Piney River Brewing Company

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Craft Beer + Guest Tap = General Craft Beer Fun at the BARn

In The Beer on November 30, 2011 at 10:34 pm

To update you a little on the progress here at Piney River Brewing…we’re brewing regularly in our 7-barrel system, especially Amber Ale and IPA for canning.  It will be a while before we meet the demand for our beer in cans.  We’re sneaking in things like our Porter and our Wheat when we get a chance so we can provide the occasional keg of the “other” beers that we brew but don’t can and so we can provide those beers on tap in the BARn each weekend.

Speaking of the BARn, we began putting in the bar in the upstairs.  A sink for the bar has arrived.  Lights have arrived and our electrician is planning to come install them.  We’re taking a look at some tables and chairs this weekend.  It’s practically winter, and we want our BARn regulars and  new visitors to the BARn to have a fantastic view and a comfortable place to enjoy their locally brewed craft beer.

We’ve planned all along to offer some additional beverages in the taproom at the BARn—homemade soda, wine, spirits, and special brews from fellow craft brewers in what we call our “guest tap”.

In the process of getting set up with Grellner to distribute our beer, we talked to them about providing some beer to us for the guest tap at the BARn.  Grellner distributes products by Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, and we enjoyed Boulevard products for many years before we ever dreamed of making beer to sell here in Bucyrus.

Boulevard Brewing Company was founded in 1989 by John MacDonald.  Today, Boulevard one of the top ten craft breweries in the nation in production.  John MacDonald and his staff are great champions of craft beer, and they create excellent products for those that are new to craft beer and those that are connoisseurs of craft beer.   Plus, did you know that Texas County’s own Nathan Perry of Cabool works in the lab at Boulevard?

Through Grellner we picked up a Boulevard Pale Ale to have on tap until we are able to get our own pale ale back on tap.  Boulevard Pale Ale just won a Gold medal for “International Pale Ale” at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.  With an ABV of 5.4% and 30 IBUs, this is a very drinkable pale ale.

We were also lucky enough to score two kegs of Boulevard’s Nutcracker Ale, a seasonal ale offered by Boulevard only during the holidays.  Grellner only had nine 1/6 barrel kegs of Nutcracker, and we took two.  We’re pretty sure that the BARn at Piney River Brewing will be the only place in Texas County to find Nutcracker on tap in December, and it may be the only place for several counties around to enjoy this Missouri crafted brew.

Brian and I tapped the first keg of Nutcracker last night.  The beer is made with fresh Chinook hops which add a unique spice to the flavor of the beer which also has a nice maltiness that reminds me a little of our own Amber Ale.  Nutcracker has an ABV of 5.8% and 38 IBUs.

The BARn will be open this Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. for pints, growler fills and general fun.  We’ll have the aforementioned Boulevard beers on tap in addition to our own Old Tom Porter, McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and Missouri Mule India Pale Ale.

Also–we have a few cans of Amber Ale, but almost all of the canned stuff is in stores now, so look to our retail sites for your canned beer needs.


Our Craft Beer to the Customers

In Start up on November 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm

The roll out of Piney River Brewing Company beers has begun.

After canning our Amber Ale and IPA, we met with Grellner Sales regarding getting the beer “out there”…to you.  Since Texas County is our home base, and since the BARn was going to be closed on Thanksgiving weekend, we really wanted to get beer into Texas County retail stores for the week of Thanksgiving.

We loaded our truck with cases of Amber Ale and IPA and met a Grellner truck that was making a delivery in Houston.

Brian made the delivery.  Here’s one happy Grellner truck.

Piney River brews were available to customers across the county last week.  And here’s the truly spectacular news–you supported your local craft brewery so well that we’re making another delivery to Grellner tomorrow–more Amber Ale in can and in kegs.  We have IPA that should  be canned and delivered to Grellner next week.

Here are the stores in Texas County that are currently carrying Piney River brews:

In Houston–The Pit Stop and S&S Package

In Licking–Triplett’s and Snappy Mart

In Success–Pittman’s

In Roby–Walt’s

In Evening Shade–The Family Market

Casey’s took several cases of our beer, but they were unable to sell it because they have to get it approved and into their corporate system (we’re so glad we purchased UPC symbols for our beer cans!).  When that happens, Casey’s will have our beer in their stores, too.

We aren’t sure where the kegs are going yet, but as soon as we know, we’ll let you know.

From Texas County, we will gradually roll out more of our beer to more counties.  Meanwhile, the Texas County craft beer lovers should be proud of the support shown to their local craft brewery!  One local retailer told us that they have consistently underestimated their beer order every time they have ordered Piney River beer from Grellner in the past week.  One of our Facebook fans drove 80 miles round trip to Texas County to pick up Piney River beer.

