This fall we had our first real experience as a brewery during Oktoberfest.
It seems like many, many, MANY moons ago, but this time last year we had just brewed our first batch on the big system. We still weren’t keeping the taproom open every Saturday because we couldn’t make enough beer.
Fast-forward 11 months. With Piney River beer in many locations throughout the Ozarks, we had many requests for events, many related to Oktoberfest.
As I kept adding events to the brewery calendar, Brian and I looked on September and October with some trepidation. We wanted to make sure we were able to have the right beer for the right places (sometimes, we don’t have enough beer “in house” because our distributors get it). We knew there was a lot to juggle with our day jobs, our family and our brewery responsibilities. In we dove.
Was it a bad sign when the first event I attended in September brought high winds to Bucyrus that blew trees down all over our property? There were some things destroyed, but no lives were lost. We’re still cleaning up…slowly but surely.
My sister, Rachel, and her husband, John, joined us at Ozarks Beerfest in Joplin. It was fun to have some family members take part in a little festival madness with us. We also debuted “The Legend of Happy Hollow” a chocolate pumpkin beer that seemed to be a festival hit where there was pumpkin beer on every corner.
Brian did a Bicycle Pub Crawl at the Blackthorn Pub in Joplin…and he did not ride a bicycle. He also squeezed in Black Walnut Days in Stockton where he was able to visit Hammons black walnut factory.
The first weekend in October, Brian was at Little Rocktoberfest while I was at Macadoodles in Pineville getting sleeted on! (Oktoberfest takeaway—always take gloves.) The next weekend, humidity and high winds found Brian ducking for cover at Lake Ozark while I kept my fingers crossed at Brown Derby in Springfield.
We missed our peeps at the tap room, too, but John, Liz, Debra & Lucas hosted the Houston Education Foundation and the Texas County Memorial Hospital EMS department for two different fund raisers, and plenty of beer was poured at the BARn.It grew dark quickly, and it was cold at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis two weekends ago, but Brian and I were able to pour beer together at Fest-of-Ale. The attendees at the garden event showed us lots of beer love, and it was good for the craft brewer’s soul. Thank you!
Just a few nights later, we were sweating in our denim shirts, while pouring beer at the first ever Brew Review, a beer and food pairing event, in Columbia. We joined our distributors, NH Scheppers, at the event which benefitted the local public radio station, KBIA (one we always listen to when driving through the area).
This past Friday night found Brian and I back in Little Rock pouring up Piney River beer at the first ever Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival.We love the love we get from our newfound craft beer loving friends in Arkansas!
The craft beer deck at the BARn has been wonderful for views of the sun setting and leaves changing color. We’ve added another tap currently featuring our Sweet Potato Ale, and we hope to keep something interested and special going in the BARn tap room for you when we sneak in a little time to play on our smaller brewing system.
We also have a big batch of The Legend of Happy Hollow, the chocolate pumpkin beer that debuted in Joplin in September.
We want to have some for our tap room customers to drink and to fill growlers. We’ll probably pour it at upcoming events, and who knows? It may find its place on a tap or two around the area.
In all honesty, I think it would be easier to enjoy Oktoberfest in Germany than to cover all the bases that we’ve tried to cover the past few weeks as a craft brewery. But we’ve enjoyed seeing many of you, making new friends and pouring our beer for those that love it. Thank you for your love of craft beer and for your support of a little craft brewery in the Ozarks!