Quick Mad Fox Update

•January 10, 2010 • 1 Comment

Time for another update.  It has been an extremely busy time during the Holidays trying to be with family and keeping it all together.

First, we received all the Contractor Bids on December 18th and upon review and much analysis we have awarded the project to UniWest Construction who are located in Falls Church as well.  UniWest did a fantastic job of drilling down on the drawings, filling in gaps and asking the hard questions necessary to do a thorough and complete bid.  Since hiring them they have worked with us to delve deeper into what is necessary for Mad Fox to come in at or under budget while still in a Pre Construction arrangement.

Next, we have a contract for the brewing system that was signed December 10th and we will be working with a new built system from Premier Stainless Systems who are based out of San Marcos, California.  For those who are interested, this is the very same manufacturer that built the entire brewery for Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia and fabricated some fermenters for Roanoke Railhouse Brewery as well.  Our brewery should be delivered in 14 to 16 weeks and we will have an invite go out for the day she arrives (any suggestions on naming her?).

I know there have been e-mails sent from the Mad Fox newsletter, the City Paper named Mad Fox one of the five most influential beer happenings of the year.

And from our friends at The Falls Church News Press naming Mad Fox as an economic magnet that will help drive economic revitalization in Falls Church.

We have also received our go ahead from the Health Department on our architectural drawings and are anxiously awaiting the City of Falls Church Building Inspectors permit to be issued any day now so we can start construction.  The Landlord and UniWest have their pre Construction meeting this week to nail down the how and why of building in the Spectrum location and I cannot wait to actually have a table and chair at Mad Fox to I can have an “office” so to speak.


Re: Brickskeller Holiday Beer Tasting!

•December 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I will be there with a treat for the folks who like my Wee Heavy.  I have a small stash of kegs that are hidden away in a network of friends of Mad Fox Brewing Company cooler vaults that I had the foresight to establish while not having access to a brewery.  For the Brick I have a keg of the 2008 Wee Heavy that has been carefully ageing away.  This particular batch was boiled in the kettle for 6.5 hours to reach it target gravity of 20.8 degrees plato and the melanoidin character is quite pleasing.  For those of you able to make it this Wednesday evening, December 16th, to the Brick you can have the last of this beer on Earth.

Happy Holidaze.  Cheers!

More to come….Bill

Re: Bought the Farm, I Mean Brewery

•December 11, 2009 • 6 Comments

Well, we finally buckled down and did it.  After months of searching for used brewing systems and driving all over creation to look at them.  After negotiating with folks who think their 1980’s  well used system is worth 75% of what it cost brand new (“well it is a JVNW and there are no barn finds any more these days”).  We did the analysis and finally decided that after a system were decommissioned, shipped, retrofitted and then recommissioned  the brewery would have to have a sales price at a maximum of 50% of the cost of new.  That just was not to be found as we were getting closer and closer to starting the construction of  Mad Fox and had to have a system in place.  As it is we have been making conservative assumptions on what would be installed into our location and we were getting to the point with the architectural drawings where a real brew house, tanks and serving vessels needed to be specified. 

So what did we put the down payment on?  After price quotes from four of the best manufacturer’s in the industry we chose Premier Stainless Systems based in San Marcos, California.  The owner, Rob Soltys, has been a pleasure to negotiate with and came in at a very affordable price for our budget.  We will have a 15 BBL direct fired Brewhouse with an infusion type Mashtun and stacked Hot Liquor combi tank with on demand heated water for double batching.  There will be six 30 BBL Fermenters that will allow for a minimum annual production capacity of 3120 BBl’s or 6240 kegs per year, well able to supply our location and maybe others.  We will have a 15 BBL Brite tank for kegging beer production and conditioning root beer and there will be an automatic keg washer for cleaning all those  kegs.  There will also be six 15 BBL Serving Vessel that will be prominently on display as folks come in the main entrance of Mad Fox Brewing Company.

Now we have our Brewery!

