Piney River Brewing Company

Posts Tagged ‘Piney pints’

Another Piney River Craft Beer Story–Hot Date Ale

In The Beer on January 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm

hot date ale cans in the snow“Are you trying to incite a riot?”  Brian asked.

I had posted the graphic for our upcoming “Hot Date Ale” on the brewery’s Facebook page.  Folks went a little crazy over it.


Yes, I was trying to gauge the interest.  No, I didn’t want to start a riot.

Either way, Hot Date Ale is out there.  And yes, there’s a bra on the can graphic.  First time that’s ever happened?  Quite possibly.

The question that we are constantly asked is, “How do you come up with stuff like this?”

So here’s the story of Hot Date Ale….

Rewind to our very first tasting event at Homegrown Foods in Springfield, MO.  The day before Thanksgiving in 2012, Brian gave out samples of beer alongside “The Date Lady” who was giving out samples of her date syrup.

Brian brought home some jars of date syrup.  “I’m going to brew something with this,” he said.

A few weeks later Brian and I were doing a tasting event at one of the “Barrels” stores attached to a Price Cutter in Springfield.  The store manager said with conviction, “You should brew something with peppers.  I can’t keep pepper beers in stock.”

Around that time we were planning for our very first beer dinner with Jason Miller at Instant Karma in Joplin.   Jason requested something like 9 different beers for the dinner.  Brian was working on getting creative.  Meanwhile I was loving some Cocoa Mole from New Belgium and Mole Stout from Ska.  “We should make a pepper beer,” I agreed.

“Hot Date! We will call it Hot Date!” Brian said.  He dreamed up an idea of an amber base beer with date syrup and pepper.  What kind of pepper?  Well, we have a fondness for chipotle.  How much to add?  Not so much to hurt, but enough to warm.

We dragged out the Sabco Brew Magic and brewed a 10-gallon batch—the first of which was destined for the Instant Karma beer dinner.

The second batch of Hot Date Ale was served at the 2nd Aleiversary last March.

Sometime this summer we began discussing the idea of canning Hot Date Ale and slapping a label on the can as a seasonal offering during the winter months.  We brewed a batch that was served at beer festivals around the Ozarks during Oktoberfest, and we received very positive feedback about Hot Date Ale.

But what does Hot Date Ale have to do with the Ozarks?  We needed a label to put on a blank can.

It took less than an hour for Brooke Hamilton at Grindstone Studio to shoot back sketches of clothing hanging on a tree branch over the Big Piney River.

“It’s perfect,” I told Brooke.   “How did you come up with this?”

“A lady never reveals her secrets,” Brooke replied.

Of course not.

However, Brian and I have lived in the Ozarks long enough to know that a bra hanging on a tree branch was truly the Ozark way.  Because if you throw the bra on the ground it could end up with spider or tick in it.  And who wants to worry about something like that on a Hot Date?

Hot Date is our handcrafted amber ale brewed with a touch of sweet dates and a hint of chipotle pepper heat. We know that a little sweet heat can pair well with a secluded bend in the river or a remote spot on the trail. It may be your first time with a Hot Date in the Ozarks, but it won’t be your last.

Hot Date Label


Tap Room Tweaks

In The BARn on September 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Many of you were at the BARn last weekend. A lot of you were not here, but it was nearly standing room only. And there were so many empty kegs at the end of the day that we wondered what we would serve in the upcoming week.

Even now, I am thinking of this person and that person that came in…and many of you stayed awhile, too. On a fluke, and since it was Labor Day weekend, Brian and I got some brats and grilled them to give away to those that came in, too.


We had two new beers–Honey Basil Ale and Sweet Potato Ale on tap. We didn’t really announce the new beers many hours before the tap room opening, and we definitely didn’t announce anything about the brats until the tap room was almost open on Saturday. In fact, at 2:15 when Brian, Debra, Lucas and I were chilling on the porch, I think I may have uttered something like, “It may be a slow day today.”


We had visitors from Salem, Lebanon, Licking, Cabool, Plato, Mountain Grove, Houston, West Plains, St. Louis, Fort Leonard Wood and everywhere in between. For many people, it was a first visit. For at least as many more it was the second or the third time or more that you visited. Thank you to all of you!

Let me take you back a little bit…when Brian and I started renovating the barn we had the idea that we would build this big bar and a deck off the upstairs.

