Piney River Brewing Company

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

When to Expand Your Nanobrewery

In Start up on June 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I’ll admit, it felt a little insane at Piney River Brewing Company last Saturday.

After moving in the fermentation vessels and bright tank, parts of the brewery looked like an explosion had happened.  We had to relocate tables, kegs and other miscellaneous items.  We needed to sweep the floor and do some rearranging (this will happen several times over the upcoming weeks, I’m sure).  Brian and I ate a hearty breakfast and hit the brewery by 10 a.m., cleaning and moving like mad folks.  We readied our slightly primitive bathroom–electricity, flushing toilet and hand sanitizer.  There was beer to taste and some slight panic over the dwindling supply of growlers.

Our first customers showed up right about 1, and they flowed through the door all day long.  Some were new patrons; some were returning patrons.  We filled new growlers.  We filled old growlers.  We served pints and samples.  We started the day with every beer but our pale ale on tap.   We didn’t keep count but somewhere around 50 or so people were in the local unadvertised nanobrewery last Saturday.

When the dust settled at the end of the day, there were five empty kegs (five gallon) waiting to be cleaned.  There wasn’t a drop of IPA or wheat to be had.  There were just partial kegs of porter and amber ale left.  The big cooler where we keep our kegs (“the ultimate beer fridge”) was EMPTY.  It hasn’t been empty since January!

I’m sure you’ve heard that the cobblers children have no shoes.  Well, the brewer’s wife has no beer either.  After the end of our busiest Saturday ever, Brian and I didn’t even touch our own beer because the supply is too scarce, and we want to share it with our local craft beer lovers.  We toasted our great day with Boulevard’s Double-Wide IPA.  We would be remiss if we did not give a big, huge thanks to everyone that came out and supported their local craft brewery this past Saturday.  Thank you!

As we locked up the brewery about six, Brian said, “I’ve always heard that a brewery should not expand until they are selling out of everything they make.”  Saturday’s big day made us feel even better about the new equipment in the brewery and the new equipment we have on its way.

Sunday became a triple brew day at Piney River Brewing Company.  Two batches of McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and one batch of Bronzeback Pale Ale were fermenting away by nightfall–a whole whoppin’ barrel of beer.  We really can’t wait until our new brewhouse is in place–just one brew will equal 7 barrels of beer.  (And Brian shouldn’t catch his shorts on fire with that brewhouse either.)

We won’t have everything on tap this Saturday, but we will be able to fill growlers with Ozark Firefly Wheat and Missouri Mule IPA.  There’s some amber ale and porter on tap for pints, too.  If you need craft brew for the upcoming holiday, or if you just need a place to cool off where you can enjoy a handcrafted beer, stop by the BARn from 1 to 5 p.m.  For fermenting purposes, Brian keeps the BARn a cool 68 degrees!



Nanobrewery to Microbrewery

In Start up on June 23, 2011 at 11:49 pm

It’s late, and the day job will come around real soon, but here’s the photo that Brian e-mailed to me this afternoon–

That’s a 15-barrel fermentation vessel and a 15-barrel bright tank headed to the BARn.

Brian’s buddy, Jamie Smith, helped out in the whole process of unloading the equipment and putting it into the brewery.  Thank goodness.  Unlike many of the things we’ve done in the process of building a brewery, this was not just a two-person job.

Moving the bright tank into the brewery.

That's one happy brewer!

Even Barney stuck around to take in the BARn happenings.

The fermentation vessel unloading and setting up were a little more heartstopping because they were on their sides.  They had to set up before going into the brewery.  It was a close fit from the floor to the rafters.

I’m a little surprised that the brewer didn’t want to sleep in the brewery tonight with his shiny new tanks, but after admiring them over a beer, we locked them up and walked to the house.

We’re looking forward to showing our new tanks to anyone that comes by the brewery this Saturday.  We’re still a nanobrewery, but we’re starting to look a little more like a microbrewery.  And I’m happy to report that we’ve now got a flushing toilet, too.


Building a Brewery in the Ozarks

In Start up on June 20, 2011 at 9:52 pm

“So what does it take to build a brewery?” you might ask.

We’ve built a nanobrewery.  Now we are officially on the road to building our microbrewery by purchasing the equipment to brew 210 gallons at a time instead of 10 gallons at a time.  In the past couple of weeks, we’ve taken shopping to a whole new level.

Meet the newest members of our family….

15-barrel fermentation vessel

15-barrel bright tank (upright) & 15-barrel fermentation vessel (on its side)

There are two fermentation vessels and one bright tank, delivered to Brian’s manufacturing company last week.  We’re hoping to bring these babies home to the BARn later this week.

Brian ordered a chiller today, too.  A chiller will regulate the glycol in the fermentation vessels to keep constant temperatures while the beer is fermenting.

However, perhaps the most fun is this purchase:

The folks at Wild Goose Engineering put together this piece featuring a canning machine like the one that will be housed in the BARn later this summer.  It’s so cool, you’re gonna want to come to the brewery just to see this machine in action.

And the shopping on steroids will continue….

Meanwhile, the brewer/father here spent his father’s day brewing up a batch of Ozark Firefly Wheat and Missouri Mule IPA (which will be ready in time for July 4th).   Earlier this evening we kegged a batch of McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, so there should be a little bit of everything available this weekend.

