Piney River Brewing Company

Posts Tagged ‘Old Tom Porter’

Honey, I Shrunk the Piney River Cans

In The Beer on October 12, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Today was a cloudy, rainy day on the Piney River Farm; not too different from the cloudy, rainy night in 2011 when Piney River first canned craft beer in the Ozarks. Today’s first–12 ounce Piney River cans.

Those of us that have been canning beer on the Farm are still trying to adjust to these smaller cans in our hands, but we’re doing what many of our consumers and our distributors have asked us to do by putting our beer in a smaller can.

Waaay back in 2011 when Piney River was the first microbrewery in the state to can beer at their brewery, we were following suit with the 16-ounce pint can like our craft beer brothers and sisters in the Midwest—Tallgrass, Surly, Sun King. We’re in the Show Me state, why not show our customer a true pint? Plus, it was perfect—the Piney Pint.

Back then, there wasn’t much canned craft beer on the shelves in 2011 and 2012 or even 2013, but now canned beer is growing by leaps and bounds, and breweries that were once only bottling their beer are now canning it, too. Twelve-ounce cans are easier to source, plus, if you were a brewery already packing 12-ounce beers, it only makes sense to continue that in a can form. And now, it’s easier to find 12-ounce cans on the shelf here in the Ozarks than it is possible to find 16-ounce cans on the shelf.

I even had a conversation with a fellow brewer that packaged beer in 16-ounce cans and started packaging certain beers in 12-ounce cans for grocery stores. He thinks that it will ultimately lead to the demise of his 16-ounce canned beers.

Our distributors were also asking for 12-ounce cans from Piney River. For those distributors that sold 12-ounce/6-packs and 16-ounce/4-packs, they felt like they could sell more cases of 6-packs than 4-packs. Truly, a case of 6-packs equals four purchases to be empty the case, and a case of 4-packs require six purchases to empty the case. Plus, we’re hearing about this issue that the consumer can’t generally do the math that even though a 4-pack usually costs less than a 6-pack, all the consumer sees is 6 beers versus 4 beers.

And while we love floating down the Big Piney with pint of Piney in our koozie, we have heard from some of you that your 16-ounce beer gets warm before you finish it. Can we suggest here that you drink just a wee bit faster, perhaps? Just an idea….But never fear, your warm beer concerns have also been heard!

So, raise those Piney pints high in the air (or save them for your beer collection); either way, they are going away.

Today, we canned Piney River’s Black Walnut Wheat in 12-ounce cans, and that will be followed up by 12-ounce versions of all of our core beers in the coming weeks. Depending upon your distribution market and the stock of 16-ounce beers your distributor has in place, you will see 12-ounce 6-packs of Piney River beer in your favorite drink-buying place very soon or shortly down the road.

In the upcoming months, you will also see us release “Raise a Ruckus” (an Imperial Stout) and 2017 Mule Team Imperial IPA in 12-ounce 4-packs. We thought 10% ABV might be a little more easy drinking in the smaller sized can, and we can keep it at a good price point, too.

Four brands will remain in 16-ounce cans until we run out of the blank pounders. Masked Bandit IPA and Old Tom Porter are two brands you already know well. Two new Piney River offerings in 16-ounce 4-packs will be River Access Ozarks Lager and Aux Arcs Dry-Hopped Saison.

Same delicious Piney River beer. Same commitment to quality. Same love of what we do…just in a smaller package and lots more of them.

Cheers!

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Chchchchanges Coming in 2017

In The BARn, The Beer on September 21, 2016 at 10:59 am

We are so excited to bring you the Piney River Brewing Company 2017 release calendar!

Twelve ounce cans are headed your way! There will be more information about that later, and actual 12 oz cans sooner rather than later, too. Stay tuned for that!

We are releasing–in limited quantities–new canned beers throughout the year. They are Raise a Ruckus Imperial Stout, River Access Ozarks Lager and Aux Arcs Saison. 

And that foeder, those barrels, the original BARn is officially where we’ve got the funk going on.  The first of our Farm Raised Funk was Lizzie Twister, the first funkified beer from the BARn.  We plan to release even more Farm Raised Funk in 2017.

Thank you so much for raising a pint with us in 2016.  None of this would be possible without your incredible support. Let’s raise a few more together in the upcoming year!