We thought we might operate a little tap room on the weekends, maybe once a month. We really didn’t think that people would want to drive two miles down a gravel road located in the middle of nowhere to drink beer and look at cows and turkeys and listen to Indie rock and folk music and the birds and the wind blowing through the trees. Boy were we wrong!

You came! And you keep coming back! And you bring your friends! And you bring your family members! Thank you!

We are so honored and humbled to have a place to share with others. Our BARn, our farm out here in the Ozarks is our little piece of heaven that we have the opportunity to share with you and your friends and family for five hours each weekend.

And we’re still trying to figure out how to run a tap room.

In fact, earlier this year at the Craft Brewer’s Conference, I led a panel discussion with some great packaging breweries in attendance–Lucky Bucket Brewing, Sun King Brewing, Odell’s Brewing and Marble Brewery–talking about running a tap room in addition to the packaging side. Talk about a collection of great minds! They shared their wisdom to a packed room of several hundred people in the industry. Turns out that I’m not the only packaging brewery out there that’s trying to figure out running a tap room.

All of the panelists in my tap room discussion, like Brian and I, had a dream to make beer that ended up in bars, restaurants and refrigerators in our local areas. We all quickly learned that our craft beer fans wanted to come to the source to meet us, to drink our beer, to fill growlers. We’re all trying to figure out how to accommodate everyone–from our distributors and the bars and restaurants that serve our beer to the people that come to visit us personally in the tap room. And we appreciate your patience and understanding as we do this.

So we’re making a few tweaks in the tap room at Piney River Brewing as we start the autumn season.

We’ve lowered the price on our pints and 4 oz. pours of Black Walnut Wheat. There was a time when Black Walnut Wheat was a “special” beer that we brewed. We still really believe in the special nature of this beer, and it’s our number one selling beer to our distributors and in tap room. However, we’re lowering the price of the Black Walnut Wheat from here on out. Cheers!

We’re changing the way we handle growlers–our half gallon glass containers that allow you to take fresh draft beer “to go”. Growlers are “to go” only, not to be consumed in the brewery or on the brewery grounds. Likewise, pitchers of beer will no longer be available. In order for Piney River Brewing to have the tap room we have, we must have our beer available in bars and restaurants across the Ozarks. We don’t sell our Piney Pints for less than they are in retail stores, so we’re not going to sell our draft beer for less than it is in area bars and restaurants. We appreciate your understanding that if you’re going to drink beer at the BARn, we’ll gladly pour you a perfect imperial pint in one of our great tap room 22 oz. glasses or you can drink lots of 4 oz. pours. You’ll always get a fresh glass, a great view and smile with every pint or pour we serve to you.

Don’t forget that at Piney River we are happy to fill growlers from other breweries, too! We know that’s not always something that’s available in many brewery tap rooms. And if you have one of those cheap, metal growler caps, we’ll even trade your cap for one of our special poly seal caps to keep all that great draft beer freshness bottled up inside.

Just like our recently introduced Honey Basil Ale and our Sweet Potato Ale, Brian and I are taking the time to play and to create to provide new things for you, our tap room friends.

A 4 oz. pour of Honey Basil Ale.

We’ve got a Chocolate Pumpkin Ale in the works and few more ideas that we’ve dreamed up, too. We can’t wait to brew them and to share them with you…in the BARn.

We promise we’ll add another bathroom..right there where it says “bathroom in planning”. In addition to the cherry wood floor that’s already milled and ready to go down upstairs, we have a few other really special plans for the tap room. And we’re going to get some more tables and chairs, too–for the indoors and the outdoors! It’s obvious that whenever we think we’ve got “enough”, we’re wrong.

Our plan is to continue to stay open on Saturdays from 2 to 7 through the fall and winter, too. We will be open during the Saturdays around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Yes, we heard you loud and clear last year…you want to bring your family and friends to visit the local brewery when they come to visit you!

And…as much as possible, we plan to offer tours on Saturdays, too. When Brian and I are working, we will give them–probably two each Saturday. If we aren’t there, we will try to make arrangements for someone else to give a tour. And tours are free, just like the samples that we pour up each weekend.

Thank you again our craft beer loving friends for your support of your local brewery! We are having so much fun with you, and we appreciate your patience as we grow, too.

See you soon in Brewcyrus!






