Piney River Brewing Company

Archive for March, 2014|Monthly archive page

Expanding the Piney River Beer Reach

In The Beer on March 19, 2014 at 10:36 pm

It’s taken a while, but finally we can say that we’re trying to quench the thirst for craft beer in Southeast Missouri!

Last Friday Bluff City Beer in Cape Girardeau sent a big old’ truck to Piney River to pick up a plethora of Piney Pints.

And the people of Southeast Missouri rejoice!

Let me take you back…a long way back. Brian and I have good friends in SEMO. They have wanted our beer since day #1. Then, Rodney Edwards at Grellner Sales (our first distributor) suggested we talk to his friends, the Bess family, in Cape when we were ready to expand our distribution. Meanwhile, our friends in SEMO were showing up at the brewery and bootlegging growlers and cases of Piney Pints back to their friends who were becoming Piney River fans. Piney River was expanding its reach, but so far no SEMO.

What you may not know is that if Brian didn’t live with me here in the heart of the Ozarks, he would probably live in SEMO. Why? Duck hunting. I will not pass up a wild duck breast and those rice fields are pretty, but I need trees and hills. So Brian dreams of skies filled with ducks and drives a little ways East to find it. And since we started the brewery Brian’s been pretty passionate about getting Piney Pints in all the blinds in SEMO.

Last May it was our great privilege to host Kathy Holloway and her husband, Keith, and David Bess from Bluff City Beer at the brewery. We talked hunting, fishing, raising boys (Kathy & Keith have two boys) and, of course, beer. Talking with them was like talking with friends. And as a small, family owned business, once again we had that great feeling about doing business with another longtime family owned business.

We wanted to get Piney Pints to SEMO last year, but then we had this little beer called Float Trip Ale come along, and we couldn’t make enough, but ALL YEAR LONG we were thinking about SEMO.

Finally this spring were were able to include Bluff City in our 2014 planning and brewing. We can’t send draft, but we have sent Piney Pints to the rice fields, duck blinds and Current River canoes and kayaks in SEMO. There is a great and growing love for craft beer in SEMO, and at Piney River we are all about growing the beer palates of our fellow rural Missourians in the Eastern part of our great state.

Drink up SEMO friends! We’ll make more! And raise a glass to the Bess family and Bluff City Beer for their support of locally brewed beer!



Prepared to be Overwhelmed–Our 3rd Aleiversary Tale

In Beer Events on March 17, 2014 at 9:36 pm

“If you would have told me a year ago that I would be standing here tonight making potato salad for ‘my staff’ for the Aleiversary After Party, I would have laughed.” That’s what I told Brian on Friday night about 9 p.m.

Install a bar in the upstairs tap room before the 1st Aleiversary? We did that in March 2012.

Put together tables and chairs for 100 before the 2nd Aleiversary? We did that in March of 2013.

Every year we’ve been building something until hours before our big event. This year, we had professional help from Tim Prater at the Wood Mill installing a new cherry rail and standing bar area and Randy Hendricks from Hendricks Home Builders in doing some bathroom work. My dad also went into the picnic table making business, adding another 10 tables to our collection of outdoor furniture. The township sent their grader that week and smoothed out the potholes and rough spots in our gravel road. Larry Booker hauled in chat for our drive and our expanded parking lot. Other than that, we just made sure the beer was ready, and oh yeah, we purchased compostable cups—no glassware washing this year!

“We are prepared to be overwhelmed,” I told everyone that asked “What are you doing?” to prepare for the Aleiversary.

An “All Hands on Deck” bulletin was given out to all the Piney River co-workers in November 2013…Our Christmas Party is on December 21, please attend if you can. Our Aleiversary is March 15th,we need you to work that day, all day.


Brian and I trekked out to the brewery on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., and the rest of our crew arrived between 10:30 and 11. At 10, Brian said, “I’m not sure we’re going to have everything set up by noon.” He was wrong, our staff knows what to do, and with all of us working together, we’re a mighty team. We were ready to pour beer and party at 11:45.

We extended the size of the parking lot…it was too small anyway. We moved the girlfriends out of their favorite pasture into the back and side pastures so more cars and trucks could park in the front field. Brian and Jamie parked vehicles at the beginning, and it wasn’t any time before the front lot was filled and the pasture and roadsides began being filled, too. My dad did an “unofficial count” of 147 cars sometime between 2 and 3 p.m.

Amber and Caleb ran the beer tent—Cream Ale, Black Walnut Wheat, Leo Brown Ale and Bronzeback Pale Ale were all that many people ever drank. They found a picnic table, brought a camp chair, got some food and never bothered to step inside the brewery.


The line to Mike and Julie’s Smoked Meats didn’t end until they ran out of food.

The bands—The Farethewells from Salem and Deep Fried Squirrel from Springfield—pumped their tunes outside so you could dance just about anywhere on the farm.


Debra, Lucas & Jonathan ran the tap room bar—a never ending sea of people clamored for drinks for at least seven hours straight. The tap room and the deck were full all day long.


We brewed and canned a special 3rd Aleiversary beer, Mule Team Imperial IPA. Mule Team was available on draft and four-packs were for sale. The Mule Team was a big hit, and we got to be the proud parents of our first big batch of Imperial IPA (there’s still some left–draft and four packs if you’re so inclined).