Cheers!

Party Like It’s Been Five (?!) Years on the Farm

In Beer Events on February 24, 2016 at 7:27 am

5th aleiversary posterPiney River Brewing Company is celebrating their fifth anniversary on Sat., Mar. 19th at the brewery in Bucyrus.

The “5th Aleiversary” party will be held at the BARn—the brewery and tap room located off Junction ZZ—from 12 to 7 p.m.

“Once again, we are looking forward to enjoying a beautiful spring day in the Ozarks at our upcoming Aleiversary,” Joleen Durham, co-founder and owner, said.

Durham described the Aleiversary as “the biggest event in Bucyrus”. Last year’s event brought in almost 1,000 people from across the region to the Piney River Farm.

“The event is family-friendly, and there is no charge for admission,” Durham said. “Many Piney River fans look forward to this day at the BARn all year long.”

The Piney River tap room will pour several beers that are available year round in the tap room including Float Trip Ale, Black Walnut Wheat, McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, Bronzeback Pale Ale, Old Tom Porter, Missouri Mule India Pale Ale and Masked Bandit IPA.

Crankbait Cream Ale, the brewery’s spring seasonal will also be available. Paw Paw French Saison will be poured again for the day, and some yet-to-be-named beers may also be available.

“Our most anticipated limited release beer to be available at the Aleiversary will be our Mule Team India Pale Ale,” Brian Durham, co-founder and head brewer, said.

Mule Team IPA is an imperial India pale ale that was first brewed for Piney River’s 2014 anniversary event.

“This year’s Mule Team IPA has strong hop flavor and aroma,” Brian Durham said, explaining that the 2016 imperial IPA will be 10 percent alcohol by volume.

“All of the brewing staff is very excited about releasing this year’s version of Mule Team IPA at the Aleiversary,” Brian Durham said.

Mule Team IPA takes almost a month to complete from brewing to packaging. The “5th Aleiversary Limited Release” Mule Team label thanks the team—“dedicated employees, partnerships with distributors, support of friends, neighbors and craft beer lovers”—that has helped the brewery achieve success over the past five years.Mule TeamNEW

Mule Team IPA and the other beers will be available all weekend long, beginning on Friday afternoon when the tap room opens and going through Sunday evening, if they do not run out.

“Saturday’s party can be a little too busy for some people, so we will plan to have enough Mule Team IPA available to last all weekend long,” Joleen Durham said. “You will be able to enjoy a pint in the tap room or purchase a four-pack to take home.”

Durham noted that because Mule Team IPA is only released once a year, many people purchase multiple four-packs to ration it out throughout the year.

“Mule Team IPA is a beer that can be enjoyed a few months down the road if it is cellared properly,” she said.

In addition to the handcrafted ales, the Aleiversary will feature two bands providing live music—Casey Lynne and the Dealbreakers and Deep Fried Squirrel, both from Springfield. Both bands feature multi-talented instrumentalists and singers that perform Americana, folk and rock covers and original songs.

Two food trucks will be available on the 19th. Mike and Julie’s Smoked Meats of Huggins will provide unique handmade foods such as Irish nachos and smoked meat sliders. Twisted Mikes Food Truck of Springfield will provide a tasty twist on traditional sandwiches, tacos and fries.

Piney River Brewing is located on Durham’s 80-acre farm, operating out of a restored 70-year old barn. Durham founded the brewery with his wife, Joleen, in 2010 with a 10-gallon brewing system.

In 2015, Piney River Brewing produced over 2,200 barrels of beer. A $1.2 million expansion was completed on the farm, allowing the brewery to increase production with a new brewhouse, canning line and cold storage.

The brewery has distribution throughout most of Missouri and Arkansas.

Getting Ready for GABF 2014

In Beer Events on August 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm
Our first Piney River toast with our Gold medal winning Old Tom Porter.

Our first Piney River toast with our Gold medal winning Old Tom Porter.

You may have heard that at the Great American Beer Festival in 2013, Piney River took home a gold medal. Yep, we’re still kind of in shock about that win. But after our Gold Award experience at the World Beer Cup in April, it’s safe to say that we are really excited about entering in the 2014 GABF Competition. The chances are much greater that we will come away empty handed than with any awards, but our level of excitement for the competition is much higher in 2014 than it was when we shipped off a slew of Piney Pints in 2013.

