Our Big Baby will arrive tomorrow!

•April 8, 2010 • 2 Comments

Target time for delivery of the Brew house is 7 to 9 am, when she enters the building, I do not know.  Could take the better part of the day. 

The Kettle, Mashtun and some parts will arrive on this delivery and the Serving Vessels, Fermenters and Brite Tank will be coming into port in Norfolk on the 13th of April.  The brewery floors are being sealed Friday and Saturday so the brew house will not be placed into position until later for installation and commissioning.  That will give our rigger and installer time to heal after losing part of his finger this week when he placed the glycol chiller on top of  it earlier this week.  The brewerys first christening with blood and it wasn’t my own this time.  Nuts!

More to come, Cheers, Bill

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The Brewery arrives on FRIDAY!!!

•April 8, 2010 • 2 Comments

Simply put, the Brewhouse for Mad Fox Brewing Company is being delivered to our site on Friday, April 9.  If you would like to see it being delivered come on by.  The brewery equipment is supplied by Premier Stainless Systems of California and was shipped last Saturday, made a quick stop in Chicago for the Craftbrewers Convention to drop off  a sister system for the show and will arrive in Falls Church on Friday.

I am so psyched!

more to come, Cheers, Bill

PIZZA OVEN Arriving Tomorrow!!!!!

•March 20, 2010 • 4 Comments

Well then, maybe the title has caught your interest.  Just wanted to let everyone know that the reason for the big plywood hole in front of Mad Fox Brewing Company’s building on West Broad Street in Falls Church is due to the fact that the freaking Woodstone Pizza Oven, all 4500 pounds of it, is being delivered tomorrow.  Holy PooP, that’s a lot of weight that we will be moving into the place and, Lord knows, we had to have the Structural Engineers go over the place with a fine tooth comb to make sure the darn thing did not go crashing through the floor to all the levels of parking below us.

Well if you would like to see the spectacle of moving the behemoth Pizza Oven in it should be arriving at around 9am on Saturday, March 20th, 2010.  Address (if you do not already know) is 444 West Broad Street, Falls Church, Virginia.

Come one, come all!

More to come, cheers, Bill

Stealth Opening

•March 14, 2010 • 2 Comments

I suddenly realized that my last update has been over a month and I am not sure how it came to pass…well, really, construction is kicking my ass.  (No more rhyming and I mean it….)

We’ve had some challenges in a few crucial areas that have resulted in pushing out delivery of key equipment. It’s a sensitive issue – we were let down by key suppliers and they may have been let down by their business partners. Fortunately, we are working with a General Contractor, Uniwest Construction, who has provided us with a day-to-day onsite Superintendent who has taken command of the situation and has managed to find ways to work our schedule around the set backs, so we are a bit behind our schedule due mostly to the Blizzard of 2010.

Now touching upon the challenges of construction schedule begs the question I get all the time, “So, when is Mad Fox Brewing Company going to be open?” or “When is your Grand Opening?’.  Well there are two answers here.  The answer to the first question is still open but I would say from my discussions with the General Contractor that we could possibly be open as early as the last week of May, but more realistically we would be open in June sometime; this is all dependent on getting our Certificate of Occupancy in a timely manner. The answer to the second question is that I have no idea when our Grand Opening will be – we do not plan on having a splashy Grand Opening on our first day, it will be a soft opening so we can work out the kinks of a shiny brand new restaurant and staff. Our Grand Opening will likely be a month after our soft opening. What this means is that the day we open will be announced here for a quiet, soft, word of mouth (or web) opening which also means you should check this site out periodically for the announcement.  I will promise not to be so lax in putting more posts up.

