Patrick Explains our Brewhouse Transition
Dear Bruery Supporters,
Secondly, I’d like to give you some context for these filthy letters. On Sunday, June 14th, we decommissioned our original brewhouse. One thousand, six hundred and seven batches were lovingly brewed on that 15 BBL brewhouse, starting with Batch No. 1 – Levud’s and finishing with a special dry hopped lager we are fermenting at Bruery Terreux, finished with brettanomyces. In the last few years, we have been brewing on the system around the clock, five days a week. Mendocino Brewing Co. was the original owner, where it brewed for over a decade at their original Hopland brewery. We still don’t know where this brewhouse was manufactured, it’s void of all tags and stickers. Maybe it was sent from heaven?
As a startup brewery in 2007, it was a brewhouse I could afford, and it made my dream of The Bruery possible. Of course we had to make a lot of improvements to it to get to the point we’re at today. It’s a very manual system, where the grist is stirred in by hand, and removed by a shovel and the willpower of a brewer. Many remnants of Black Tuesday batches were scraped from the bottom of the boil kettle. We at The Bruery have had our share of special moments thanks to our old brewhouse, and some not so special moments as well! I am excited to keep the tradition of this brewhouse alive by putting her into the care of our friends at Third Window Brewing Co. in Santa Barbara, where I’ll be part of her third life as a Partner.
While I reminisce the past seven years with the brewhouse that helped us get here, I’m excited that our new GEA Craft-Star Brewhouse has joined our team! It’s a 30 BBL automated brewhouse, where all aspects of the brewing process are able to be measured and accurately reproduced. Together with our new Buhler four-roller mill and Cablevey conveying system, our mash is conveyed in record time (1200 lbs. in 8 minutes versus 45 minutes on the old brewhouse), and our mash extraction is off of the charts. Instead of shoveling out the spent grain by hand, the rakes move the mash to a bottom port, which is pumped out of the building with a Seepex progressive cavity pump. Our brewers now have more time to focus on the important part of brewing: the process. Other important (but less interesting) parts of our new production environment include an 120 BBL hot liquor tank (and related controls from Mueller) that is quickly brought up to temperature by a Miura boiler, which is incredibly efficient. Our 80 BBL cold liquor tank and related controls, also from Mueller, ensures our boiling wort can be cooled very quickly.
We’ve gone through a lot of changes in the past year and a half. We added new Kosme bottling line, a new GEA/Westfalia centrifuge, new offices (the offices are very real, but the location was a little April Fools’ Day fun), a new and very advanced lab, and countless other upgrades. We’re able to bring in these changes because of you. Yes, you. Not to mention our excellent banker, who has loaned us a lot of money, because of your support.
To be honest, I never intended The Bruery to become what it has become. Sometimes I look around the brewery and I don’t feel worthy of having these amazing tools. The Bruery has taken on its own life, capable of excellence beyond anyone’s initial expectations. My dream was to have a small production brewery, producing amazing beers. The beers we get to make and share with you on a daily basis is a realization of my dreams.
By most measures we are still small, and intend to stay small, but now we have the tools that are typically only at much larger, more sophisticated breweries. We are in the process of getting to know our beers better, discovering on a more elemental scale what makes them what they are, and where they can be improved. It’s a really exciting process for all of us.
Thank you for being a part of our story!