August. A seemingly mundane month.
With it's high heat, afternoon haze, and evening buzz of late summer insects, August is routinely in the shadow of mid-summer fun July and the early fall bliss of September. It's called the dog days for a reason. Despite this, August has been, and will be, a pretty great month for Dancing Gnome.
To start things off, I want to give a quick shoutout to the entire Western PA brewing community. Opening any business is incredibly time consuming, incredibly frustrating, incredibly exhausting, and at the end of each day, incredibly rewarding. We have all hit roadblocks, and I've certainly had my fair share. I wrote last time about our plumbing woes, and the most recent halt in progress was due to the installation of our steam boiler. More on that later, but back to the point. All of the ladies and gents in the local brewing industry have lent me their ear and metaphorical hand recently, and it's beyond appreciated. Remember to go out and support all the local breweries. Not that you needed a reminder, but just saying, they are all fantastic humans and brewers.
Back to the fun stuff.
So the plumbing is done, the cement has been poured, the equipment has been placed, cold room constructed, draft lines and bar top installed, and the taproom is nearly completed. Not to mention the stellar outside sign work. Only two things stand in my way from firing up the system. The steam boiler and the glycol chiller. The boiler is what powers the brewhouse and allows me to make that sweet, sweet wort and boil it with those incredible hops you all know and love, which will then ferment out and become beer. It's a monstrous piece of machinery that requires a lot of understanding and care to install properly. To keep this short, I'll just say it took more time than I had wanted in order to nail down the specifics of the install, but it's currently underway, as is the install of the chiller.
The last of the major work should be finished up by next week, which means maybe I'll get to fire up the system and begin to work out the kinks as early as the 22nd of this month. Here's to hoping. If that's successful, then only a few more things to take care of in the taproom, a health inspection, and we can set an opening date.
Few more notes of interest.
I've had some inquiries about it recently, so I thought I'd let you all know that I will not be pouring at this year's Big Pour. I'm a huge fan of the event, and support construction junction immensely, but with everything that's been happening, I thought it best for my focus to remain set on the completion of the brewhouse and the taproom. I'm hoping to be apart of at least one more festival sometime throughout the fall/winter, but hope to see you all in the taproom before then.
I've also been getting a lot of questions about canning. I'm ready to roll on the canning front. My labels are approved, the canning line is in, and really all I need is the beer to fill it with, but I'm going to hold off for a few months. Changing systems, no matter the scale, is somewhat unpredictable. I've done my best in the scaling of my recipes and processes, but there will be efficiency differences, as well as small eccentricities of the system that I'll need to get used to. I want to make sure the beer is where I want and expect it to be from a quality standpoint before I start to package, especially into cans, as that brings a whole new challenge to quality control.
Finally, I want to say congrats to the whole Brew Gentlemen crew on the placement of General Braddock's IPA at #2 on a blind tasting of 247 of the best American IPAs by Paste Magazine. Check out the whole article here. It's pretty awesome to see them beat out some really heavy hitters, and they most certainly deserve it. So if you've never been, or haven't in a while, go hit up Brew Gentlemen. Right now.
So with August nearly halfway down, I'm eagerly hoping to be able to say that it's the month I was able to first brew on the 10bbl system.
In the coming weeks I'll try to update with some photos and information about any potential opening dates as things draw closer. Thanks to everyone for your continued interest in Dancing Gnome, and I really look forward to having everyone into the taproom to share in what I've been building over the past two years. See you all soon.