Finishing up as da Judge

•September 17, 2010 • 1 Comment

Today is the last day of judging and I look forward to taking in and enjoying the outdoor beauty of Colorado.  We judge in the salt mines…er…lower level conference rooms of the Marriott here in downtown Denver.  There are no windows, it’s a little cold and there is not much to distract as you sip and judge as many as 40, 50 or 60 beers in a day.  Its work really, really!  I know, how hard can it be, well there are 3 or more judges that all need to reach consensus on these beers.  Which beers go forward or which ones should be awarded medals and there can be some charged discussions on how the guidelines can be interpreted.  Its easy if you have a flawed beer to remove it from the pool but this is the GABF!  It gets difficult when there are a number of really quality beers that fit the category style guidelines well and there needs be a pairing down.  That is the work part.

Anyhow, it’s the last day, I plan on getting a rental car today and getting out of Denver to see the sights.  Our work as judges will be done and tomorrow the medals will be awarded.  Wish us luck.

More to come, Cheers, Bill

Start your engines…judge away

•September 15, 2010 • 1 Comment

Got up early this morning after lousy night of sleep in an unfamiliar hotel bed with strange sound of bells from the streetcars below in Denver.  Have to make breakfast before the rush at 7 am on or else it takes too long.  I am now getting ready for the judge sessions to begin and am taking the time to do this and catch up on e-mail.  Times have changed and security leaks to the judging system are a concern here so we are asked not to use our cell phones or iPhones or whatever technology we have to communicate so there are no speculations of impropriety and later claims of unfairness, advantage or what have you.

This morning I am judging American style Pale Ale and Baltic style Porter and looking forward to it.  On the one hand I never enter either of these styles because 1) APA is a style that there are so many entries it would be just too incredible of a feat and 2) I just have never brewed a BP and am very interested to learn more about it now that I have to.  Maybe BP will be a style to enter next year now.

More to come, Cheers, Bill

Here for GABF, Holy Crap 3600+ beers to judge

•September 15, 2010 • 1 Comment

Just arrived in Denver this afternoon and been up since O dark thirty, thankfully my lovely wife arranged for a direct flight.  Checked into the Marriott City Center and tidied up a bit, managed to get the handicap room again with the shower head too low for my 6’4″ self.  Went down to the Judges Orientation to here that we have 3600+ beers to judge in 2.5 days, that 300 more than they had for World Beer Cup!  There are 521 American breweries entered in 79 categories.  Now how the heck are my little 10 beers entered going to compete in those sort of numbers and most are first attempts in our new Mad Fox brewery.

More to come, Cheers, Bill

Re: Just plain brewing

•June 18, 2010 • 5 Comments

It has been a hectic week, we became legal in the eyes of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control on June 16th, 2010 (my Dads Birthday!) and I have been brewing up to get the fermenters full. So far have four batches in the can, a double batch of Kolsch, an American Pale Ale and a Saison. Now I have to take a break so the yeast can do its job and once the beer is fermented out I can cool the tanks and start brewing again. Next up, IPA, Porter, Alt, 80 Shilling and Wee Heavy.

Its awesome to be brewing again…

More to come, Cheers, Bill

Almost there.

•May 30, 2010 • 4 Comments

I haven’t been posting in some time, just too freakin busy and really distracted by so much that needs to get done.  We hired the General Manager, Executive Chef and Executive Sous Chef last week.  We got our SBA loan in place two weeks before that and all is coming together very fast.  The brewery was supposed to be operational this past friday and the installers are working tomorrow, Memorial Day to get it done sooner.  I had our brewery inspected by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control last Saturday and got our Tax and Trade Bureau (the former ATF) license the week before last.  Lot of filling out paperwork and documentation to go into all of that, both agencies are overworked and understaffed and take some gentle prodding to get them to move along.  Our VABC agent has been a pleasure to work with though and I have a lot to be thankful for in the reasonableness of the process with him.

Luckily, this Memorial Day weekend has given me some extra time to sort some things out.  I have been organizing my files and pulling out old brewing recipes to get ready to brew again.  I miss brewing greatly but I am almost there…

More to come, Cheers,  Bill

The rest of the Brewery Arrives this WEEK!

•April 18, 2010 • 5 Comments

It’s like having a Birthday this week because the rest of the brewery arrives.  The six 30 BBL (930 gallon) fermenters and seven 15 BBL (465 gallon) serving or brite vessels will be delivered on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.  Trucks will be coming in one at a time both days at 8am and noon to coordinate the removal of each vessel to be removed from its container.  The tanks started their journey  on a slow boat  from China (literally) which started in March and ended last week in Norfolk.  They were released from Customs and then we had to wire  the shipper payment to deliver them.

I cannot wait to have the whole kit and caboodle assembled.

More to come.  Cheers, Bill

Holy Brewhouse!

•April 10, 2010 • 2 Comments

Long day, but the massive baby is in the house.  Had the Window guys take out the main entrance windows out first thing in the morning (7 am which is the earliest time for work on site).  Brewery arrived at 8:30 am, what timing!   We planned so well….BS!  Got lucky and we have some really good people working for us.

More to come, Cheers,  Bill