Piney River Brewing Company

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Passion and daring

In Start up on December 29, 2010 at 8:44 pm

A fellow professional in marketing referred me to the blog of Tom Asacker (www. a couple of years ago.  Asacker’s blog is delivered to my in-box on a regular basis, and even though Brian and I don’t know him personally, we agree that Asacker speaks our language.

Just this week, Asacker did a blog post that we really appreciated reading as we’ve been spending every free moment working on the wet side of our brewery like it’s our sole purpose in life.  In this particular post Asacker wrote, “Your life’s purpose is the quality of your life’s experiences.  Living life with passion is following your passion.”

Passion is a good way to describe why we are continually pushing ourselves on our big life adventure.   Asacker also quoted Kierkegaard:  “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily.  Not to dare is to lose oneself.”  We agree.

Passion and daring.  That’s what all great adventures are made of, right?

Here’s where we are with our wet side work…plugging away with the metal muncher, J-trim and recycled tin roof.  We should have the big wall of the wet side complete by the end of the week.

And if you would like to read the complete piece by Asacker, you can find it at

May you find something to be passionate and daring about in 2011.  Here’s to a great upcoming year, friends!


Tin roof, rusted…Part II

In Start up on December 26, 2010 at 9:59 pm

We must have been a good boy and girl because well before Christmas Day Santa sent us our Missouri state license to sell liquor.  Piney River Brewing Company is very much a brewery recognized by the federal and state governments.

So, everyone keeps asking when we are going to be open, when we will have beer to sale, when we’ll have beer to sample, etc.  All we can really say is that this is a process, my friends…

1)  We’re already looking into and working on the components for a larger brewing system because we know that the system we have isn’t going to be big enough to meet the demand.

2)  We’re working on marketing Piney River Brewing Company with a new Facebook page.  We also have hot off the embroidery machine Piney River Brewing Company baseball caps.  If you’re a cap wearer, you want to get one of these–soft cotton, low profile and only $15.

3)  We’re doing some final touches to the “wet side” of the brewery to get it ready for brewing with the system that we have.

Remember, this used to be a really old barn that housed, hay, pigeons, cows, mice, cats, and all sorts of  other things.  We want the side of the barn where we brew to be clean from top to bottom.  We don’t want a bunch of dust, dirt and wild yeasts floating around that could infect any beer that we make.  In between holiday travel, holiday friends and family, and all the other holiday stuff, we’ve managed to do quite a bit of interior work on the BARn.

First, we’ve been laying a sub-floor on the loft floor upstairs to level the loft floor and to keep “stuff” from falling from the upstairs floor through the ceiling downstairs.  We’ve just about finished laying 2000 square feet of Avantek, a type of plywood with a tongue and groove edge to connect the wood.

Second, we’ve closed off the room that houses our farm equipment.  We can do things like feed our cows while keeping our skid steer warm and keeping hay and dirt out of the brewery.  We insulated the walls between the the brewery and the farm room to keep heat/cool air in when we open the big doors to move our farm equipment in or out.

The side wall and door into the "farm room".

The other wall for the farm room and the side wall to the brewery office.

Finally, our work has turned toward covering the walls of the side of the brewery where we will brew, ferment and package our beer.

Brian screws tin to the walls.

The piles of old barn roof are finding their second life on the interior of the BARn where we are exposing the less rusty sides of the tin to cover and create walls.  As you can see in the above picture, we put two by fours on the walls in between the old oak beams.   We cut the tin sheets to length and screw them to the two by fours.  We have a nifty tool called the “metal muncher” that we use to cut the tin sheets to the correct length.
We have dark brown J-trim that we slide tin into to give a nice finished look to the walls. We staple the J-trim to the walls prior to putting the tin in place.

A J-trim corner.

A finished wall.

There will still be little things to do like putting wood trim up around the windows.  However, within the next couple of weeks, we should definitely be able to brew official Piney River Brewing Company beer.

Forging & Remembering, Part I

In Start up on December 5, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Our friend Charlie McKinney hasn’t been here to offer his two cents on the renovation of BARn.  But there have been many times since we started our work that we have thought of Charlie and what he might say or how he would be involved in what we are doing.  In honor of our good friend and his love of the Ozarks, we have named our amber ale after McKinney Eddy on the McKinney family farm, not too far from the home, studio and blacksmith shop where Charlie and his wife, Marian made a home and living together for many years.

