Brewing a beer is a lot like starting a brewery. There are different ingredients that go into the business. You can add in varying quantities of money, space, equipment, etc. to get different end results, depending on the type of brewery you are trying to launch. Sometimes things don’t quite play out how you imagined they would, a stuck mash if you will. Sometimes you need to get crafty when solving a problem; might I recommend zip ties, it doesn’t matter what your problem is, zip ties can solve it. Things can get heated, emotions can run hot, and you may just get boiling mad at points (see what I did there). When you get close to the end, you need to make the perfect pitch to the market and create some excitement about your brand. Once everything is said and done, you serve it up, hold your breath, and watch as someone drinks it up. All you can do in that moment is hope that all the hard work you put in, and the ridiculous amount of waiting you had to do, pays off.
We had our first real taste of operating a microbrewery in Calgary this past month. BeerFest was our first encounter with the public followed by the Market Collective. We also have our first growler bar taps at Oak & Vine in Inglewood and Sobeys in Royal Oak. This may not sound like much, but after a year of working three jobs, paying rent on an Inglewood warehouse, and spending every moment thinking about all things brewery, watching that first random beer geek at BeerFest sample our product was the most cathartic experience of my life.
The bad news is we still have a ways to go before we are fully operational. We are still waiting on our building permit to finish the taproom; once we have that, we need to finish construction, relocate our glycol unit, furnish the space, do a little cleaning and painting, get our final inspections, and figure out how to use an iPad. I figure about three to four weeks depending on the iPad.
The benefit to playing the waiting game is that we have had time to fine-tune our recipes. The two beers closest to our hearts are the East Calgary Lager and This Must Be The IPA. We also have One Summer in Saskatoon (a Saison), the All-Nighter Vanilla Cappuccino Porter, Red-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Dandelion’s Blonde, and CakeFace (a Vienna lager with a pastry twist). While these beauties make up the mainstays in our product line, we will also have four rotating taps to showcase Blake’s somewhat eccentric recipe concepts; currently in the works, without giving away too much, we have a nautical-themed brew infused with squid ink. I’ll be posting more on our beers in the coming weeks so stay tuned.
So, did all the hard work pay off? I guess I’ll have to wait a little longer to find out, but so far, it’s been pretty damn good.