So, if you happen to be in Denver the first week of October, come see us! We are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent craft beer made in the Ozarks again, and since many people have been asking, here’s the Piney River line up:

float trip aleFloat Trip Ale, 4.5% ABV, 18 IBUs  The 2014 World Beer Cup Gold Award for American-Style Wheat Beer, Float Trip Ale is a wheat-based blonde ale featuring subdued fruitiness a light hop bitterness and a crisp, smooth finish.

black walnut wheat labelBlack Walnut Wheat, 4.5% ABV, 18 IBUs  Black Walnut Wheat is an American style wheat beer with a black walnut aroma and a crisp, black walnut finish.

sweet potato aleSweet Potato Ale, 6% ABV, 24 IBUs  Sweet Potato Ale is our fall seasonal.  It is a malt forward blonde ale featuring the flavors of roasted sweet potatoes, spices and vanilla with a balanced hop profile, a subtle vanilla and spice aroma and a smooth finish.

Last year on Friday night we had to stop serving Sweet Potato Ale because we were into our second keg, and we were asked not to run out.  On Saturday the Sweet Potato Ale ran out in the first session.  We thought we should bring back this crowd pleaser for another go round, since beers made with sweet potatoes aren’t easy to find in the GABF hall.

old tom labelOld Tom Porter, 5% ABV, 25 IBUs  The 2013 GABF Gold Medalist in the Brown Porter Category, Old Tom Porter is full of roasted malts featuring chocolate and coffee flavors with a balanced hop profile for a smooth finish.

masked bandit black rye ipaMasked Bandit India Pale Ale, 7.5% ABV, 70 IBUs  Masked Bandit IPA features full-flavored dark malts and spicy rye combined with citra, centennial and amarillo hops to create a rich, full-bodied and complex India pale ale.

This year we have the awesome opportunity to share our Old Tom Porter at Friday’s GABF Media Lunch.  Old Tom will be paired with one of the courses at the lunch, and we’ll have a chance to share a little bit of our story with those present.  How cool is that?!

Let’s just say, the Piney River crew will work our way through the next few weeks, and we’ll be hopping on a plane bound for Denver.  We’re so excited about yet another trip to Denver.  We’re excited about pouring our beer for over 40,000 craft beer lovers. We’re excited about being with “our people” for four days.  We’re excited about the possibilities at GABF 2014!

 

Piney River Brewing Wins Gold at the World Beer Cup®

In The Beer on April 13, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus, MO claimed a gold award in the 2014 World Beer Cup, a global beer competition that evaluates beers from around the world and recognizes the most outstanding brewers and their beers.

Gold, silver and bronze awards in the competition’s 94 beer style categories were presented April 11, 2014 during the World Beer Cup award ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Denver, Colorado.

Piney River Brewing was awarded a gold award in the American-style wheat beer style category for its Float Trip Ale, a wheat-based blonde ale featuring pale wheat and malted barley with balanced, light hop bitterness and a smooth finish.

“We are truly honored to receive this gold award which recognizes our little brewery for brewing the best American-style wheat beer in the world,” Brian Durham, co-founder and head brewer at Piney River Brewing Company, said.

Float Trip Ale has been brewed since the brewery opened its doors in March 2011. In May 2013 the brewery began packaging the beer for distribution in kegs and 16-ounce pint cans. The beer highlights the Ozark experience of “floating” in a canoe, kayak, raft or tube on a Missouri stream.

“Around the world, people of all ages enjoy activities on streams, rivers and lakes, but in the Ozarks we are known for using the term ‘float trip’, which describes what many men, women and children do every year in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways,” Durham said, explaining that the brewery seeks to highlight the Ozarks with its beer.

Durham noted that when he and Joleen, his wife and brewery co-founder, decided to start a craft brewery in the Ozarks, they planned to package their beer in outdoor and river friendly aluminum cans.

“It was only natural that we highlight the quintessential Ozark experience—a float trip—with one of our beers,” Durham said. “Joleen and I love floating, and we developed this beer as something that could be enjoyed all day long while floating or doing anything fun in the Ozarks.”