More to come, I promise, Cheers, Bill

Cask Ale Abounds

•February 8, 2010 • 27 Comments

I have been asked to offer some insight into what we plan to do at Mad Fox Brewing Company with regard to cask ale.  First let me explain my history of cask ale in the DC Metro market.  My first attempt at making cask ale was with Capitol City Brewing Company, Capitol Hill in 1996.  I had been encouraged to produce cask ale by a good friend and patron of CCBC (in fact one of the first paying customers at the first CCBC location in 1992!), Barton Day.  Barton possesses a true passion for cask ale and introduced me to the real deal at the Great British Beer Festival in London, but that is another story.  Well, back to my first attempt, I got hold of a Golden Gate keg since, in those days, true English firkins were hard to come by.  I had filled the keg with ESB, primed it with fermenting wort and fined it,  taking great care to not disturb the “cask”.  My assistant brewer and I gently moved the “cask” of ESB to the bar, put it in stillage and spiled it.  The beer poured a beautiful crystal clear and the first pints were wonderful.  I told the bartenders how to pour this special product and asked them to please not move the “cask” which was poured  from atop the copper bar.  Next thing I see is the bar back coming on shift and the first thing he did was pick up the “cask” and move it to the service bar.  At this point it was mud and I was frustrated.  I was then determined to do this right and later had a weekly Friday night cask  at CCBC at Shirlington when I moved over to that location in 1997 which lasted until I moved on in 2004.  I believe the brewers at CCBC are doing a cask night again.

I also had a regular cask ale program at my last gig with Vintage 50 Restaurant and Brew Lounge in Leesburg, Virginia.  We were so committed to cask ale that a firkin was on tap at all times and we  never ran out.  It was amazing that the demand for this product was so high and,  as  such,  we were pouring 3 plus firkins of real ale per week, sometimes more.

All brings me to Mad Fox Brewing Company, our new brewpub now under construction in Falls Church, Virginia.  We have been working with Paul Pendyck at UK Brewing Supplies to design a superior real ale kit.  We  have on order six water jacketed English-made  Angram hand-pumps designed into the backbar mill work for a beautiful display and have searched for the right size refrigerated cabinets so we can have the firkins on display.  We have 50 firkins on order as well to ensure that we can keep a good reserve and maybe while away some gems for future vintage tappenings.   The concept is not to necessarily have all six hand pumps working at the same time with different products but to have at  least 3 or more on with backups at the ready, perfectly conditioned, so that when a cask runs out we turn the clip around on one and turn another around to be on.  Nothing worse than running out during Friday night rush and that poor bar back rushing around to put a “fresh” one on that has not had the time to be properly conditioned.  Cask ale is not something to be rushed, it would not be proper!

More to come, Cheers,  Bill

New Brewery in Manufacturing

•February 1, 2010 • 3 Comments

I haven’t brewed since September when I left V-50, so I’m starting to get a bit  antsy. Brewing  beer is what I do and this is a very long dry-spell for me while getting Mad Fox Brewing Company built.   My lovely wife Beth was in San Diego for business last week and she stopped in to get shop pictures of a 15-BBL brewery being assembled at the manufacturer, Premier Stainless, in San Marcos, California.  Our brewery will be delivered in March and is will be built soon, the brewery pictured here we were told is actually for Port Brewing Company  but I cannot find any word on expansion plans for them.  This brewery is an almost exact sister to ours at 15 BBL with a stacked Combi-Mashtun and she looks great to me. 

More to come, Cheers, Bill 

Premier Stainless - 15-barrel Brewhouse

Premier Stainless - 15-barrel Brewhouse

 

Brewery Control Panel

Brewery Control Panel

 

Brewhouse combi-tank - mash tun above and hot liquor tank below

Brewhouse combi-tank - mash tun above and hot liquor tank below

 

Brewhouse manifold area with heat exchanger and main pump

Brewhouse manifold area with heat exchanger and main pump

 

Automatic keg cleaner

Automatic keg cleaner

We Gotta Permit!!!

•January 21, 2010 • 6 Comments

I spent a good deal of time in the Falls Church City offices yesterday to straighten out a few things.  The folks at the City offices were very helpful in getting our permit in order but there was a problem with our contractor and their license expiring that needed  taking care of.  So today,  CONSTRUCTION STARTS on Mad Fox Brewing Company!!!

Mad Fox - Spectrum Construction Elevator Sign

Mad Fox - Spectrum Construction Elevator Sign

First bit of work will be to strengthen our flooring due to the increased weight of the brewery and serving tanks we need to reinforce the concrete since we have a massive parking space below us.  This requires some cutting into the concrete floor between two columns and setting a structural beam into the floor system.  Then pouring concrete back in to cover it all back up to its earlier look.  This work will be done by next week and then interior walls will then be in place and the brewpub will take form.  I cannot wait till the brewery comes.

Mad Fox - Restoration East Garage Shoring

Mad Fox - Restoration East Garage Shoring - Underneath the Brewery

More to come, Cheers, Bill