It’s already been six weeks, and yet it’s only been six weeks. After seven months of buildout and the seven months before that of building hunting, we finally made it. After all the R&D and planning, opening day came and went, and we weren’t even close to being ready for it. Our CO wasn’t received until the day before we opened, we ran out of shirts because we couldn’t afford to order more, we didn’t have enough people available to pour beer, and one of our flagship beers didn’t come out of the fermenter the way we wanted it to. So it goes.
That last bit is what this post is about. Brewing beer is a science sure, but it’s not an exact science all the time (like say scaling up from 10 gallons to over 180). So sometimes things don’t always turn out the way you want it to. Take our Possum Trot, for example. It’s such a great beer, and I knew that because I’d made over and over again…10 gallons at a time. But the first time we scaled it up something went very wrong. It was a nightmare, and the worst part was I had no idea where the problem came from. I was left with a glass full of a shit liquid that had no business being drunk, no idea as to where to start to fix it, and opening day was here.
So what do you do when you invest in 186 gallons of beer, and it doesn’t come out the way it’s supposed to? Well, what we did was warn people not to drink it while it was holding a place on the wall…and then we dumped all 35 kegs of it. That’s right, we filled China street with that damn liquid. And while we were manually opening up 35 Sankey kegs and dumping the contents into the street, I was torn between being disgusted and proud. Disgusted because it was like pouring money down the drain (and we have a great need of money as a new business), and proud because we were choosing to have standards instead of a good bottom line. I’m leaning more towards proud because it feels good to say, “That’s not good enough. We can brew better.” (See what I did there?)
So we did. We brewed it better. I made a few adjustments, and it came out pretty damn close to what we’re hoping for. Next time it’ll be better. And that’s all we’re trying to do…get better. To get better with each brewed batch, with each Saturday we open, with each pint poured. In six weeks we’ve learned alot. We’ve learned that almost nothing goes according to plan; that when glycol equipment breaks, it’s expensive to fix; that if your bathrooms stop working around 8 on Saturday evening, everyone leaves your brewery; and so much more. But all that means for us is that we’re getting better, and having a damn good time doing it.
Until next time.