Piney River Brewing is located on the Durham’s 80-acre farm, operating out of a 70-year old barn. The brewery was founded in 2010 with a 10-gallon brewing system. Today the brewery has a seven-barrel brewhouse which turned out 1,100 barrels of beer in 2013. In addition to draft beer, the brewery cans all of their beer in 16-ounce aluminum cans. The brewery has distribution in Central and Southern Missouri and Arkansas.

Last October, Piney River Brewing received a gold medal for their Old Tom Porter, a brown porter style beer, at the Great American Beer Festival—a national competition.

“We are thrilled to again shine the spotlight on our brewery and the beer that we’re brewing right here in the Ozarks,” Durham said. “To receive the top award for one of our beer styles at national and international competitions within less than one year’s time is a huge recognition for us.”

The Float Trip Ale was brewed by Lucas Clem and Amber Powell, the two full-time brewers at the brewery. Four additional part-time employees also work at the brewery.

“I cannot say enough about our brewery team and their commitment to quality,” Durham said. “Our mission at Piney River Brewing has always been to brew high quality beer that celebrates the Ozarks, and this World Beer Cup gold award for Float Trip is the realization of our brewery’s mission on an international stage.”

World Beer Cup winners were selected by an international panel of 219 beer judges from 31 countries. Regarded as the “Olympics of Beer Competition,” the World Beer Cup saw an impressive field of 4,754 entries from 1,403 breweries in 58 countries.

Presented by the Brewers Association, the World Beer Cup has been held every other year since 1996, to celebrate the art and science of brewing by recognizing outstanding achievement. For more additional information, visit the World Beer Cup website.

Piney River Brewing received their gold award at the 2014 World Beer Cup held in Denver on Friday night.  Shown here, left to right:  Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder, and Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association.

Piney River Brewing received their gold award at the 2014 World Beer Cup held in Denver on Friday night. Shown here, left to right: Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder, and Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association.

The All True Story of Piney River’s First Trip to the GABF

In The Beer on October 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm

There’s a really good chance you know how this story ends. But beyond the official photo and press release, you really need to know the whole story.

Brian and I decided that we were going to attend the GABF (Great American Beer Festival) this year. We wanted the opportunity to enter our beer in a national competition—mostly to see what kind of feedback we would receive. We have two brewers that are new to brewing and to the industry—Lucas joined our team in January and Amber joined our team in April. We wanted them to get their first taste of “the industry” of brewing, and heck, Brian and I always enjoy hanging with “our people”.

We left Bucyrus as 4 a.m. on Wednesday. There was a lot of talk about sleeping on the drive to Denver, but there was very little sleeping done. We were all too keyed up to sleep. There were soybean fields, corn fields, rolling Kansas hills, a big tom turkey standing on the edge of a cornfield, the world’s largest prairie dog….

We got to Denver, settled in to our hotel rooms and went to a special event at Wynkoop for the GABF attendees. There were some great beers on tap, yummy food, and our St. Louis Cardinals advanced to the NLCS.

Cardinals advance to NLCS.  Surly Pentagram.  Hanging with your peeps at a private party at Wynkoop.  #winning

Cardinals advance to NLCS. Surly Pentagram. Hanging with your peeps at a private party at Wynkoop. #winning

We made our way to Star Bar for a few beers, and Brian and I finally went back to our hotel around 1. Lucas and Amber closed the place down. So much for starting the day at 4 a.m.

On Thursday we drove up to Fort Collins to a VIP event at New Belgium—such a great place with awesome co-workers that really care about taking care of fellow brewers.

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We stopped in at Odell where a friend showed us the brand spankin’ new brew house and tap room expansion. Odell Brewing, a family-owned business that started on a kitchen stove, is SUCH an inspiration. (Thanks again, Lynsey!)

Thursday night was our first session at GABF. Each session is 5 hours. I don’t know how many people are at each session, but the GABF was a sell out with 48,000 tickets. That’s a lot of people! We were pouring Black Walnut Wheat, McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, Old Tom Porter, Missouri Mule IPA and Sweet Potato Ale. We sent our beer out in advance, in kegs, and they were already set up and ready to go. I should add here that the Brewer’s Association puts on this event with the help of volunteers. The volunteers are AWESOME. They work their butts off, and everyone that helped the area we were in and at our table was spectacular. I don’t remember all their names, but they were great.

