Today we scored 15 bar stools and 8 keg couplers (the things on top of the keg through which the beer flows to the tap) for about one-third their usual price. A place in Hamden called DeMil’s on Whitney just shut its doors, and Mike went out to the live auction bright and early this morning. After winning these items in some competitive bidding, Mike called a nearby self-storage facility, rented a U-Haul cargo van, hauled the loot to our brewery space in Stratford, set the stools up at our bar and high tables to see how they’d look, and then drove the rental van back to Hamden. On the way home, he stopped for an appetizer and a beer at a place he’s always wanted to try—the renowned craft beer haven, Eli’s on Whitney. The Philly steak egg rolls went down really well with a New England Brewing Sea Hag IPA. A pretty good day.
This week, we got a bunch of our chips cashed in. Our contractors started work laying in our floor drain and new bathroom plumbing, as well as framing out our ADA-compliant bathrooms and our bar. We also scored a couple of used walk-in coolers, some bar tables, 24-oz. beer glasses, a bunch of taps for our bar, and a sink from restaurant-equipment auctioneers.
On Friday, we rented a 26′ truck and drove all day to pick up the auction winnings (in Norwich and Franklin) and some of our big equipment from Powder Hollow Brewery in Enfield. The equipment included a 10-barrel brite tank (which is where you carbonate the beer), two 10-barrel fermenters, 49 kegs, and some miscellaneous small stuff.
Joe seemed to cut or scrape a finger at every stop, and at Powder Hollow he bled on almost everything. The last picture in our photo diary below shows a spigot splashed with blood. But don’t worry about it—Joe’s fine and we’re cleaning and sanitizing everything. You’ll see in some of the pictures that we placed the tables we bought in the bar area. They really start to make it seem real.
We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. In addition to a nice holiday with our families, our big Christmas present was our building permit, which allowed us to get much more serious about our buildout. We spent a good amount of time sawing into concrete floors, jack hammering, and digging. We needed to do all this for expanded bathrooms and to install an underground pump and floor drains in the brew area, which will be invaluable once we get going. Here’s a selection of videos and photos from our wild Christmas at Fairfield Craft Ales.
We had a great time at Beer Conn at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport this weekend. We met lots of great people and got excellent feedback on our beer—we’re up to almost 100 reviews on Untappd. Some people said we had one of the longest lines in the place. The one funny thing we found out upon debuting our new banner is that it has a misprint: it says we’re located at Honeypot Road (missing the “s” in Honeyspot). This led to several Winnie the Pooh jokes. Good times. Check out our pictures.
I’ll spare you having to look at a photo, but the Frankenstein-like scar under the knuckle of my right index finger is a testament to the blood and sweat (no tears yet) going into our beer-making mission. The past two weekends have involved some back-breaking work, most of it devoted to getting that awful carpet glue off the floor. We’re pleased to report that as of Saturday, the glue is gone for good. Then we spent yesterday patching cracks and holes in the floors and walls. When that was done, I started using a razor scraper to get rid of some opaque film that was ruining the view out our windows. But I slipped, and had to get six stitches that put my knuckle in a league with Mary Shelley’s monster and the title of an Edgar Winter song.
Other things that happened in the past two weeks? We got a lot of great information at a Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream speed coaching event, bought a keg washer (see photo), started developing some ideas for brewery swag, and are gearing up to get the actual buildout done. Stay tuned!
Carpet glue is disgusting. And it has an attitude I don’t particularly care for. It’s all like, “Hey, I’m pale yellow and have ugly swishy grooves from when I was put down, and guess what? I’m not gonna come up and you’re not gonna be able to paint your brewery floors.”
And then professional flooring guys and the tool rental guy at Home Depot and our contractor’s friend are like, “Oh yeah, that carpet glue is serious, man. It’s not coming up.” But we were like, “Well, we have to try because the cheapest alternative is gonna add $10,000 to our budget.”
So we rented this floor polishing tool with diamond floor-covering removal blades when Home Depot opened at the crack of dawn today. When we left at 5pm, we’d gotten up about a third of the glue. It will take a couple more days, but that stuff’s days are numbered. Suck on that, carpet glue.
We also removed a piece of wall where our bar will go, as well as a wall from one of the bathrooms so we can make it ADA-compliant.
Tomorrow we drive a U-Haul truck to a brewery in Brooklyn to pick up 70 kegs.
Two Police-song themes in a week might be a bit much, but they’re both fitting so we don’t feel that bad. It turns out that just as we began in earnest our search for equipment, our new friends at Powder Hollow Brewery in Enfield, Connecticut, were looking to unload their original setup. They opened a little less than a year ago and are already scaling up to a 10-barrel system at year’s end. Then we’ll take their brewing system, some fermenters, and other stuff they don’t need anymore. Mike, the owner, gave us some great advice. He’s super knowledgeable and a really good brewer. We picked up a growler of his IPA. If you’re ever up in Enfield, near the Massachusetts border, we suggest you do the same. The photo shows their taproom.
…is not just a song by The Police. (Ghost in the Machine, remember? Grace Jones did it, too. It was pretty good. Cool bass line.) It describes what we were tonight. We took down a wall to expand what will eventually be the tap room. The first four pictures show what the tap-room area looked like before we began work. The last five show the progression through tonight. The first and the last pictures are taken from a similar vantage point, showing what the space looks like as you walk in the front door. More work to do, but we’re making progress.
Thanks to Melvin Mason of the Stratford Star for the wonderful write-up today. Check it out here.
We filed the paperwork for our federal brewer’s license last night. Feels good, but it’s gonna be a long haul—the latest average wait time for approval is 132 days. Sounds like a lot, but it’s only the end of February. And let’s face it, this year’s practically over. In the meantime, we’ll order our equipment and start getting the space ready. We’re raring to go.