Brewery hours will be Saturday, June 25 from 1 to 5 p.m.   Come get your growler filled or just enjoy a pint or two of fresh, local craft beer.  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll have some shiny new stainless in the brewery for you to ooh and ahh over.

Piney River Brewing Inspiration

In Beer Events on June 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm

If you’ve been to the BARn or if you’ve studied the photos posted on this blog, you’ve seen the recycled tin from the original roof of the barn that we’ve used on the walls inside the brewery.  Before we were even brewing our own beer, Brian and I drove through Hermann, MO and stumbled upon what we consider to be the best thing in Hermann–Tin Mill Brewing Company.

The old grain mill was purchased and renovated to be used as a brewery.  I distinctly remember walking through the Tin Mill and saying to Brian, “We should do this with our barn.”  I didn’t even mean put a brewery in it; I was just enamored with the way a beautiful old building had been saved and reincarnated as something new and fun.

We’re going to visit the fabulous old building tomorrow for the annual “Rhythm and Brews” festival.  As you know, we are committed to supporting local craft beer.  The Tin Mill folks invited us to pour at this festival, but we declined.  We can’t brew enough to serve our faithful drinkers that come to the BARn as it is!

If you are looking for something to do this weekend or perhaps you’re looking for something fun to do with your dad, check out Rhythm and Brews.

This festival features breweries from across the great state of Missouri and is open to everyone.  Tickets are $25 at the door or $20 in advance and kids get in free.  A tasting glass and music are included as well as lots of craft beer.  Oh yeah, the weather’s supposed to be nice, too.  Maybe we’ll see you there.

If not, we’ll see you at the BARn next Saturday, June 25 from 1 to 4 p.m.   Here’s a little reminder about where our inspiration has led us in the past few months….

The BARn Last July 2010

The BARn, Last July 2010

A few months later....

Sign Here, Please

In Start up on June 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

I heard a story today about a Dallas Maverick player that tattooed the NBA Championship Trophy on his body before the season this year because he believed that much that he was going to be a recipient of that trophy at the end of the season.  We haven’t tattooed our logo on our bodies, but we have the same passion for creating craft beer in the Ozarks.

Here it is late on Monday night, and I’m downloading photos and blogging while Brian brews up batches of McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and Missouri Mule IPA.  Both things HAVE to be done.

We wanted to share with you the great news that our rock star banker, Sandy Howard, finalized the papers and released the funds for our SBA loan late Friday afternoon.  Sitting in Sandy’s office, signing those papers was something we didn’t see ourselves doing several years ago, but on Friday it felt like one of many times in the future when we may utilize outside resources to achieve our entrepreneurial dreams.  And signing on those many lines was sort of like getting a tattoo of a trophy.  We DO believe that much.

Andy kept an eye on the proceedings. He's already told us that he intends to run the brewery some day.

The big news to report is that with the release of those funds we have purchased 120 new kegs, two 15 barrel fermentation vessels, a 15 barrel bright tank and a canning system.  In April Brian also found a 7-barrel brewhouse for sale in Southern Illinois that we bought from Big Muddy Brewing.  There are still many components we are working on…can design, glycol system, cleaning systems, etc., but we have some of the big items on their way (and most of them will be six to eight weeks before they get here).

We had another fun weekend at the BARn (and we have the empty kegs to prove it).  We’re meeting new people every weekend, and we really appreciate everyone’s support of their local brewery.  Keep this in mind…it’s only for a few more weeks you’ll be able to drink beer from a nanobrewery.  We’re barreling down the road to a full-fledged packaging microbrewery, tattoos not included.

Late Spring at PRBC

In Beer Events on June 8, 2011 at 9:09 pm

It has not been a quiet week at Piney River Brewing Company.  Out here on the edge of the Little Piney River, over the past 10 days or so, we’ve celebrated Andy’s 6th birthday, we’ve finally managed to get all of our vegetable garden in, we enjoyed a Mumford and Sons concert at the Pageant in St. Louis, we finished the sub-floor in the future tap room, and we started to finish out one of the two bathrooms in the brewery.

We had hoped to have the bathroom complete before this weekend, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.  However, we do have water lines running to a future sink, toilet and urinal.  Insulation is going in and walls are being covered with more recycled tin.  The tile job doesn’t look too shabby either, if I do say so myself.

VERY important to the stories that Piney River Brewing Company is made of is that we purchased one of Charlie McKinney’s anvils at the blacksmith shop auction last Saturday.  Our friend, Charlie, used the anvil to make a living.  We used the anvil for fun when we forged our BARn door handles.  When the BARn tap room is complete the anvil will be the coolest bar stop around.  So cool that you may want to buy Charlie’s anvil a McKinney Eddy Amber Ale.

Perhaps what is most important for the craft beer drinkers out there is that after a week “off” we have all five of our craft beers on tap for Saturday, June 12th.  Personally, I think the Missouri Mule IPA is tasting quite sublime, but why don’t you come out and try them for yourself?

We’ll be open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday–filling growlers and serving pints.  Feel free to bring a chair and enjoy some sun or afternoon barn shade with a cool and very fresh handcrafted beer.  Cheers!