We had guests from neighboring states, towns throughout Missouri and locals. We had friends, neighbors and family. We prepared to be overwhelmed, and everything went extremely well. We ran out of almost all the special beers–yay! We ran out of paper towels–oops! Our co-workers were on their feet for 9 to 10 hours straight. They didn’t get planned breaks. They barely got to go to the bathroom. They were awesome! Luckily we asked Mike to smoke ribs and pork butt for us to go with the aforementioned potato salad along with baked beans and brownies. I don’t know what everyone was most grateful for at the end of the day–a seat at the fire pit or food.

After everyone went home, the food and beer were put away, the bonfire was coals, Brian and I couldn’t sleep we were so stoked about everything that happened in the day before. We didn’t sit, we had little time to talk with friends and family, we ran upstairs and down, we hooked and unhooked kegs, we worked, but what’s new. It was a GREAT day.

At some point during the day we ran into each other in the brewery. “We did it!” High five. Hug. Kiss. We are having some of the most fun of our lives.

As our Mule Team Imperial India Pale Ale label says:

Two people with a dream, an old barn, a love for the Ozarks and craft beer cannot succeed on their own. It takes a team–dedicated employees, partnerships with distributors, the support of friends, neighbors and craft beer lovers. Thank you for pulling with us over the past three years.

We’re still having the time of our lives! –Joleen & Brian Durham

Thank you so much! Cheers!

Celebrating Craft Beer in the Ozarks–Piney River Style

In Beer Events, The BARn, The Beer on March 2, 2014 at 10:53 am

It was in March of 2011 that Brian and I cracked open the doors to the BARn for the very first time. Somewhat to our surprise, folks showed up! We filled growlers, we poured pints, we sampled the beer that we were brewing after work, sometimes after midnight, on our Sabco Brew Magic 10-gallon system. The “system” for serving beer that first year at the BARn included a table across the middle of brew house floor and picnic tables and camp chairs located out in front of the BARn.

A year later, we had a bar built in the upstairs of the BARn. Pallets of grain were stacked around the Advantec covered floor, we had seating for 30 (not counting the camp chairs). Friends provided some tunes. Black Walnut Wheat came back (for good) on draft. The First Aleiversary was born.

Then came the 2nd Aleiversary in March 2013. Was that really just one year ago? The first live music was planned and performed at the BARn (thank you, Barak Hill, Jody Bilyeu and The Taylor’s). We featured some special beers–Hot Date Ale and Low Water Bridge IPA. Mike and Julie Anderson never knew that they could handcrank so many potatoes for their Irish nachos.

The middle of March is coming around again, and we are so excited for our 3rd Aleiversary! So many of you are planning to join us on March 15th. We know the Aleiversary is something that is anticipated by many, and we are anticipating the opportunity to give back to you for your great support of Piney River brewing throughout the year.

All hands on deck! Our great staff will ALL be here on the 15th to take care of you…from parking to pints, we’re going to make sure you’ve got plenty of libations to celebrate with us all day long. The BARn will be open from 12 to 7 p.m. that day.

Food! Mike and Julie Anderson of Huggins will be back with delicious smoked meats, and an electric potato slicer for their famous Irish Nachos. Plus, they have a great new trailer that they will have in front of the BARn for serving all of their foods.

Music! Live music has become a regular part of Saturdays at the BARn, and we are so excited to welcome back two bands that have been a fun part of our Saturdays in the past year. The Farethewells from Salem and Deep Fried Squirrel from Springfield will be here with original tunes, covers and taking requests. Banjos, fiddles, upright bass–Brian and I know that the BARn was made for these sounds, and we regularly watch in wonder when the magic is happening on a Saturday at the BARn.

Beer! This is the best part of the Aleiversary, the opportunity to craft new beers for everyone that comes to celebrate craft beer in the Ozarks with us. Throughout the day on March 15th we will be tapping some special beers. We plan to have to some special cask ales that will be cracked throughout the day, some kegs of beer on tap, and we have brewed a large batch of “Mule Team”, an Imperial India Pale Ale, that will only be available at the BARn on March 15th. We will have kegs of it on tap, and we are doing a special packaging run of it, and four-pack pints will be for sale, too. Brian and I have dreamed of making Mule Team for a long time, and we’re very excited to have this beer on draft for the Aleiversary and package it for you to take home, too!mule team labelI keep telling folks that we plan to double, if not triple, the population of Bucyrus on March 15th. We hope there’s a little green grass peeking through the front yard of the BARn that Saturday. Mike and Julie will be parked in front of the BARn, and we will have a “cash only” beer tent outside to serve up beer. We have more picnic tables on order that will be out front, and you’re welcome to bring camp chairs and pop up canopies for your own party at the party. The Farethewells are the first band up, and Deep Fried Squirrel will close the party down. There is no charge to attend the Aleiversary, and it’s family friendly. We’ll have Andy’s Root Beer on tap until we run out of it. If you need a place to stay while at the Aleiversary, may we recommend Almoos’t Heaven Bed & Breakfast in Success and Boiling Springs Resort in Licking.

We can’t wait to celebrate 3 years of craft beer in the Ozarks with you in just two weeks!

3rd aleiversary