Piney River Brewing Company

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

We Heard It Would Be Like This

In The Beer on May 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Piney River Brewing Company was busy with a bunch of new folks at the BARn this past weekend.  We enjoyed meeting all of them and sharing our beer with them.

As we have blogged here, you know that we are constantly trying to keep the beer in stock, but when you fill a bunch of growlers in a weekend, sell a few pints and share some samples, a 10-gallon system won’t cut it.

We started out on Saturday with all five beers on tap.  The first beer to go was Old Tom Porter.  Brian was attempting to fill a growler for one of our Cabool fans when the keg blew.  That customer must have really wanted that porter because he went ahead and drank out of a pint glass what was remaining from the bottom of the keg. (And took home a growler of McKinney Eddy Amber Ale instead.)

The Ozark Firefly Wheat was the second keg to go.  That was after one of our customers told us that it was better than a leading American style wheat on the market. (Woo-hoo!)

The Missouri Mule IPA was the final keg to go…I was pouring up samples for our last group of customers, and they got the last sputters of IPA.  (I was really glad I had enjoyed a pint of that IPA earlier in the day!)

After the visitors cleared, and Brian and I were cleaning up the brewery (which involved cleaning several newly emptied kegs), we were exhilarated by the new craft beer lovers we met and amazed at the disappearing beer.  We know that someday when we have the tap room open, we will have special “tap room only” beers that will be available until they are gone.  We also have been honest with our customers that on a 10 gallon system, we will do our best to keep everything in stock, and it’s here…until it isn’t.  After running out of three beers this past weekend, Brian said, “We heard it would be like this.”  It made us laugh.  Perhaps we’ve reached another brewery milestone; other small breweries regularly talk about running out of beer.

We still have McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and Bronzeback Pale Ale on tap.  Don’t worry!  We do have all of our other beers in various stages from fermentation to conditioning.

The BARn will be closed next Saturday, June 4th, because we want to make sure that we have plenty of beer on tap and tasting it’s best in two weeks.  Plus, we are going to attend the auction of our friend Charlie McKinney’s blacksmith shop here in Bucyrus.  We will be open and fully stocked next Saturday, June 11 from 12 to 4 p.m.

One of our new craft beer loving friends actually has family that is a neighbor (just over the river and up the hill, which constitutes a close neighbor in the Ozarks).  She came with her family this weekend, and here’s a photo from their deck…enjoying a little McKinney Eddy Amber Ale just a little ways upstream from where it was brewed and a little further upstream from its namesake.

To Michelle and all of our other Piney River Brew loving friends out there–Cheers!


Memorial Weekend

In Beer Events on May 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm

It’s been a somber week in Missouri–checking on family members and friends and saying a prayer for of our fellow Ozarkers that are dealing with losses.  We would like to give a tip of our hat to the men and women from Texas County that have personally assisted with disaster efforts.  Thank you!

In the Ozarks many people spend Memorial Weekend on the river, and currently, the level of rain has rendered the rivers fast and murky.  I don’t think we’ll do a float trip this weekend, but we will have the brewery open on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.  This time next year, you should be able to fill your coolers or your kegorator with all kinds of Piney River Brew straight from your local purveyor of fine adult beverages, but this weekend, you’ll have to get a PRBC growler.  You’re in luck, too, because we have five types of beer (until we run out)–Ozark Firefly Wheat, McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, Bronzeback Pale Ale, Old Tom Porter and Missouri Mule IPA.

Stop in, fill your growler, sit and have a pint if you are so inclined.  While the rivers may not be suitable for floating, the weekend is supposed to be beautiful one.  You could hike a trail, visit a state park, go horseback riding or bicycling in any number of places in our great Ozark outdoors.  You might as well enjoy a fresh, handcrafted beer this weekend, too.

We will be enjoying the great outdoors this weekend and a little St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball on the radio.   From our family to yours–Cheers!

An Official Brewery Meeting

In Start up on May 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Pull on your good jeans.  Find a shirt with a collar.  Grab a beer.  It’s time for a serious, official brewery meeting.

We had one of our first official brewery meetings yesterday.  Since we are the owners of our LLC we don’t have a lot of “official” meetings.

For our official meeting, we took four growlers of Piney River brew up to Grellner Sales and Service, a distributing company in Rolla, for a meeting with Rodney Edwards.  The folks at Grellner were recommended to us by the owners of the Public House in Rolla, and our local package store, The Pit Stop in Houston, has also worked with them for many years.  Grellner is a family owned business that was started by Rodney’s grandfather in the 1940s.

