’t on most days, but this, the barren barn side, looks pretty impressive.)

After Sam and Reuben had a week off to work on another project, and Brian had a week off to fish in a tournament (no, I didn’t take the week off…I stained the other window, picked up rocks, etc.), Sam and Reuben returned this week and finished up the roof and the boards and battens on the front of the barn.  All I can say is, ain’t she a beaut!

See the pulley left hanging from the roof?

The doors that you see in the center of the barn will be mirrored by the same type of doors on the other side of barn.  We plan to throw both sets of doors open to the breeze when entertaining at the BARn.  On the West side of the barn, the doors will open to large porch.   When you walk up or drive up to the barn, the glass in the doors will allow you to see all the way through.

Sam thinks we should paint the doors brown.  I want to paint the doors the same color of “rustic red” as the roof.  Brian’s leaning toward it, too, but he’s kinda scared of color.  Of course, I’m not at all intimidated by color (that’s why we make such a great team).  What do you think about the door color?

Looking "through" the barn from the East to the West

There’s a lot of wood to be replaced in the next couple of weeks.  We’re going to pour the concrete floors in the barn next week, too.  For a few nights, the barn loft pigeons have a roost with a heckuva view!

The pump jacks are back!

A weekend of labor

In Start up on September 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm

This Labor Day weekend included some serious labor from the PRBC partners.

We completed our application for the TTB (Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau).  The information collected for the application is monumental and daunting.   The TTB application should be submitted when the brewery is 95 days from completion.  When the TTB application is approved, we will have Uncle Sam’s seal of approval to produce and sell beer on a commercial level.

The TTB is concerned with collecting their taxes on their beer, and completing the application required meticulous collections of paperwork that took a lot of time.  When our TTB application was complete, we had a stack of papers several inches thick that we mailed in a priority mail box from the Bucyrus Post Office (for the record, it was Brian’s first time inside the office).  We provided numerous personal references, bank statements, $1,000 bond, and proof that we are recognized by the State of Missouri as an LLC.  Beyond committing to hauling old hay bales out of a barn loft in 100 degree weather, the TTB application is commitment in ink.

Brian gets all the kudos for filling out the TTB application and the Missouri application for licensure, too.  He compared the process to some of the projects he completed for his Master’s degree—a lot of thinking, a lot of paperwork, a lot of organization, a lot of agonizing over “when will I get this done”.

We celebrated the completion of the TTB application by sitting at the fire pit with a cappuccino stout from a California microbrewery and listening to the Cardinals beat the Reds (again).

The TTB application was the mind labor of the weekend, but a good Labor Day weekend wouldn’t be complete without some hard backbreaking labor, too.

I did a little hard labor myself, moving dirt and rocks from the many feet of trenches we had all over the yard, but it really pales in comparison to Brian and the jackhammer.

In an attempt to gain some additional headspace inside the barn, Brian used the skid steer to dig deep down along the foundation.  Some of the concrete at the base of the foundation is very rough and needed to be removed in order to not lose space along the walls when the concrete floor is poured.

Brian happened to mention the need of a jackhammer to a neighbor, and lo and behold, the neighbor had a jackhammer he was happy to loan to the project.  This big ol’ contraption contains a “90-pound” jackhammer, and the 90-pound actually refers to the weight of the jackhammer.

The jackhammer motor

For several hours and through more than one tank of fuel, Brian jackhammered away on Sunday.  He’s pretty sure he’s never worked that hard in his life.  I’ll drink to that.

We had some friends stop in to take a look at our BARn progress, and Brian was anxious for all of them to lift (or try to lift) the jackhammer.  It was cathartic BARn show and tell for Brian.   Unfortunately none of our friends offered to come back and help finish the jackhammer job.  They have, however, been very willing to work as taste testers in research and development at the brewery.  After the 90 pound jackhammer, Brian is pretty sure that no matter how hard he may work brewing beer, it will never equal the work he did with the jackhammer.

Brian stood in the skid steer bucket so he was level with the concrete that needed to be removed.


If you build it, they will come

In Start up on September 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Or so the baseball movie went.

The saying may be true about microbreweries, too.

On Saturday morning, we were up early with various farm/home related work plans.  By 9 a.m. I was in the garden cutting back the raspberry canes and pulling out some spent veggie plants.  Brian was transferring some home brew from fermentation units to kegs and cleaning homebrew stuff on the front porch.

About 10 a.m. we both heard four-wheelers on our road, and to our surprise, they pulled up our driveway instead of driving down into the Walnut Grove.

Two men got off the four-wheelers, and Brian knew who one of them was.  The other was someone we had not met, but they were both “neighbors”.

“This is just what this place needed,” the newly met neighbor said enthusiastically, regarding Piney River Brewing Company.

Of course, we’re still quite a few weeks (or months) out from an official brewery, but there was some serious excitement from these gentlemen.  They had heard about PRBC from another neighbor, and they had to come check it out for themselves.  The BARn met with their approval—the appropriate look for a brewery in Texas County.  One of the neighbors, a fan of a Texas-based microbrewery, plans to bring family from out of town for a visit over the Thanksgiving holidays.

These neighbors are also pleased with the fact that they are within four-wheeler riding distance.  So, in addition to the hitching post, I guess we’ll have to have parking for ATV’s?

After their mini-tour and departure for home, Brian and I had mini panic attacks into the early afternoon thinking about how we are going to brew enough beer….

And I’m waiting for an area aviation enthusiast to request a landing strip in one of our fields.

Old barn, new face

In Start up on September 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Our first pile of treated lumber has been exhausted, but the BARn has a new face.  Ta-da!

“Battens”, the skinny boards that go over the seams between the big boards (like the original look of the barn, as in “board and batten” style) need to be added as well as a few doors, but you can see that the new face of the barn is quite nice.  And don’t miss the cool window up at the top of the BARn.

We climbed up to the loft this evening to take a gander of the window from the inside, and holy cow (!) our East end, upstairs doors were propped up against the wall there.  All I can say, when you see them installed, you’re gonna be impressed.  Or, just drop by, and you can take a really steep ladder climb up into the loft for your own view of things….

While I was snapping photos this morning before work/school, Andy needed a photo in front of the barn, too.  He may be too young to drink beer, but he’s really digging the construction going on in “the brewery”.  And, yes, Andy knows and understands that terminology, too.  What can you expect; when Andy was three he requested that we do “cheers” before dinner, as he raised his milk cup to us.  “Like I do at school with my friends,” he explained to his wide-eyed parents.

So, to a new face for our old barn–Cheers!