After we put the giant wood doors on the front of the BARn, Brian came up with the idea of forging our own handles for the BARn doors.  If you’ve followed this blog since its inception, you know that there’s the usual way to go about doing a lot of things.  There are plenty of steel handles available at home improvement stores.  But that would be way too easy, and besides, it’s been done before.  With much help from Marian, a little Charlie channeling and in his honor we had a BARn handle forging weekend.

Marian, Calum Learn, Brian, Andy and I spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon taking four 12 inch pieces of square steel and crafting them into four unique, forged handles for the BARn door.

Marian demonstrates the technique for heating the first piece.

When the piece was red hot, another hand vise was attached to the top, cool part of the piece and with brute strength, was turned to put a twist in the middle of the handles.

Andy helps twist this piece.

Brian and Marian square up the twist.

The pieces were then heated until yellow hot in the Whisper Daddy, a small, propane heated forge.

Brian slides a handle into the Whisper Daddy.

When the handles are hot enough, they are removed from the forge and placed under the power hammer to add additional design elements, taper the remainder of the handle and create a flat piece at each end of the handle so they can be attached to the doors.  This did not happen in one heating and one use of the power hammer.  The pieces were heated and worked, heated and worked.  As the pieces would cool, we would have to reheat them to continue to work on them.  Sometimes the anvil and hand hammer were used to fine tune the work on the pieces.

Brian places a piece under the power hammer.

Brian uses the anvil and a "Charlie" hammer for fine tuning.

Tapering the handle with the power hammer.

Hammering the ends of the handles.

Four handles at the end of day 1.

Day Two…

Marian removes the pieces from the tumbler which removes fire scale.

The ends of the handles are heated in the Whisper Daddy.

We decided to stamp the handles.   The tops of two handles were stamped with the initials “PRBC”.  The tops of the other two handles were stamped “2010” for the year we established Piney River Brewing Company.  At the bottom of one handle, Marian allowed us to use the McKinney Forge “touchmark” since we collaborated with her and Charlie’s tools to make the pieces.

Joleen did the stamping in the hot metal.

Brian applies the McKinney Forge touchmark.

Andy does a little artistry of his own with a piece of soapstone and one of Charlie's anvils.

After stamping the ends of the handles, they had to be heated again to be bent around one of Charlie’s handcrafted jigs.

Brian and Calum bend a heated handle.

Four bent handles.

Flattening the end of the handle.

Brian uses one of Charlie's bending forks to add some final tweaks.

We took four handles and a lot of weekend satisfaction home this evening.  Brian’s taking the handles to his shop at Grace Manufacturing where they will be cleaned up with a wire brush, and he’ll put holes in them to hang them on the doors.

We’ll show you the finished product in part two of this blog.

Much thanks to Calum for his assistance.  Calum, a student at UMST in Rolla, is a long-time friend of Marian’s.  His father taught Marian how to blacksmith, so Calum had plenty of skill and thought to bring to the project.

Thanks also to Marian for allowing us to play in the blacksmith shop for the weekend.  It was so much fun!  Check out Marian’s personal work at

If you want to see all of the photos from the weekend at the Forge, check out the photos on the Piney River Brewing Company Facebook page.

And stay tuned for Part II.

In living color

In Start up on December 4, 2010 at 9:47 am

When we first started brewing beer, we thought about how it tied in with the Ozarks, the Big Piney River and the sweet, limestone filtered water that we drink and use in our beer.   You cannot brew a beer in the Ozarks without drawing on the history of the water that has been the life blood of the people, plants and animals that have relied on our rivers for centuries.

Many people have lived or visited the Ozarks and have enjoyed our rivers, including the Big Piney River.  We hope our beer helps them remember good times and great stories from time spent on the Piney.  We hope our beer is involved in the making of many new Ozark memories.

Brooke Hamilton, a Texas County artist, has returned to the area and set up shop as Grindstone Design Studio.  Brooke knows the Ozarks well.  Brooke used her artistic skills to create our thoughts about a logo, and we are very proud to unveil it here.

We’re going to use elements of this logo in designs for our specific beer types.  We hope it evokes memories of time spent on the Big Piney or other streams in the Ozarks–like the ones we hope Andy recollects many years from now when he’s old enough to enjoy a handcrafted beer after a day of fishing or floating on the river.

Andy's first Piney River largemouth. July 2010, age 5

And a Piney River smallmouth, too.