Every session opens with a bagpipe parade.

Every session opens with a bagpipe parade.

The Piney River booth.

The Piney River booth.

The Piney River Crew in the booth.

The Piney River Crew in the booth.

The GABF divides the breweries up according to region. Our booth was in between Nebraska Brewing and Budweiser (St. Louis connection). Rockbridge, Tallgrass, Springfield Brewing Company and Mothers were some of the other beers in our section. There were breweries from all over the US—a lot of representation from breweries in Colorado and California. It was neat to have beers from New Glarus, Surly, Sun King, Three Floyds, Russian River and Elysian available to sample—all under one roof. There were also some lesser known breweries (some even smaller than Piney River) with great beers to sample, too.

Our Sweet Potato Ale was a big hit from the first night. There was only one other sweet potato beer being poured, and the brewery it was from was not pouring it. It was being poured at the Craft Brewers Guild tables. On Friday evening, we had to stop pouring the Sweet Potato so we would still have some for the later sessions. We still ran out of Sweet Potato in the first session on Saturday. Then, the attendees began hitting the Black Walnut Wheat.

On Friday we traveled to Upslope in Boulder for a special event with Crown Packaging (the place we get our cans from) and Wild Goose Canning (the company that made our canning machine). The labeled Piney River cans went over better than free beer. There’s serious interest among craft brewers in finding a way to do lots of brands without purchasing lots of truck loads of cans. This little brewery in Bucyrus has found a great option for breweries that can.

The very cool Sanitas Brewing logo--a new brewery that cans which we also visited in Boulder.

The very cool Sanitas Brewing logo–a new brewery that cans which we also visited in Boulder.

Saturday morning, about 5,000 members of the industry gathered in a ballroom in the bottom of the Denver Convention Center for the Great American Beer Festival Award Ceremony. Coffee, donuts, beer, bronze, silver and gold medals were awarded for beers in 84 different categories. We entered 10 beers—the maximum number we could enter–so we had 30 chances to win a medal. The possibilities were exciting, but we felt as though we would really just get good feedback to help us learn what to do for future competitions.

The stats for the 2013 GABF competition.

The stats for the 2013 GABF competition.

I had a dream on Friday night that we won a gold medal for McKinney Eddy Amber Ale, but at the ceremony 9 of the 10 categories came and went—including Amber Ale–without a mention of Piney River. Brown Porter, the 74th category of 84 beer categories, was our final chance. Brian, Lucas and I (Amber had to go back to Missouri for a family event) were sitting on a front row in a section with a bunch of people from CA that we didn’t know. But they knew each other because they kept congratulating other CA breweries as they received awards.

The bronze award winner for Brown Porter was announced. It was not us. Down to two chances.

The silver award winner for Brown Porter was announced. It was not us. And at that point, Brian, Lucas and I felt like our medal chances were over. What first time brewery wins a gold medal at the GABF?

Chris Swersey, the emcee, began announcing, “The Gold Medal goes to Old…”

“What?!,” I was thinking. Suddenly time slowed waaay down.

“Tom…,” Swersey said.

I screamed. I was sitting between Brian and Lucas, and suddenly we were high fiving and jumping up and stumbling down the aisle to accept a GOLD medal from Charlie Papazian.

Each of us has specific memories of going to accept that medal. Brian, who remembers walking on air, was tackled by a sales person from one of our distributors. I never saw it. I was just elated, reminding myself not to run to the stage. Lucas remembers feeling a little emotional, kind of teary-eyed.

And there we were. A gold medal around Brian’s neck. The flashes of dozens of cameras. The silhouettes of thousands of people looking back at us on that brightly lit stage. I never saw the red carpet, but Brian said one was there.

I had to snap a photo of all those people looking back at us.

I had to snap a photo of all those people looking back at us.

Piney River Brewing received their gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony held in Denver on Saturday morning.  Shown here, left to right:  Lucas Clem, brewer; Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association; Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder and original keg washing queen. Not present, Amber Powell, brewer.

