Thursday, January 31, 2008


It's been awhile but for a good reason! The past few weeks have been really busy with tons of work being completed, making the waiting time of savoring one of our very first beers in the not too distant future. Two things that I can't wait to work with: our new lab (making sure when you buy our beer that it is up to the quality that you demand) and our newly designed grant. The glycol piping is almost complete and I have to say that it the most impressive glycol setup that I have seen in a small craft brewery (only a brewer, I guess, would get stoked on glycol piping!)Our stainless welder, Todd, is finishing up with the custom piping that Patrick, Todd & I designed. All the loose ends are starting to come together (too much to list) and hopefully soon we will be able to brew, before I forget how to!

I put legs on the grist case.

Our little lab area, still waiting on more supplies!

Me starting to install the auger.

Our almost completed retro grant that Patrick and I designed.
I can't wait to use this thing; it just looks bad-ass!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Skyscraper Brewing First Anniversary Party

Just an FYI for those in Southern California-- next Saturday, January 19th from 2-8 pm will be a party at Skyscraper Brewing Co. celebrating their first year in business.  They'll be pouring their Lug Nut Lager (a California Common style beer), Bulldozer Honeyweizen, and Winter Warmer.  Cheers to Phil on making it through the first year, and here's to many more years of success!  I hope to see you (blog readers) there!

3229 Durfee Ave., El Monte, CA

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Power Has Arrived!

Title says it all.  We finally have power from Edison!  Those of you who have been here in the dark know what a great feeling that is for me.  I couldn't wait to roll up the many extension cords we had running all over the place around here.  The unfortunate part is I could finally see how filthy the restrooms are.

12 Days Til the Yeast Arrives...

The completion of the construction schedule now revolves around an order of yeast.  We are expecting our first yeast pitch from White Labs on the 22nd.  Yeast is a delicate organism, and should be used soon after propagation for it to work under the most favorable conditions.  I'd like to pitch it in a propagation batch on the 22nd to get enough yeast for a 30 bbl batch of Batch No. 01 and the following batch.

There's still a lot of work to complete, but it's not impossible that we'd be ready for the propagation batch on the 22nd.  The key areas to finish are in welding, electricity to the brewing equipment, auger installation, utilities (gas/electric) approval, and City / Health Department approval.  

It's not really about the yeast, but more about setting a deadline and doing everything in my power to meet that deadline.  It's about getting this brewery up and running after a long 9 months of trying to get this off the ground.

Despite all of the tasks remaining, The Bruery is finally looking like a brewery.  The brewhouse and all tanks are leveled and anchored, almost all equipment is in our possession, and my enthusiasm about running a brewery is as high as ever.  

It is hard to believe that a year ago I was putting together a business plan and looking around aimlessly for a location that would be perfect for a brewery-- mostly I just wanted floor drains already there.  Finding floor drains already installed was my goal, because I thought that would be the most expensive part of the construction process.  It's funny looking back on how little I knew.  It is humbling and frightening to realize that I'll think a year from now and have the same thought on how little I knew a year ago about running a brewery.  It'll certainly be a learning experience.  

I look forward to sharing my failures and successes with you.

Past Events in Pictures

In December the Hollingshead family invited me to speak at their Winter Tasting.  I introduced about 11 beers, giving any information I know about the brewery, how the beer was made, why Belgian beers are so great, and so on.  Kenny did a great job pimping The Bruery, comparing me to Vinnie Cilurzo (a stretch, I know!), and announcing he'd be the first account to sell my beer.  The last beer of the night was my Quadrupel, which went over well with the crowd.

Our good friend Spence and Rachel at the tasting.

 Tyler moving around a 15 bbl fermenter

The 30 bbl fermenter being moved over the curb

Glycol chiller being placed on the roof platform

Julian helping out in raising the brite beer tank

The lifting of the 30 bbl fermenter.  My contractor Bob did a great job in getting this beast up safety, and without any expensive riggers!

The two tanks in their permanent location.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Still Here and Working

More than two weeks and no new blog posts can't be a good thing, so I had to break the vicious trend.  I'll be catching up with all of the progress over the next day, but I'll give you a sneak preview:

The glycol chiller was placed, insulation installed, Rachel's recovering nicely from surgery but now has bronchitis and still isn't back to work, dozens of miscellaneous tasks too dull and ordinary to mention have been completed, had my brother drive from Portland to get a refrigerated trailer here a few weeks ago, yesterday found that the trailer was stolen from the Bruery parking lot, police are called, lots of drama, and so on.

Which brings us to the important question-- when's the first batch going to be brewed?  January-- very late January.