Friday, June 29, 2012

Floor plan and the Parkway Pro-Am

Well, it has been a busy couple of weeks.  Most of what's been going on is paperwork related.  We're waiting on securing our brewers bond, which is essentially an insurance policy we need to take out for the government guaranteeing them that we will pay our taxes.  Once that's done we can submit our application to the TTB (feds) to get our microbrewery license.

More complicated, and more physical paper pages, was the WA State Liquor Control Board paperwork.  Those are the forms where they want to know your work history, past addresses, shoe size, blood type, ect.  Part of that process is filing architectual drawings of what the proposed site will look like:

It might be hard to make out, but this is basically what we're planning.  Thats the bathroom in the middle, with the tasting room facing the street and the brewery operations in the back.  The dotted line to the left represents our outdoor seating.  There'll be room for around 10 to 20 people inside with an additional 15 or so outside.

Separate drawings of the cornhole court will be submitted to the ACO for sanctioned events.

In addition to all of the paperwork, we also got to try our beer (sort of) being served in an actual legitimate drinking establishment!  The Parkway Tavern in Tacoma participated in a homebrew competition which gave the winners the chance to brew up a single batch of  beer and have it served there at the pub.  If you remember back a few posts, our Pale Ale took gold so we went to Puyallup and brewed up a keg a few months back:

I must say it turned out pretty good!  We were a little nervous because brewing at The Station was so much different than brewing in Seattle.  Our water here in the city comes from the Tolt reservoir, which is very soft.  Essentially the water here is rain water, with very few of the minerals which are needed by yeast and the beer to make a great tasting product.  This is a bonus for brewers since it's easier to add minerals to water than it is to remove them.

Down in Puyallup it's a different story.  That water comes from an underground aquifer and has quite a few dissolved salts in it.  Not having a water report handy, we just brewed straight from the tap without managing our mineral additions.  I don't think that the average consumer would notice too much, but I could definitely tell the difference. Obviously from the photo on the left, our clarity suffered as well.

Either way, it was a great experience, and the Parkway is an awesome neighborhood pub.  It was a thrill to hear some random stranger walk up to the bar and order a pint of our beer!  Cheers!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We have an Etsy store!

Ok, no not really - but this post is about to get all crafty and DIY up in your face. 

A couple of weeks ago I decided to try and create a prototype of our tasting tray.  This is the kind of thing you'd order when you come in and see all of the tasty beers we have on tap and just can't decide on which one to get a pint of.  I took my inspiration from the cool tasting trays they have at Falling Sky brewing down in Eugene:


Now, these are quite fancy and plastic and clearly manufactured by professionals.  That's fine, ours may or may not be as well, but the idea was to just get something to give us an idea of what to expect.  Also, something for the blog.

So - the Falling Sky tray is kind of cool because it looks like their logo, a rain cloud (my picture is upside down).  Our logo is a thankfully much easier shape to replicate being a simple ellipse.  I figured I could cut a shape like that out of 1/4" think plywood pretty easy. 


I used the pins and string method to sketch out an ellipse which was 11 inches wide by 8 inches tall.  This animation came in handy.  This was a rough estimate for how big the tray would need to be to hold six 4 ounce tasting glasses.  I then centered six 2" holes and using a drill saw, the kind you normally use for door knobs, drilled out my glass holders.


Once that was done it was a matter of roughing out the ellipse with a jigsaw.  My skills with a jig aren't all that, so it took a couple of hours of sanding to smooth out the edges.  Eventually I had a deck which was looking pretty good.

As you can see above, the glasses fit nice and snug in the holes I drilled, so there's no need for a bottom layer to the holder.  The glasses fit in about one inch beneath the hole.  All that I needed next was some legs.  I went with 1 1/2" carriage bolts, threaded through plastic tubing which was 1 1/8th in long.  That left me enough room on the bolt to snug down the top with a nut and secure the legs onto the top deck.

Here's a couple of shots of the finished product, after some black paint:








Turned out pretty good I think.  It's roughly the same dimensions as our logo and should be pretty easy to clean and handle.

If you're curious, from left to right, that's our Old Ale, Saison, ESB, Best Bitter, IPA, and CDA.  Also a bunch of white flowers which fell off the tree in the back yard just to make me mad. 

So - a nice tasting tray flight.  Will these be in use come opening day?  Maybe.  There's a lot to do between now and then and noodling around in the garage is pretty low on the list.  It was a lot of fun to make though, and now I know how to do it.  I guess you'll just have to show up and find out...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

TCB - Or Trying To

Well, according to the State of Washington, we are officially formed.  They'd like us to start paying taxes yesterday, please.

It's nice to see some of the paperwork coming together.  TTB (the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) is not proving quite as easy though.

Questions like "Provide description of the brewery security. Brewery building must be arranged and constructed to give adequate protection to the revenue. Describe locks, access to the brewery and how un-taxpaid goods will be protected during and after business hours:" cannot be answered with the response "We were thinking about getting a vicious Pitbull or two."

Or "Discuss proposed methods of disposal for solid waste (Incineration, open burning, landfill, government or commercial garbage collection, etc.) Specify whether on-site or off-site." cannot be answered with "We thought we'd get a brewery pig to chow on this stuff but we need to see how the Pitbulls will react to the hog first."

These are actually two of the less difficult questions to answer...and we have been meeting frequently to go over information and discuss this form.  As a well-versed grantwriter,  I thought this would be a breeze to fill out but its definitely beyond my professional writing experience.

We're also working on our formal business plan and that's been a great tool.  As a team, we are pretty much invested in a shared vision.  Our main argument has to do with flat screen size.  We are also finally at a point where we can launch a founders club offer so look for that soon. 

Okay, time to "Describe any direct or indirect discharge into navigable waters which may result from the conduct of the activity described in the question above to be conducted section where TTB has Interest, including the biological, chemical, thermal, or other characteristic of the discharge and the locations at which such discharge may enter navigable waters..."  See you on the flip side.

Friday, June 1, 2012

National Homebrewers Conference and Competition

The National Homebrewers Conference is being held in Seattle this year June 21st through the 23rd.  In addition to seminars, guest speakers and lots of commercial and homebrewed beer tasting, the American Homebrewers Association is also holding the national homebrew competition.

Back at the end of March we were notified that both our English and American Pale Ales had advanced past the preliminaries and made it to the finals.  Pictured at left is our ESB, which is almost ready to bottle and carry down to Georgetown Brewing, the dropoff point for final round judging.  It's going to be a little young, but all in all we think its a very solid beer.  Our American Pale has been doing quite well locally and we've gotten great feedback on it.  Populuxe Pale will for sure be on tap opening day!

Cheers!