Piney River Brewing Company

Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Happy Nanobrewery

In Start up on July 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Happiness is a great craft beer.

Happiness is starting a nanobrewery.

Happiness is starting a nanobrewery that cannot make enough beer.

If you’re the nanobrewery owners, you’re happy when the brewery is crowded on Saturday.  You’re happy when you’re getting carpel tunnel from pulling the tap.  You’re happy when there’s empty keg after empty keg.  (Okay, I’ll admit, you’re a little stressed about the empty keg thing, too.)

The aforementioned  publicity came out in The Houston Herald last Thursday.  That brought a few new people out to the brewery this past Saturday.  Then some of our previous customers brought some of their friends out to the brewery, too this past Saturday.  There were a lot of samples given, a lot of pints poured and many growlers filled this past Saturday.  And a bad thing happened.

We’re just about out of beer.  When we were staying up until midnight a couple of weeks ago brewing, double-batch brewing and moving beer from the fermentation tanks to the cooler as quickly as we possibly could, we thought we could have enough beer on tap to satisfy our customers’ thirst the last two weekends in July.  We were wrong.

The pale ale went first.  The wheat went second.  Then the amber ale.  There’s maybe a pint of porter left.  The only thing that we have in any quantity (and that’s just one keg) is our IPA.

Here’s proof of our nanobrewery happiness.  Seven empty five gallon kegs.

Yes, that’s thirty-five gallons of beer gone.  Yes, that’s nanobrewery owner happiness.

So, do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The Bad News:  Piney River Brewing Company is NOT open on July 30th as originally planned.  Nor are we open the first two weekends in August (08/06 & 08/13), as originally planned.

Evidence item #2--mostly empty cooler.

The Good News:  We’re going to stay up until midnight brewing multiple double-batches of your beloved McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and Ozark Firefly Wheat this week.  Then, when it’s done fermenting, we’re going to brew some more.  By the time the BARn is open again–Sat., August 20th–you can drink another 35 gallons of beer if you so desire.  We’ll have it in this currently pitifully empty kegorator.

And here’s the BIG good news…we get our new brewhouse on Wed., Aug. 10th.

Thank you for your thirst.  Thank you for your patience.  We truly can’t wait until this happy nanobrewery is the bigger happy microbrewery making 217 gallons of beer at a time instead of 10.



Nanobrewery Word of Mouth No More

In Start up on July 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

It was bound to happen.

We started the PRBC Blog last August (almost one year ago, to be precise).  The Piney River Brewing Facebook page began sometime in late fall.  Our Web site,, was up and running sometime this winter. Piney River Brew on Twitter began in March.

We cracked open the door to the BARn the first weekend in March, and we’ve relied on word of mouth for word to spread from Bucyrus to Houston to Plato to Springfield to Minnesota to Alabama to New York, California and Mexico (just to name a few places where there are Piney River Brew lovers).

We are lucky in Texas County to have a thriving local newspaper, The Houston Herald, and not too long ago, I was approached about Doug Davison from The Herald coming out and doing a story about Piney River Brewing.  Although we were a little apprehensive about a news story–since we can’t seem to make enough beer on our word of mouth sales–we decided to go ahead with the story.  After all, we’re a successful nanobrewery.  That’s a story to share!

Doug came out last Thursday afternoon, and we enjoyed sharing our story with him for a couple of hours.  As a writer, it’s kind of strange to read your story from another person’s point of view.  However, Doug did a great job condensing two hours of sharing into a few column inches.

So here it is:

In the link, be sure to check out the video that Doug put together showing everything from our Sabco Brew Magic to the girlfriends enjoying the spent grains.  Most importantly, when I read Doug’s story, I sensed the excitement and the love for craft beer that Brian and I have felt since that first time we brewed a batch of beer on our kitchen stove. Special thanks to Doug and the Houston Herald staff for the great job they did in capturing our story, our vision and our love of the Ozarks.

I don’t know what this Saturday is going to bring at Piney River Brewing Company.  It could be the craziest day ever now that we’re operating on just a bit more than word of mouth.  What I do know is that we have some delicious beer on tap this weekend (until we don’t)–Ozark Firefly Wheat, McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, Old Tom Porter and Missouri Mule IPA.  The BARn will be open from 1 to 5 p.m., filling growlers and serving pints.


Where it all began...over a bottle of Brewery Ommegang Three Philosophers.