Piney River Brewing received their gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony held in Denver on Saturday morning. Shown here, left to right: Lucas Clem, brewer; Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association; Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder and original keg washing queen. Not present, Amber Powell, brewer.

As soon as we walked off the stage, I gave Brian a GIANT hug. I remember thinking, “All that work. All the sacrifices. All days where we went to bed and got up to go to our day jobs in the same day.” I was so proud of Brian. I was so proud of Piney River. And then I started shaking.

I couldn't take a decent photo because I was shaking!

I couldn’t take a decent photo because I was shaking!

Lucas, Brian and I went to get a beer, but the beer stations were dry!!! (We need to time our medal winning a little better.) None of us really remember any of the last 9 award recipients. I was sending texts, tweeting and posting information online. Brian was texting our distributors. Lucas was texting Amber and his family.

By the time we were upstairs in the convention hall, the winners had been announced. Piney River’s booth was a non-stop sea of people. Yes, they were interested in Sweet Potato and Black Walnut, but many people just wanted to try Old Tom Porter. The story of Old Tom Porter would never be the same.

Later that afternoon, one of the judges of the brown porter competition stopped by to say how much they enjoyed our Old Tom Porter, and that even after the judging they finished drinking it. Another judge told us that gold medals only go to technically excellent beers. Brian realized that he no longer cared that he didn’t have formal brewing training and started Piney River as a homebrewer. Just like Paul Gatza from the Brewer’s Association said–when you’ve got a GABF medal around your neck, you can run through walls.

The winning entries ran inside the hall all day on Saturday.  I managed to snap a photo of the screen showing our category.

The winning entries ran inside the hall all day on Saturday. I managed to snap a photo of the screen showing our category.

Our first Piney River toast with our Gold medal winning Old Tom Porter.

Our first Piney River toast with our Gold medal winning Old Tom Porter.

We ended Saturday at the GABF with celebratory beers at Star Bar. It seemed like a good place to round out one of the most amazing days of our lives. On the ride home, I studied the corn fields, hoping to see another old tom. Old Tom didn’t need to make a second appearance. One was all we needed.

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Piney River Brewing Wins Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival®

In The Beer on October 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Piney River Brewing Company claimed a gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition. Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the largest national beer competition that recognizes the most outstanding beers produced in the United States. The top three winners in the competition’s 84 beer-style categories were announced October 12 at the Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. 

“Everyone at Piney River is overwhelmed and honored to bring home a gold medal from our small brewery here in the Ozarks,” Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder at Piney River Brewing, said.

Piney River Brewing was recognized in the “brown porter” beer-style category for its Old Tom Porter a traditional English-style ale that features roasted malts that have chocolate and coffee flavors with a balanced hop profile.  The brewery recommends pairing Old Tom Porter with beef or grilled meats and homemade vanilla ice cream.

Durham developed the recipe for Old Tom Porter shortly after opening the Ozark brewery in 2011.

“We wanted to have a dark, full-bodied beer to go with other ales that we had in our tap room lineup,” Durham said. 

The beer’s name gives homage to the “old tom” American wild turkey, which is native to the Ozarks.   

“It’s not uncommon to hear a tom turkey’s gobble reverberating off the bluffs and hills around our farm and the brewery,” Durham said, explaining that his brewery staff and customers regularly watch wild turkeys foraging for spent grains in the manure the brewery cows spread around the farm.

“The old tom can be very elusive, and we wanted to honor the great wild turkey heritage we have in the Ozarks with our porter,” Durham said.

Piney River Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in the South Central Ozarks in Missouri.  The brewer specializes in craft beers that celebrate the Ozarks by highlighting the region’s limestone filtered water in their beers and packaging their craft brew in 16-ounce pint cans that are “portable in nature”.

“Since we opened our doors in March 2011, our goal has always been to brew high quality craft beers that celebrate the Ozarks,” Durham said.

Piney River Brewing is located on Durham’s 80-acre farm, operating out of a restored 70-year old barn.  Durham founded the brewery with his wife, Joleen, in 2010 with a 10-gallon brewing system.  The seven-barrel brewhouse and related packaging equipment went into full-time use in the fall of 2011.  The brewery has distribution throughout Central and Southwest Missouri and Arkansas. 

