It’s been a busy few days at the Hops & Grain Brewery. We’ve been hard at work doing our part to make east 6th street smell like, well, awesomeness.
Last Thursday we started brewing and after 6 straight days we finally stopped for a break last night. Our very first brew was a 3 bbl batch of our American Pale Ale, Pale Dog. We decided to push a batch through our smaller pilot brewhouse first before launching into the bigger system. I’ve got to say, I got a little misty eyed on my way to the brewery Thursday morning. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotions over the past year working to get our brewery open and to see it all come to fruition was an incredible mix of nervousness, happiness, feeling-like-a-kid-at-Christmas-ness and plenty of good old fashioned anxiousness. I ride my bike to the brewery just about every day but this particular ride through east Austin was a bit faster than most. Here are a few shots of us mashing in on the Greenhouse courtesy of USABeerTrends, much more manual than our bigger brewhouse but the extra calories you burn are nice, makes the beer taste that much better!
The first batch went relatively smooth and we were pleased with the our process. So, we decided to move to the 15 bbl brewhouse and start filling our fermenters. I’m really excited about the flexibility that the Greenhouse 3 bbl system is going to offer us. Many people have asked me why we decided to purchase two separate brewhouses. After brewing on the smaller system for the first time I was even more confident in our decision. If you need any more convincing check out our good friends from Odell Brewing Co. in Ft. Collins, CO. We think they are making some of the best beers out there, and we like their 5 bbl pilot system as well!
First up was the Pale Dog. Two days in a row we brewed 15 bbl’s to fill one of our fermenters. We have just recently brought on our first employee, Adler Lentz, who moved out here from San Diego. Adler was working with Premier Stainless Systems before coming to work with us and he actually installed and commissioned our brewhouses back in April. So, needless to say, our first brew on the big system went really smooth. Adler has installed around 50 breweries in the US over the past year and a half and his mastery of our system became very apparent when we fired it up. The guy is like a wizard moving around the brewhouse and we are both incredibly excited about the beer that we are producing. It was really cool coming into the brewery on Monday morning to hear the symphony of bubbling coming from our full fermenter of Pale Dog!
Next up was the Alt-eration, our German style Altbier. I’ve been incredibly excited to brew this beer as this is one recipe that I’ve never had the opportunity to brew on a large scale. It’s a very complex beer both in process and ingredient list. The mashing schedule is a bit different that your standard single temperature infusion and hitting all the right temperatures is absolutely pivotal to an authentic Alt. Again, having Adler in the brewery made it relatively painless and we hit every step spot on. Both batches of the Alt went into the fermenter almost exactly where I wanted them to. Still dialing in our efficiency on the new system but all things considered I feel very good about what’s happening in both of our 30 bbl fermenters.
And now we wait. Or, rather, clean kegs, get the canning line operational, get the kegging set-up operational, finish out the tasting room, clean our lagering tanks, follow the metabolic activities of our yeast friends and bake more Brew Biscuits. So, we should be keeping busy!
Keep following our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates on where to get your first taste of Hops & Grain Beer!
Oh, and check it out this sweet video of our first brew on the Greenhouse, thanks to USABeerTrends!