On Friday afternoon last week we had ourselves about as ready as we could get prior to embarking on the enormous transformation from brewery set up to beer production and brewing, as we excitedly and a little anxiously awaited the arrival of Robert Soltys from Premier Stainless Systems in San Diego, California. A wonderful part of the package with Premier is a few days with one of their install engineers (in our case the president and founder of the company) on site to commission the brewhouse and assist in the production of the first few brews.
Our first production schedule, the list of beers we want to have ready in time for our launch events mid March, includes everything from light and easy to big and heavy (for our barrel store), so we decided to leave it to Robert to decide which beer to brew first. Wisely, and with a relaxed, unhurried steadiness that comes with twenty years in the industry, Robert chose our pale ale recipe as a good way to test the system. After tweaking connections and electrics, and all day on Saturday testing the system, on Sunday the 15th we brewed our first beer. It was a long, eventful, tiring, yet utterly exhilarating day. By the end of the day we had the makings of beer in one of our 24hl fermenters, and left the brewery happy and very excited to have made a start.
On Monday we brewed an altogether bigger beer, nearly doubling the grist weight and nearly halving the wort volume at the other end, and yesterday we brewed gyle number three – a quaffable, hoppy beer that ought to hit the bars for our launch events.
Sadly, we had to bid farewell to Robert this morning as he set off back home. Not only did he leave us well set up and with full confidence in our brewhouse, but with many happy memories in the process. His steady, relaxed, and jolly manner was fundamental in helping us all relax into the commissioning process.
We’re in need of a good night’s sleep, and some time to digest and reflect on the lessons that unfolded out of the first three brews, but can’t wait for gyle number four tomorrow.
In the coming days we’ll announce the rest of our launch events that will follow after our Spring launch at Port Street Beer House on the 16th of March, which will see us travel to some of the UK’s best beer bars with just about everything we can brew and package between now and then. It feels utterly fantastic to be up and running. Thanks, as always, for you interest, enthusiasm, likes, shares, retweets, and encouragement.