If there’s a retail store where you like to buy your adult beverages or a restaurant where you would like to enjoy a beer from Piney River brewing, ask them to contact Grellner.  We are coming soon to more stores and restaurants in the Ozarks!

Meanwhile, we will have the BARn open on Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. if you want to come enjoy a pint with us.  We’ve started work on the BARn bar, too.  There are hopes of more good times to come at your local microbrewery.  Cheers!

Introducing Piney River Brews to Our Southwest Missouri Friends

In Start up on November 18, 2011 at 12:15 am

In the middle of all this canning and the roll out of our beer to our Texas County friends, we haven’t had the opportunity to fully express how excited we are about this coming Saturday.

A couple of years ago Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Ozarks began “Ozarks Beer Fest”, an opportunity for craft beer lovers to gather in Springfield to enjoy distinctive craft beers and great food.  To top off a great event, all the funds raised by the event go to a great Southwest Missouri cause–Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Ozarks.

When we attended Ozarks Beer Fest last year, we anticipated the thought of bringing our beer to the event to share with fellow lovers of craft beer in the Ozarks.  I don’t know if we really thought it would happen in 2011, but it’s going to.  We couldn’t be more excited to share our beer with craft beer drinkers in Southwest Missouri.

There’s always behind the scenes stuff that goes on in business and breweries that is hard to explain, and how you attend a beer festival is one of those things.  Just because we make beer, it doesn’t mean we can just go to any beer festival anywhere.  To have our beer available at a festival, we must have an agreement in place with a distributor in the area.

As you know, Grellner Sales in Rolla invited us to join their craft beer line in May.  Grellner does not distribute in the Springfield area, so in order to attend the Ozarks Beer Fest, we had to contract with a distributor in Springfield.  Once again, Rodney Edwards with Grellner really helped us out by introducing us to the folks at Heart of America Beverage Company.

Lance Foresee and Bob Walkenhorst graciously invited us to the Springfield office in October to talk with them about distributing our beer through Heart of America.  Not only were Brian and I thrilled that Heart of America was interested in our product, we were completely stoked to hear Lance and Bob talk about the “need” for canned craft beer in their market.  Heart of America already distributes our friends at Mother’s Brewing Company, and they also carry the great line of Lagunitas products.  Piney River Brewing will have the opportunity to share shelf space with some great craft beers!

Shortly after our meeting with Lance and Bob, we were able to put a contract into place between Piney River Brewing and Heart of America.  We’re not going to be able to provide beer to Heart of America for a few months while we are ramping up our production here on a larger scale, but we are so excited to have another great partner to work with!

Thanks to Heart of America, Brian and I will be in Springfield at Ozarks Beer Fest on Saturday sharing our beer with craft beer lovers in Southwest Missouri.  You’ll find us at the Heart of America table…not too far from Lagunitas, Magic Hat, Breckenridge and Mothers.

On tap we will have that oh so popular Black Walnut Wheat (shhh…don’t tell the folks at the taproom on Saturday) and Old Tom Porter.  That curious cracking sound you’ll hear at the Heart of America table will be CANS of Missouri Mule India Pale Ale and McKinney Eddy Amber Ale being opened and poured.  How cool is that?!

Do you want to attend Ozarks Beer Fest and take part in sipping Piney River Beer and a hundred or so other beers? Click this link for more information:  Ozarks Beer Fest

And, if you cannot make it out to Ozarks Beer Fest, the BARn will be open from 12 to 5 p.m.  We will be filling growlers with Missouri Mule IPA and McKinney Eddy Amber, or you can take home cans of each.  Old Tom Porter and Black Walnut Wheat will also be available by the pint.  And…we’ve invited a special guest to join the taps at the BARn this week–Boulevard Pale Ale.  Boulevard makes excellent craft beer that we’ve enjoyed for many years, and since we haven’t had time to brew our Bronzeback Pale Ale, we decided to get another Missouri craft beer for you to enjoy.


The First IPA Canned in Missouri

In Start up on November 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm

While we’re making brewing history in Missouri, why not make a little more?  How ’bout the first India Pale Ale canned in the Show Me state?

Piney River Brewing Company took the honors for the first IPA canned in Missouri, our appropriately named Missouri Mule India Pale Ale.  And it was fun!

Roger and Tristan from Wild Goose Engineering went back to Boulder last Tuesday night, and they left us with our magical Micro Can machine.  We ran it all by ourselves tonight.  (We received photo proof that while we were running our new canning machine, they were enjoying some McKinney Eddy Amber Ale that was taken back to Boulder by Roger and Tristan.)