Craft Beer Lake Ozark Style

In Beer Events on August 14, 2012 at 10:59 pm

We received a few flyers about the Midwest Wine and Brew Fest in Lake Ozark a couple of weeks ago. There were several wineries listed on the flyer, but there was only one brewery. Yes. You guessed it. Piney River Brewing.

Really? The only brewery? No competition for craft beer lovers? Seriously?

Alright! We knew we were going to rock the festival.

The festival was in a large, spacious, carpeted room. We had three full size skirted tables to spread ourselves out on. There were silver trays with little packages of palate cleansing crackers and silver dump buckets. (I left our five gallon beer festival plastic bucket behind the tables.)

And the crowd? They were even better!

From across the state and even from out of state, these legal drinking age attendees from young to old were serious about their wine and craft beer. (My favorite ones–the mature women that come up to our table, lean in close like they are sharing a secret and say, “I like wine, but I really like beer.”)

Great location. Great crowd. And the breweries and wineries got to sell their beer and wine at the event! The wineries sold their beer in to the chamber at wholesale pricing, and the chamber sold t to those in attendance at retail pricing with the profit going to the chamber. Since we can’t sell our beer that way, our lake area distributor, Grellner Sales, sold cases of our beer in to the Chamber. Those in attendance walked away with four-pack after four-pack of Piney Pints. Near the end of the day we even donated some of our beer to the chamber to sell to a customer that really wanted to take home some handcrafted Piney River beer.

I promised Morgan Crainshaw with the Chamber that I would try to get more breweries to come out to this event in 2013. What a great opportunity to meet a bunch of people who like distinctive beverages!

Piney River’s great day was not over yet!

Maybe you’re familiar with this:

Yes, it’s a Chili’s. It’s not just any Chili’s, though. This is the Lake Ozark Chili’s and quite possibly the coolest Chili’s ever.

Earlier in the year Travis Powell, managing partner at this Chili’s contacted us via Facebook. He was enjoying Missouri Mule and McKinney Eddy Amber Ale and selling Piney Pints in his restaurant. We planned to take samples of our new Old Tom Porter and Black Walnut Wheat by the restaurant.

We didn’t get to meet Travis Saturday night, but we did get to meet Cameron Starkey, a manager, and several great staff members. This Chili’s is serious about offering great craft beer to their patrons–regulars and people traveling through looking for a local beer to go with their meal.

Brian talks with the manager, Cameron, at the Chili's bar in Lake Ozark.

Cameron and his staff were SO excited to receive our new beers. They were happy to meet us in person. They can’t wait to visit the BARn, and they opened their doors to us to train their staff about Piney River Beer. And finally, they even wanted our photo with our beer on their bar.

Paul’s Supermarkets, Hy-Vee and a bunch of new friends a Chili’s. Lake Ozark better get ready; a local beer is finding its way to your shores!


A Doer, Not a Dreamer…Piney River Brewing Style

In Start up on January 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm

It started early in the week…we spent our evenings wrestling with white pine boards for the walls of the tap room at the BARn.  We knew we needed to just “take a day” and work non-stop on our construction work.

My mom was coming in for a visit, and we knew that we would have a little childcare for Andy available.  I also shoved my regular five day a week job into four days this week and took Friday off.

The Piney River Brewing “weekend” started on Thursday evening.  Brian, Andy, my mom and I went to the Midway Bar and Grill in Mountain Grove for dinner.  The Midway has had our McKinney Eddy Amber Ale on tap for a few weeks, and we wanted to meet the owner and have dinner.  First of all, let me say, going into a restaurant and ordering your own beer is NOT overrated.  It’s fun!

The Midway had a big McKinney Eddy Amber Ale sign hanging inside, and right next to it was a huge “Support Your Local Brewery” sign.  Wow.  Thanks, Grellner.  (Our distributor hooked them up with the cool signs.)  We recommend the homemade Midway “chips” with your McKinney Eddy.  Yum!   We met the owner, Shari, and of course, it was Andy that really recognized her because he knew her as the mom of one of his classmates.  Thanks, Andy.  And a BIG thanks to Shari and the staff at the Midway for supporting your local brewery!

Rodney Edwards at Grellner invited us to a meeting with the sales staff at Grellner on Friday morning, so we got up and around early for a 7:30 a.m. meeting in Rolla.  We had the opportunity to meet several members of the sales staff, and Piney River Brewing is the featured brewery for the month of February for the Grellner sales staff.