More to come, Cheers, Bill

Re: Great News from the Judges at the Great American Beer festival

•December 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Finally got the judges notes for the Great American Beer Festival that were sent out some time ago.  These went to Vintage 50 and I have not been able to get out there with all that is going on with Mad Fox Brewing Company.  Great News!  Of the five beer styles sent for judging, three went to the final round of judging.  The Catoctin Kolsch, Wee Heavy and Devils Due (Belgian style Strong Golden Ale) all were considered of enough quality to be sent to the final round of judging at GABF.  This news is not something I can advertise or really get most folks to be excited about, but considering the pool of fantastic brewers that my beer competed against, I am proud.  There are many very qualified and competent brewers who enter their beer into the competition that are not awarded any medals.  I am fortunate to be one brewer who entered and came close.  I am in good company.

Cheers! more to come, Bill

Re: We have submitted!

•November 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Just this past Monday I took our Architect, Lee McAllister, down to Falls Church City Hall to submit our drawings for permits.  We are getting closer to starting construction!  This process of review by the Director of Building Safety, Doug Fraser, should be smooth since we have had a number of meetings with him to allow him to understand what we are trying to accomplish with Mad Fox Brewing Company coming to Falls Church.  Fortunately for us there has been some precedence with other brewpubs having been opened in the surrounding area like Arlington with Cap City and Rockbottom etc.  Still it is a learning process for the City of Falls Church and it is our job to educate and help them to understand the brewery that will be a part of our restaurant.  The review should be no more than 4 weeks and during that period we will be answering questions and refining the architectural drawings to meet code.  At the same time we will be meeting with the architect to do more refinement on the interior design like color and fabric choices etc. which are features that do not need to be a part of the City’s review.  I look forward to “seeing”  more and more what the final product will be.

More to come, Cheers,  Bill

Got Permits?

•November 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Now we are rushing the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineers to get their drawings done so we can get the darn drawings done, sealed by the Architect and into the Falls Church City folks.  Its push, push, push and I am constantly trying to keep it all together between what seems like too many people who all need to do their jobs to get this accomplished.  During all of this I am reviewing  quotes for brewing equipment, structural reinforcement of the flooring for the brewery and the kitchen equipment.  On top of this I have to try and keep the General Contractor up on all of what is going on.  We have a big meeting tomorrow to update the GC and next week is our first Board Meeting which is exciting and daunting all in the same.  I am glad that I am not juggling four jobs at the moment having given up my work with AC Beverage, my brewing job at Vintage 50 and organizing the NOVAbrewfest.  Holy Crap though!  Still busy!

More to come, Cheers, Bill



Architects and Engineers

•November 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

We secured our architect many weeks ago, Lee McAllister of McAllister Architects, P.C. located in Alexandria, Virginia.  We had interviewed about six different firms from large to small, high end to bare bones and all of them having restaurant experience on many levels.  We chose Lees firm for their experience having worked with local restaurant groups like The Neighborhood Restaurant Group which comprises Evening Star, Vermillion, Tallulah, Rustico and Birch and Barley.  Lee specifically worked on Rustico, Mango Mikes and some other local restaurants that demonstrate his abilities and we felt comfortable with his presentation. 

 Now we are getting close to having a full set of drawings to go to Permit Application with the City of Falls Church and the next  part of the journey begins, dealing with the folks in City Hall (and they have been a great help and pleasure to work with thus far).  But wait!  The Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Engineers have thrown a wrench in the gears.  They need information on natural gas flowrates on a direct fire burner on brewing system we have not even put a down payment on.  Crap!  This is where I am happy that we had the foresight to know my limitations and hire a consultant who is a brewery engineer.   Scott Zetterstrom of M.E. Solutions has been working with us from the start of design to be my second set of eyes in the brewery.  The name might be familiar to some folks in the brewery know in Northern Virginia.  Scott was once the Head Brewer in the formerly placed in Virginia brewery of Old Dominion Brewing Company.  Scott will get them the answer since I am not sure what the answer would be that the MEP Engineers need since I am not an Mechanical Engineer by training with just enough knowledge to be dangerous.  I am thankful that we built a good team to get Mad Fox running.

Cheers, more to come, Bill