Are those green mule cans purty, or what?

Our six-year old son, Andy even got in on the action tonight.

We’re not going to be able to do the “Junior Brewers Club” complete with tours and stickers that Andy dreamed up tonight, but it was a great evening of entertainment for a six-year old.  And we certainly hope that we’re instilling some inspiration for pursuing your own dreams and working hard for it as Andy grows up.

Brian checks the seals on the can lids.

Andy, Jamie & Olga handled packaging.

Packaging volunteers get paid in beer, unless you’re’ a six-year old, and you get a Sprite.

Stacked up right next to the McKinney Eddy Amber Ale in the walk-in cooler is another pallet.  This one’s full of beautiful green cans.

Brian and I are going to Rolla to meet with Rodney Edwards at Grellner Sales and Service regarding our roll out plan for our beer.  We hope to have our cans in Texas County locations very soon, and we already have some restaurants requesting beer in kegs, too.

We will have cans of Missouri Mule IPA and McKinney Eddy Amber Ale for sale at the BARn on Saturday.  We’ll also be serving both beers, from cans at Ozarks Beer Fest in Springfield on Saturday (Shrine Mosque from 2 to 5 p.m., a fund raiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks–

Meanwhile, here’s one final photo for you…empty Missouri Mule IPA can, full glass.  It really is as delicious as it looks.  Cheers!

A Show Me Guide: How Craft Beer Was First Canned in Missouri

In Start up on November 12, 2011 at 10:15 am

Last November we were a newly licensed brewery trying to figure out if people would really drink craft beer brewed in barn in Bucyrus, MO.  By March, we were at the Craft Brewers Conference in San Francisco talking with canning machine companies.

Why cans?

Lots of reasons.

Easier to recycle.  Less shipping weight and cost.  Better for the environment.  The best way to preserve the flavor of beer.  And most importantly, the only way to take craft beer on float trips on the Big Piney River or any other river out here in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  Plus, canned craft beer is much more portable for many Ozark adventures like hiking, bike riding, trail riding, boating, hunting, camping, etc.  Canned craft beer and the outdoors are made for each other.

That’s where we get to write the story of being the first microbrewery in the state of Missouri to can beer on site.  Other Missouri breweries have canned their craft creations, but they were outsourced to breweries that can outside of our great state.  Piney River Brewing Company can claim the title of being the first microbrewery in the state to can their beer on site.

Our two-head, automatic “Micro Can” canning system arrived from Wild Goose Engineering in Boulder, CO on Monday.  Tristan Shaffer and Roger Walz delivered the machine, helped us install it and do our first run of canned beer.  McKinney Eddy Amber Ale got the nod, since it was the first beer we made on the 7-barrel system and it was sitting there in the brite beer tank.

Tristan, Roger and Brian pull the machine out of the trailer.

Brian and I do the ceremonial unwrapping.

Tristan & Brian--the canning machine was the final piece needed to make our packaging brewery complete.

Roger readies the machine.

Tristan applies labels in the control panel.

As you have already read…we have cans, we have lids, we have beer.  Let’s get this machine started!

Here’s where the extremely fast and cool canning takes place–the seamer, where the lids are attached to the cans.

A can is fed to the seamer.

The can and lid are picked up and spun between the wheels to seam them.

Ta-da! One Piney pint!

The cans slide off the pallet on to the machine's conveyor belt.

CO2 is blown into each can to evacuate it, then it immediately slides to the filler where ice cold beer (to prevent excessive foaming) is put into each can, filling it to the top.

A lid falls down on each can.

The cans, with lids, are conveyed to the seamer.

An arm pushes each can under the seamer where it is picked up for seaming.

Sometime about 4:30 p.m. on November 8th, the first can of beer came off the line at Piney River Brewing Company.  It wasn’t too much later, we had our first case of McKinney Eddy Amber Ale.

This case goes to our friend, Katrina McKinney, Charlie McKinney’s oldest daughter.  We donated a case of McKinney Eddy to the Metals Museum in Memphis where Charlie once worked for their annual fundraiser.  Katrina made the winning bid.

The Micro Can machine is on casters, so we can wheel it around as needed, a very important aspect for our small brewery.  While it was a little tight getting around on the wet side of the brewery during canning, the machine fit the space really well and things moved really smoothly.  It was easy to catch yourself, mouth agape, watching the beer cans conveyed down the line…CO2, beer, lid, seam…CO2, beer, lid, seam…CO2, beer, lid, seam.  At its peak, we were filling 23 cans a minute.

There was a little beer carnage as we calibrated the machine for optimal running, and for filling and pushing our pints.