“This year was the first time Piney River has entered any brews in a national competition,” Durham explained.  “We are beyond excited to bring home this win to our little brewery and to shine the spotlight on the rural Ozarks with this gold medal.”

Durham applauded the efforts of his two brewers, Lucas Clem and Amber Powell.  “We could not have done this without them,” Durham said.

The 2013 GABF competition winners were selected by an international panel of 201 expert judges from the record number of 4,809 entries received from 745 U.S. breweries.

“The Great American Beer Festival brings together the most stellar brewers from around the country,” said Chris Swersey, competition director. “Taking home a medal at this premier beer competition is truly a symbol of brewing excellence.”

For more GABF competition information, including the 2013 winners list and photos, visit GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com. Additional information about Piney River Brewing can be found at www.pineyriverbrewing.com

Piney River Brewing received their gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony held in Denver on Saturday morning.  Shown here, left to right:  Lucas Clem, brewer; Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association; Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder and original keg washing queen. Not present, Amber Powell, brewer.

Piney River Brewing received their gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony held in Denver on Saturday morning. Shown here, left to right: Lucas Clem, brewer; Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewer’s Association; Brian Durham, head brewer and co-founder; Joleen Durham, co-founder and original keg washing queen. Not present, Amber Powell, brewer.

More Craft Beer in Cans = More Good Times

In The Beer on July 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm

You probably don’t know this: waiting for your new craft beer cans is like waiting for a baby to be born.  You know the outcome, but it’s painful getting there.

When Piney River Brewing put McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and Missouri Mule India Pale Ale into Piney Pints, we knew that our customers would say, “That’s great.  What about X beer?  When’s X beer going into a can?”

As we’ve told many of you, we have to purchase a half a semi-truck load of one type of can.  That’s no small investment.  Plus, we’re still very much in the “figuring it out/blazing a trail” with craft beer in the Ozarks, especially craft beer in cans.

We originally decided to put our amber ale and our IPA in cans because those are two very popular craft beer styles.  We wanted to make the IPA lovers out there happy with our Missouri Mule India Pale Ale.  And we knew our McKinney Eddy Amber Ale would be enjoyed by craft beer lovers and those that are just learning to enjoy craft beer and want to drink local beer.  Thus, our reasoning behind why we canned those two first.

You, our customers, have spoken loud and clear, you want more choices of Piney pints.

First up, Old Tom Porter….  When we first brewed this beer about a year ago, we thought two things, “This beer is delicious.” And “This one’s going to be named after ‘Old Tom’(the North American turkey, one of our favorite birds around these parts).”  Roasted grains with rich chocolate and coffee flavors were a great way to pay homage to the wild turkey.

Old Tom is beer that our craft beer loving fans love, and we even have a few “big box” beer drinkers that love the Old Tom, too, because they love coffee.  Please note: there’s no coffee in Old Tom Porter.

Piney Pint…Meet Old Tom Porter.

Next up, Black Walnut Wheat….  Recently, one of our distributors asked us, “Why didn’t you can Black Walnut first?”  This time last year, Black Walnut Wheat hadn’t even been discussed as a possible beer idea, let alone brewed!

Remember this blog post?  This is the one where I (Joleen) decided to brew a little beer.  It was an experiment.  Not because I might screw it up, but we were having a little fun with an “experimental” beer that might or might not work out for an Oktoberfest beer festival we were doing.

That beer turned out just fine.  The beer festival attendees blew through that keg of beer in no time, and we continued to make Black Walnut Wheat throughout last fall.

Yours truly with the very first glass of Black Walnut Wheat Ale (sweet wort, prior to fermentation).

Customers would come to the BARn as soon as we opened, slam two growlers down on the counter and say, “Black Walnut Wheat.”  (They were afraid we would run out, and I was kind of afraid, too.)  Weekend after weekend, we would serve every keg of Black Walnut Wheat we had on tap.

We stopped making Black Walnut Wheat in late fall. That didn’t make anyone happy.  The new BARn customer question was, “When are you making more Black Walnut Wheat?”

As soon as we had space in our big brewing system, we made a large batch of Black Walnut Wheat and kegged it all, just in time for the 1st aleiversary of the BARn opening.  You drank all of that batch of Black Walnut Wheat, filled dozens of growlers with it, asked, “When are you going to can this?”