There’s something to be said about a meeting that involve tasting and enjoying lots of beers.  After sampling all of our beers (Rodney kept the growler of porter to finish off at home), we even pulled out some of the craft beers that Grellner distributes to compare and contrast our Pale Ale and IPA.

Grellner, which began as a trucking company, has been in beverage distribution for over 50 years.  They have handled large beer companies and currently distribute MillerCoors products.  Their biggest craft beer is Boulevard out of Kansas City, and they also handle Big Sky Brewing out of Missoula, Montana.  They were handling O’Fallon until they stopped producing beer, and as of May 19, 2011, they are the first distributor in the in the US to handle Piney River Brewing Company.

Greller’s distribution territory covers much of the Ozark region from South Central Missouri to West Central Missouri.  Grellner does not cover all of the state, but Rodney has expressed willingness to introduce us to other distributors throughout the state as the demand grows.  So it’s okay to go ahead and ask your favorite pub, package store or restaurant when they are going to have Piney River brew available.

Rodney signs the contract.

Brian signs the contract.

A post-signing toast.

It’s been a heckuva week for us at Piney River Brewing Company.  On Wednesday morning, we found out that our SBA loan was approved.  On Thursday evening we signed a contract with our first distributor.  This morning we woke up to find out that we were listed by The Daily Meal as one of the “10 Top Nanobreweries”. (Our friends at Hess and Bat Creek in Bowling Green also made the list.)  Check it out:

Brian and I have been in the working world for many years, but it wasn’t until the past few months that we woke up every morning wondering what sort of wild, new thing was going to happen that day.  Owning a brewery is definitely not overrated!

The Significance of May 18th

In Start up on May 18, 2011 at 10:36 pm

May 18th is historically a good day in the life of Joleen and Brian Durham.

On May 18th in 1996 we college sweethearts married.  We have spent all of our anniversaries together, and many times we have spent them doing some sort of fun outdoor activity.  (Which is WAAAY more fun than an actual wedding—what were we thinking back then?!)

May 18, 2011, our 15th year in the great adventure of marriage, was spent on the Big Piney River.  This is not a first, but it was the first time we had craft beer in a can in the boat.  No, it was not craft beer from Piney River Brewing Company, it was Fat Tire from New Belgium and Buffalo Sweat from Tallgrass.  There will be Piney River Brew in cans on the Piney later this summer…but more about that later.

A float on a river anywhere is great.  This particular float also involved dozens of smallmouth bass, goggle-eye, long eared sunfish and pumpkinseed tugging our lines which takes an ordinarily great river float to a new level of greatness.  Add canned craft beer shared with your best friend, and the fun becomes priceless!  (It’s pretty funny, too, when the conservation agent checked our fishing licenses before we took off, and after looking at them, he asked when the brewery was open.)

Brian with a goggle-eye

Joleen with a long-eared sunfish

Our float was from the Dog’s Bluff river access (which is just downstream from the brewery for those of you that don’t live in Texas County) to the Mineral Springs river access.  About halfway through that float we passed right through McKinney Eddy on the McKinney farm.  Here are some views from McKinney Eddy.

You may wonder why I’m spending the evening of my 15th anniversary blogging.  Well, May 18, 2011 will also hold special significance in our lives because it was early this morning that we received a call from our banker, Sandy Howard at Progressive Ozark Bank in Houston.  She called to let us know that our SBA loan for Piney River Brewing Company was approved!

All of the things we’ve been working toward in the past few months will finally come about thanks to this loan.  And, as far as we’re concerned, Sandy is the rock star of the banking world.  Sandy had never done an SBA loan before, but we were able to do it with her.  When the SBA called her with the news, they were cheering her in the background of the phone call.

We have banked with Progressive for almost as many years as we’ve been married; they gave us our first home loan.  Truly, there is not enough we can say about Sandy and everyone at Progressive.  It’s great to bank with a place that believes in their local community (and some of them like craft beer, too!).

After 15 years of marriage adventures, I think the fun is just beginning.  Insane?  Heck no!  We’re having the time of our lives.

Have You Seen the Sign?

In Start up on May 17, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Since early March when we first cracked open the brewery door just a tad, we’ve heard from people how we need signage.  Of course we need signage!  It’s “on the list”…the same list that has things like bigger brew house, canning system, tap room and bathrooms on it.