Roger, Tristan, Brian and our friends, Jamie Smith and John McCarty (which were helping with the packaging) did their best to make sure no damaged beer was left behind.

It's what you have to do when you work in the beer industry.

Tristan also did a little filming for the folks back home in Boulder.

Once filled, the filled beers would fall into a container of water where they would receive a rinse before heading to the packaging table.

The beer was literally flying....

But these are really happy brewery dudes….

And one happy walk-in cooler.

To add to the craziness of the first craft beer can run in the state of Missouri, we had agreed months before to host a local women’s organization from Houston, the Sorosis Club.  Ten ladies came out for a tour and tasting, which I did while the guys handled the canning.  We made those ladies happy, too, by sending them all home with a four-pack of McKinney Eddy Amber Ale as thanks for their understanding of our night of chaos.

Maybe around 10 p.m. that evening Tristan and Roger headed back toward Boulder.  We plan to see them again at the next Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego, if not the next time they are driving through Bucyrus on their way to deliver a Micro Can machine to some other lucky brewery.


There you have it, a little Missouri Show and tell–the first time craft beer was canned in the great state of Missouri!  And yes, they are coming very, very soon to a store near you.

Missouri Made Canned Craft Beer

In Start up on November 9, 2011 at 8:17 am

We promised it–canned craft beer from a microbrewery in Missouri.

On Tuesday, November 8th about 4:30 p.m. the first craft beer from a Missouri microbrewery was canned on site at Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus, MO.

A more descriptive and photo filled blog post is soon coming, but suffice it to say, handcrafted beer in a pint can is now available and made in the Ozarks.

All of this would not have been possible without assistance from two extraordinary gentleman, Tristan Shaffer and Roger Walz from Wild Goose Engineering in Boulder, CO.  Tristan and Roger delivered and helped us install our canning system.

Here’s Brian with Roger (left) and Tristan and one of our first cases of beer.  McKinney Eddy Amber Ale got the honors in the first run.  Cheers!

You Supply the Event. We’ll Supply the Craft Beer…In a Keg!

In Start up on November 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm

If a pint of Piney River Brewing beer is good and a growler of Piney River Brewing beer is better, how does a keg of Piney River Brewing beer sound?  If you’ve got a kegerator or an upcoming event, we can now provide kegs of our handcrafted ales for your drinking pleasure.

Here’s what you’ll soon see on our web site:

Kegs to go are now available at Piney River Brewing Company.  Please contact us via e-mail ( or via phone (417/967-6786) to reserve a keg of beer.  Not all of our beer styles are currently available in kegs.  Keg pricing varies, based on style.

Our kegs

5.16 Gallon or 1/6 Barrel Keg
Equivalent to 40 pints or 55 bottles

Dimensions:  23.5” x 9.5”
Lbs empty:  14.4
Lbs full:  58
Tap: Uses “standard” U.S. Sanke taps
Deposit: Keg  — $100


Keg Rental Policy

Items must be returned within 30 days of the date of purchase.  After your initial 30 day time period is up, we will process your deposit (i.e. cash your check). Do not despair; if you bring back the keg and tap in good working order at a later date, we’ll gladly buy them back from you for the same dollar amount of your original deposit.

Our keg and tap rentals are FREE; however, we do require a cash or check deposit of $100 for each keg (and tap, if needed).  Your deposit must be secured with cash or check and will be refunded upon return of all equipment in good condition. Repairs to damaged equipment will be deducted from the deposit.


Keg Dimensions
Dimensions may vary due to different keg manufacturers, so we’ve attempted to give the maximum dimensions. Dimensions are without taps.

Please remember that with our kegs, your first choice of beer style is not guaranteed.  Make sure to contact us for style availability.  Not everything in draft is available in kegs.

Commonly Asked Questions

Q: How do I tap a keg?

A:  We’ll show you.

Q: How long will kegged beer keep and why does it go flat?

A:  Tapping your keg with a party pump is like opening a 2-liter bottle of soda — it puts air into the container. CO2 then escapes the liquid and dissipates into the air, making the beer more flat. The will keep for a few days if you keep the beer cold, but it progressively changes in taste with each day it’s exposed to air.

Q: If I plan on drinking the keg over a period of a few days, what should I do?

A:  The best thing to do is to untap the keg and keep the beer on ice or in a refrigerator.  Cold beer will hang on to its CO2 longer. Do not pump more air into it; that will just oxidize the beer faster.

Q: What causes beer to foam?

A:  Primarily, beer will foam when it is warm. Bouncing it down the stairs won’t help. Keep it on ice and keep it still and you will have a happy keg.