Twenty Twelve

So it seems a bit late to write an obligatory New Year’s post in which we wax poetic about resolutions and all that swell stuff. But given that Matt and I have been on two opposite corners of the hemisphere for a while now without the ability to brew, I’ll give a few updates as to where we’re at with the business and what we’re going to be up to this year.

IT’S A TAP

We wrapped up the school semester with our first event, the School of Art’s Senior Class Open Studio. After taking a few days to build a jockey box (a cooler that we converted to chill and dispense our beer), we set up a small booth in the corner of the Open Studio reception and handed out samples.

We had our White Sky and IPA on tap, and were promptly straight-up mobbed. Something about this Chai white ale thing really fascinates people. There was an excellent turnout, including a group from the Tepper Brewmeisters (the MBA beer enthusiasts’ club), with whom we have already done a tasting / focus group. Overall, we went through about 7 gallons in a little under two hours.

SENIORITIS

The upcoming semester is sure to be a blessing and a curse. Sure, it’s a bummer in that we’re not going to be able to pull a traditional senior slump and spend our last semester at CMU taking throwaway classes and living it up. But the idea of making serious progress on the brewery far outweighs that draw. Honestly, we’re going to be consuming a lot of beer either way.

We’re both enrolled in classes on new venture creation and interactive marketing, and will be finishing up our first complete draft of our business plan as soon as we can. Once we have something presentable and professional, we’ll be sending it out and rounding up our first investments.

Other fun bits include applying for both CMU’s Open Field Entrepreneurship Fund and Project Olympus, doing lots of wonderfully enthralling paperwork, researching the necessary steps to become an LLC, and hopefully making the company legally official as soon as possible. While all of this is going on, we’ll be beginning our search for a location and facility, and continuing to research full-scale brewing equipment (we’re shooting for a 15-barrel system, able to brew about 525 gallons at a time).

NEW YEAR, NEW BEER

As soon as we get back to Pittsburgh and get everything settled, we will be brewing our third batch of White Sky with a few small improvements. After that, though, things are flexible. A few styles that we’re excited to try our hand at:

  • Red Ale: We want to make something extremely drinkable without being boring as hell. Things like pale ales, pilsners, and ambers are the normal go-to for brewers trying to make “session beers”, but we want something that we can give an extra kick to.
  • Vanilla Porter: The key ingredient to my mother’s reality-shatteringly delicious chocolate chip cookies is a special type of imported vanilla. It’s got a bit of a spiciness to it, vaguely cinnamon-like. An infinitely more complex set of flavors than your average McCormick garbage, and hopefully something that would add a lot of character to a darker beer.
  • Mango IPA: Matt’s island upbringing meant the consumption of copious quantities of mangoes in all its glorious forms. The tree in his front yard is capable of producing 3-pound mega-mangoes, which can be eaten fresh, dried, made into salsa, pickled, or used as howitzer ammunition. So once we nail down our India Pale Ale, we want to try making a slightly citrus-infused spin-off, because why the hell not? Nothing too overbearingly fruity, just a vague hint of Hawaii in there. Although nothing will ever fully make up for this abomination, maybe we can alleviate any (completely understandable) lingering mangophobia.

Once we’re both in PGH and back on the same page, we’ll flesh all of these ideas out a little more. Any input from you/y’all/yinz is much appreciated. Keep an eye out for our next blog post some time within the next few weeks.

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