State of the Brewery

For those that have been following our progress, up to now you have only seen bits and pieces of the brewery on our social media posts. I thought it would be a good idea to show you the space as it stands currently–well, pretty currently, as we’re making progress every day. Since taking these pictures a day or two ago, we’ve installed the kettle stacks (chimneys for steam) and put new legs on our mash tun among other things.

On with the tour!

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This is our building which we share with our landlords (Turbulent Diffusion Technology). We’re in the unit on the left. Bit of a mess right now–I assure you we will beautify this space before we open.

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The entrance. Ours is a light industrial neighbourhood and these buildings weren’t designed with retail in mind. To get to the lounge area, you will pass through a small foyer with stairs that lead up to our offices.

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Once you get past the foyer, you’ll see this–our tasting lounge! The big white box is our cold room and we will wrap our L-shaped bar around the front of it. We will have bar and table seating in this space.

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Here’s a view from the entrance a little to the right of the last picture. From here you can see most of our brewing area. The tasting area is on a raised floor about one foot above the brewing floor–there will be a rail to separate the two areas but you’ll still be able to watch the production area from the lounge. Please do not feed the brewers.

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Another view of the tasting lounge from the production area. Inviting, isn’t it?

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Our mash tun (with a bunch of crap on it)! As I mentioned above, it has since received new legs courtesy of our neighbours at Harbour Stainless. The mash tun is the vessel in which we will soak our grains in order to extract a sweet liquid called wort.

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Around the back of the cold room is our work area. It’s also an office, because office chair.

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Near the front of the production area is our temporary conference room. The big tin-foil box is our hot liquor tank (HLT). It is not filled with hard liquor unfortunately–in this case, “liquor” means water. Water is heated in this tank to a precise temperature before being transferred to the mash tun.

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To the left of the mash tun is the kettle. After we extract the wort from the grain in the mash tun, the wort is transferred to the kettle where hops are added and the wort is boiled by gas-heated air. Maintaining a rolling boil on 1200 L of wort requires lotsa heat. This, along with our tanks, was made here in British Columbia by Ripley Stainless.

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The masterpiece by Ben (our plumber). If you stop by, Dan would be happy to explain what everything here does. Personally, I can’t stop thinking about Super Mario Bros. Will have to paint these green.

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Towards the back of the brewing area are our fermentation tanks and the bright tank. After the boil, the wort is transferred to one of the four big tanks for fermentation. Yeast is added to these tanks as well, where it consumes the sugars we extracted from the grain, producing alcohol and lots of flavour-enhancing compounds. If you like science, Dan will draw you pictures of molecules to explain this. When fermentation is complete, the beer is transferred to the smaller tank (the bright tank), where it is cold-crashed (rapidly cooled) in order to clarify the beer. Carbonation is also added in the bright tank.

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In the far back corner of the brewery is our glycol tank and pumps. Fermentation requires very precise temperature maintenance and in order to achieve this, we will pump a cold propylene glycol solution (basically food-safe antifreeze) into jackets that surround the fermentation tanks. In the previous picture you can see some of Dan’s handiwork in the black glycol piping above the tanks.

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Finally, the back. Lots of city parking in our alley!

As you can see, there’s still lots to do: build the bar and tasting room, build the bathroom, polish up the exterior, get our kettle approved and online, among many other tasks. We’ve been hard at work and things are moving (we think) pretty rapidly–only about two months ago this building was an empty box full of glue and fiberglass.

Thanks for looking and reading–looking forward to seeing you at the brewery!

James