Piney Pint…Meet Black Walnut Wheat.

We started the can making process about eight weeks ago…which is why waiting on cans is like waiting for a baby to be born.  We know what we want the cans to look like.  We know what we want to put in the cans.  We know that you (and our distributors) are ready to receive cases of Old Tom Porter and Black Walnut Wheat.  But creating a can with your design isn’t quite as simple as designing a label that can be slapped on a generic brown bottle.

We received the prototype cans yesterday (these are reasonably close to the final product, handmade more or less, so we can be sure we like the can).  Next up, scheduling these cans to be made at the factory in Mississippi.  The cans are made one day in Mississippi, and they arrive in Bucyrus the next day.  Then something like this:

Would go into cans to find a store shelf near you.

It’s all American, handcrafted beer.  Happy 4th of July to you and yours!

American Craft Beer Week…Ozarks Style

In Beer Events on May 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Brian and I recently returned from the Craft Brewer’s Conference, an annual event sponsored by the Brewer’s Association.  It was inspiring and tasty, and some of the inspiration came from what we tasted.  But more about that later…

Next up on Piney River Brewing’s agenda is the celebration of American Craft Beer Week right here in the Ozarks.

What is American Craft Beer Week, you ask?

American Craft Beer Week is a nationwide celebration of the handcrafted beer made in the US by small, independent brewers.  From Monday, May 14th to Sunday, May 20th, thousands of beer beginners, beer enthusiasts and beer geeks across the nation will raise a glass in a celebratory toast to the handcrafted beers coming from their local craft breweries.  Piney River Brewing, our distributor, Grellner Sales of Rolla, Open Range Steakhouse of Willow Springs, Horseshoe Saloon Bar’n Grill of Salem and Fisher and Brown Speakeasy of Rolla have partnered together to bring excellent American Craft Beer Week celebrations to you.

As a side note–I find it so exciting to see all of the local, family-owned businesses working together to promote local food & local drink.  How cool is that?

Here’s the scoop:

Monday, May 14th from 5 to 9 p.m. at The Open Range Steakhouse in Willow Springs–Jim & Angel Alessi have graciously opened their doors and their taps to Piney River Brewing.  We will do a complete tap takeover at Open Range, and Jim and Angel and their great service staff will serve up some delicious homemade food (maybe even something that’s Piney River beer battered) to go with your craft beer pints.  Open Range has it all–appetizers, pasta, steaks, sandwiches, salads and AMAZING desserts, so you won’t go hungry, and Brian and I will be down at Open Range pouring up all six of our beers–Ozark Firefly Wheat; Black Walnut Wheat; McKinney Eddy Amber Ale; Bronzeback Pale Ale; Old Tom Porter and Missouri Mule India Pale Ale.  We’ll even help you pair our beer with your food!  So, grab your friends, your family, your neighbors and join us for an evening of great food and craft beer to kick off American Craft Beer Week in the Ozarks!

Tuesday, May 15th, 6 to 10 p.m. at Fisher & Brown Speakeasy in Rolla–Rick and the staff at the Speakeasy will have all six of our Piney River brews on tap to go with their lineup of appetizers and main courses.  Stop in for dinner, a couple of craft beers and karaoke with Ricky Bobby!  Again, Brian and I will be there to talk with you about our beer and to raise a toast to a great craft beer lineup at a locally owned bar in Rolla.

Thursday, May 17th, 6 to 10 p.m. at The Horseshoe Saloon Bar’n Grill in Salem–The Gray family is turning over their taps to their local brewery on Thursday night.  The Horseshoe serves a great lineup of  food including steaks, sandwiches and Tex-Mex.  We know you’ll be able to find something to pair with a beer from your local craft brewery–especially since we’ll have all six of our flagship beers on tap that night.  We’re hoping to raise a glass with you and the Gray family on their new patio that night.

At each of our tap takeovers, Grellner will have a copy of the Declaration of Craft Beer Independence that you can join men and women across the nation in signing the Declaration to show your support of beer made in America by small, independent breweries like Piney River.

Go ahead and clear your calendar now.  We’re looking forward to raising a glass with you right here in the Ozarks as we get together to celebrate American Craft Beer Week.