Our lack of signage was driving John McCarty of McCarty Signs in Houston quite crazy, too.  After all, he’s in the business of signage.

When we bought our property in 1998, there was a sign at the driveway that said “Little House on the Piney”.  The sign was actually painted by my brother, Josh.  A few years after we moved in Josh redesigned the picture on the sign and repainted it.  It was pretty worn out and needed to go.  Since we’ve moved beyond the Little House on the Piney to the brewery on the Piney, John used our logo to make this nice new sign.  (He also made a cool sign for our “front” brewery door, too.)

At the bottom of the sign is a smaller sign that says “open” or “closed”.

So the sign says “open”, but it’s still limited weekend hours until we get our tap room completed.  I promise we are working on it.  We actually bought some materials to complete one of the bathrooms last week.  However, the beer is still the most important thing, and we’re still spending the majority of our brewery time brewing.

You can come check out our new sign, new T-shirts, new IPA this Saturday, May 21 from 1 to 4 p.m.  We’ll be “OPEN”.

And yes, we also know that we need a sign out at the end of Walnut Grove Drive.  It’s on the list.

Support Your Local Brewery

In Beer Events on May 10, 2011 at 10:25 pm

There is a phrase that the Brewer’s Association has popularized among craft breweries—“Support Your Local Craft Brewery”.

If you’ve ever had the freshest of craft beers that can only come from a local brewery, you will definitely want to support your local craft brewery.  In today’s marketplace, there is a great push toward shopping at your local mom and pop stores, using locally sourced products and eating locally grown foods.  You might as well have locally brewed beer in your fridge.

At Piney River Brewing Company we really appreciate all of the friends old and new that have supported their local brewery by filling growlers, buying pints and hats in the past six months.  We are so excited because this weekend, we have the opportunity to support another local craft brewery—Mother’s Brewing in Springfield.  Owner and entrepreneur, Jeff Schrag, made the decision to start a brewery in Springfield around the same time we starting thinking about opening a microbrewery in the Ozarks that celebrates everything about the Ozarks.  Like us, Jeff’s background is business, but he’s always enjoyed a distinctive beverage.

While Piney River Brewing Company is doing everything it can to become the little nanobrewery that could (become a bigger brewery), Mother’s Brewing is big from Day 1 operating on a 30 barrel system in a former bread factory.   That’s a far cry from a barn down by the river!

Mother’s Brewing is getting ready to blitz Springfield with their beer as they become the local craft brewery of Springfield, MO.  After having the opportunity to meet Jeff and some of his staff members , Piney River Brewing Company is going to be closed this weekend so we can attend the first ever Mother’s Festival.

You can read all about this Festival here:!/event.php?eid=184414628268218

We hope you are able to join us in welcoming another craft beer to the state of Missouri.  Cheers!

The Mule

In The Beer on May 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm

We were at the TCMH Healthcare Foundation’s annual Chili Cook Off last November when I spied a piece of art work I could not live without.  Lanie Frick, a Texas County artist that is known for paintings of farm animals and the Ozarks, donated an oil painting of a mule.  When I saw that painting, I knew I had to have it for the BARn.  Brian got into a heated bidding war with one of the County Commissioners, but I got my mule.  (And we raised a little money for charity, too—bonus!)

At the time, I knew that mule would be an excellent piece for the BARn.  Little did I know that we would decide that a great name for an India Pale Ale in the Ozarks would be “Missouri Mule”.

IPA (as India Pale Ale is referred to) is a beer that is chock full of hops—aroma, foretaste, middle of the taste, after taste, you’re gonna taste hops.  Now, there are lots of different kinds of hops, so there are numerous hop aromas and flavors.  Central to our IPA are Glacier and Centennial hops, two American varieties.

After learning that Missouri was a state that raised many prize mules throughout the years (after all, the mule is the Missouri state animal), and after learning that mules are renowned for their ability pack bigger loads for longer than any other animal, it did seem really fitting that a beer brewed in the Ozarks and packed full of hops would be called “Missouri Mule”.  And this beer packs!  It’s got 70 IBUs and is 7.2% ABV.

Missouri Mule is a pretty beer, too!