Nanobrewery News

In Beer Events on July 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Some of you that follow the Piney River Brewing Company blog do not follow us on Facebook or Twitter, so I want to share a few things with you that you may have missed from this past week’s events at Piney River Brewing Company.

We were blogged about by a craft beer lover from Little Rock, AR:

The same blogger also did what we believe to be our first beer review:

Thanks to Scott Parton for the blog feature and the review!

We had another excellent Saturday in the BARn.  As you know, we cannot keep up with the craft beer demand at our nanobrewery here in Bucyrus, and as you also know, we are well on our way to becoming a full-fledged packaging microbrewery.  It just so happens that for a little bit of time next Saturday, we should have everything we make on tap…until we don’t, as it goes at a nanobrewery.

Finally, if you’re trying to find the time to visit, we will be open every Saturday in July for the next three Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.    We already know that we will be closed the first two Saturdays in August, so you may want to just fill a few growlers to keep in the back of the fridge until mid-August, if that’s even possible.

Now for a fun little story…remember a couple of blog posts ago when I mentioned the restaurant Farmer’s Gastropub ( in Springfield?  Brian and I went there for dinner because we heard from some of our customers that Farmer’s Gastropub was a craft beer friendly restaurant.  While there, we ended meeting the owner, Bill Griffiths, and before the night was over he let us use the beer engine to pour our beer.  We have since referred a few people to the restaurant (which also has great food in addition to an extensive beer list).   The highlight of today’s brewery visits was a couple from Springfield that came to check us out on Bill Griffith’s recommendation.  I poured up pints for people that drove 90 miles to try our beer because another beer lover told them about us!  That’s what makes craft beer so much fun!  It brings people together.  It makes people happy.

Thanks again to each of you.  You have been great about supporting your local craft brewery in the past few months.  We’re getting ready to have a lot more beer around here, and we’re getting ready to be available in local package stores and restaurants, too.  This wouldn’t be happening if we didn’t have so many of you out there drinking craft beer and promoting Piney River Brewing to your friends and family members.


The Harrow and the Harvest, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings & Crafting Great Things

In The Beer on July 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Music and beer go hand in hand.

Since our stovetop homebrewing days tunes have been a very important part of the beer we’ve made.  We still have the TV we bought when we were married, but we’ve upgraded our stereo system more than one time.  The BARn is currently outfitted with an iPod player, but we’re already thinking about where and how to pipe the tunes all over the BARn when the time comes.  (This will involve more outdoor speakers.  The cows, the turkeys, the deer all love tunes, too.)

Several years ago I read this article in The New Yorker magazine about a singer/songwriter, Gillian Welch.  I wasn’t familiar with Welch’s music at the time, but ironically, she and her partner, David Rawlings, were musical guests on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion that same week.  It was a warm, fall evening, and I remember lying on a picnic table in the backyard, the day’s light fading around me, the music washing over me.

Today all of Gillian’s music is in my possession, and she is my favorite musical artist.  One of the best concerts we’ve ever attended was a “Dave Rawlings Machine” show at The Grenada in Lawrence, KS.   Gillian and Dave go together like music and beer.  They are a pair that plays as if they are one.  If the music or the song doesn’t resonate with them, they don’t do it.  Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings craft great American music.

Gillian Welch hasn’t released an album since 2003.  Her fans were thirsting for a new album.  Finally, on June 28th The Harrow and the Harvest was released to the world.  Welch said that a new album hadn’t been made because she wasn’t satisfied with the songs; they had to “just so” before they were to become a part of her musical history.

The eight year wait was long, but The Harrow and the Harvest was worth it.  Every song was written and is sung by Welch and Rawlings.  They provide all the music in their simply intricate forms (just listen to Rawlings’ guitar playing and you’ll understand what that means).  These songs are the kind that live and breathe with you; they were meant to be played in a brewery.  The Harrow and the Harvest is proof that there are artists committed to the craft of creating great music.

We’ve found that many craft beer lovers are also music lovers, and we would be remiss if we didn’t share this great album with you, too.  Besides, the beers conditioning in the BARn today, the beer fermenting as I write this have listened to this album.  The Harrow and the Harvest, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings have been part of helping us craft beer and if you like craft beer, there’s a chance you’ll enjoy their musical craft, too.

If you happen to be by the BARn this Saturday, July 9 between 1 and 5 p.m., I’ll even let you listen to a tune or two while you enjoy a McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, a Bronzeback Pale Ale or a Missouri Mule IPA.

Beef steak when I’m working, whiskey when I’m dry, sweet heaven when I die….