The great news for all of our customers in the Central and South Central Ozarks is that Grellner will be pushing our beer out to ALL retail locations in their sales territory.  Lake Ozark, Sedalia, Warrensburg, Lebanon and all of the towns in and around those areas will soon be offered a beer handcrafted in the Ozarks.  We’re very excited about offering “Missouri Mule IPA” at the home of the University of Central Missouri Mules.  We can’t wait to provide locally brewed Piney Pints to be enjoyed at Lake of the Ozarks and at Bennett Springs State Park and on the Niangua and Gasconade Rivers.  Plus, Grellner worked with the corporate folks at Casey’s, and our UPC symbols are now in the Casey’s corporate system.  We know there are some towns in the Ozarks where Casey’s may be the only place to buy a craft beer. (If you are one of those folks, ask Casey’s to get some Piney River Beer for you!)

On our way home from Grellner, we stopped in and met the owner at Triplett’s in Licking.  He had Piney River beers right there next to the “big guys”.  Doug at S&S Package in Houston also chatted with us for a bit.  He’s selling Piney River four-packs and as singles which allows people the opportunity to try one before they buy the entire four-pack.  And we can’t overlook Houston’s Pit Stop which has supported craft beer in the Ozarks for a long time, and they are thrilled to have a locally crafted beer to sell in their store.

We were home and working in the BARn by 10:30 a.m., hanging more white pine on the walls.  With the help of my dad, we about got a 60′ X 8′ wall covered.  Whew.  He was so tired, he wouldn’t even take any beer home with him as thanks for his help.

We stopped for dinner, went back out to the brewery to set up for being open on Saturday, and headed back out about 7:30.  Since we hadn’t been to Rolla in a few hours, we headed back that way and stopped in at The Speakeasy, a new 1920’s style bar that recently opened in downtown Rolla.  The Speakeasy was very cool, definitely a good place to spend some time on a Friday night.  Currently, our McKinney Eddy Amber Ale is on tap at The Speakeasy, and you may see some more Piney River brews there very soon.

Our evening wasn’t over though, from Rolla we drove to Salem to the Horseshoe Bar and Grill, a new restaurant/bar that opened late last year.  Although the owners at the Horseshoe hope to add some more taps, they are currently offering McKinney Eddy Amber Ale in its Piney Pint form, and they are selling a few of them.   They have hopes of putting in a set of “local” taps in the near future.

Brian and I finally closed our eyes about 1:30 the following morning…a pretty late night for us.  I told Brian that the breweries in urban areas have it easy, just walking a few blocks to find their beer on tap.  In rural America, you have to cover a lot of miles between the brewery and the places that have you on tap, but that’s what we love about bringing craft beer to the Ozarks.  We know how to celebrate those wonderful places in between us and the stores and restaurants that are serving their local craft beer!

Saturday was another great day at the brewery.  We had a lot of “regulars” and  a lot of newcomers as well.  We love the way people enjoy sitting down with a pint and taking in the tap room in the works, the cows and calves in the pasture, the sunshine and fire pit outside.  We are so glad the BARn is place that people want to come back to!  Thank you for letting us be a part of the good times in your lives!

Sunday wasn’t a day to sit around either.  We had a brite tank full of Missouri Mule India Pale Ale to can.  We kegged some of the IPA, then we cranked out 84 cases of beer that already has a destination point in its future…Springfield, MO.  That’s right, on Friday Heart of America Beverage Company is sending their first beer truck in.  They are taking Missouri Mule IPA and McKinney Eddy Amber Ale to the thirsty people in Southwest Missouri.  Lance Forsee and the folks and Heart of America already have a plan in place to distribute our beer to selected locations in Southwest Missouri, and we are looking forward to sharing those locations with you very soon.

About 7:30 tonight Brian and I sat down to a dinner of leftovers and Rompo Red Rye Ale that was brought to us in a growler from Jackalope Brewing in Nashville, TN.  The beer was good, but the long weekend of work was even better.

“Heckuva weekend,” I said to Brian.

Brian gave me a high five and quoted a line from Tom Asacker, that has been our mantra since we began this thing called Piney River Brewing Company–“The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

Cheers to all of you–the distributors, the sales teams, the retail stores, the restaurant and bar owners, the customers that visit us and the places that carry our beer.  You are the best, and you give us the inspiration to keep “doing” craft beer in the Ozarks every day!