Although we’ve enjoyed IPAs in our years of beer drinking, we weren’t sure if there was a big need or want for a hop-centric beer.  IPA drinking is growing faster than any other style of beer in the US—by 40% in the first 13 weeks of the year!  As craft beer lovers have filed through the BARn door, we’ve been told that they are thirsty for IPA.   We hope Missouri Mule will help quench that thirst just a little.

Missouri Mule will be on tap for the first time this weekend, Saturday, May 7th, and we’ll serve it until it runs out from 1 to 4 p.m.  I don’t have my Lanie Frick mule painting hanging on the wall yet, but you can check out this great label graphic that Brooke Hamilton of Grindstone Studio  designed for us.  Have I mentioned that Brooke never ceases to wow us with the things she comes up with for Piney River Brewing Company?

Missouri mules hauled hundreds of wagons across the West and packed supplies in World Wars I & II.  For decades, mules were also the most reliable Ozark farm hands.  Like a Missouri mule, you can rely on our handcrafted India Pale Ale.  This IPA packs a hop explosion that will not let you down.


In Start up on May 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Ever since our very cool Piney River logo was developed (Brooke Hamilton of Grindstone Studio—Thanks Brooke!), I’ve thought about putting it on a T-shirt.

The logo is pretty color heavy, and I did not want T-shirts that had more weight in paint than cotton.  At the Craft Brewer’s Conference we met Graphic 22 or as they are known in brewery circles, The Hopman.  They specialize in a full-color print that blends with the shirt for a soft feel and look.  Iain Hursey, my sales guy, hooked me up with the first of what I imagine will be many more T-shirts.


The slate colored shirt is an “American Apparel” lighter weight cotton shirt that’s got a more tapered fit, which the ladies seem to prefer, but the dudes can wear this one, too.

The sand colored shirt is a “Gildan” preshrunk cotton shirt that has a traditional T-shirt fit.

Both T-shirts have the simple, red Piney River Brewing Co. logo in red on the left chest.

Add the shirts to our collection of embroidered organic cotton ball caps and our pint glasses, and we’ve got merchandise folks.

Then, when I was buying that cool poster at the Decemberists’ concert, I admired their cool merch display using some type of coated wire with the T-shirts, posters, displayed.  In true Ozark fashion, I came home, found a couple of unused piece of cattle panel, and wa-la, one perfectly BARn merch display.

Come see us at the brewery.  Come get your very own Piney River Brewing Company T-shirt, while they last.

(For those of you that follow this blog that may want merch but won’t be here at the BARn any time soon, we will have a web store available on our website soon.  A web store “is on the list”.)

Brewers Having Fun

In Beer Events on May 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

There are times in life when you do crazy things that are definitely not regrettable.  For example, last week we headed to St. Louis in the middle of the work week, five-year old in tow, for a concert by The Decemberists at The Pageant.

A lot of beer has been brewed and fermented and kegged  in recent months while The Decemberists sang their stories in the BARn.  When we saw they were going to be in St. Louis for a concert, we knew we wanted to attend.  To add a little icing to the cake Sara Watkins (formerly of Nickel Creek) was playing with the band, and Justin Townes Earle was the opening act.

To add decorations to the icing on the cake there’s a great St. Louis restaurant, Pi, across the street from The Pageant.  You know it’s a good restaurant when Schlafly brews a beer specifically for the restaurant—Schlafly Pi Common (and it was smooth).  They have a very nice craft beer list at Pi.  We got to try some of the new Stone beer that’s found its way to Missouri as well as some offerings from other local craft breweries like Urban Chestnut and Charleville.  (My review of the Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale is..the beer abides.)

The Pageant is a very nice and intimate venue (and they serve craft beer, too).  Justin Townes Earle had one of the most unique and memorable guitar sounds I’ve heard.  He was fun.  Sara Watkins was channeling her inner rock star in The Decemberists.  And The Decemberists as a whole were unforgettable.  As the band began singing “Calamity Song” Brian leaned over and said to me, “I feel like I should be brewing.”

Speaking of brewing, The Decemberists were definitely on the iPod while our latest brew was being concocted—Missouri Mule IPA.  If you like hops, you’re gonna like the 70 IBU hop kick in this one.  And with a 7.2% ABV, it’s got another bit of kick in it, too.

Several people have requested a Piney River Brewing Company IPA, so we’re going to be serving our first 10 gallons of Missouri Mule this Saturday, May 7th from 1 to 4 p.m.  while it lasts.

We got one of these cool posters to hang in the brewery, too.