Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Framing the office @hawksbillbrew

The initial framing at Hawksbill Brewing Company is completed, so I thought I'd post a couple of updates about what's going inside our charming little home at 22 Zerkel Street in Luray.  First is a photo from the back part of the building, which is where most of the back-of-house functions will take place.  

This window is going to be in the Operations Manager's office - it features a pretty nice town view, with Main Street just over there.  Also visible here is the Norfolk Southern rail line - that's an important part of our building's heritage, as the facility was built to be an ice storage facility for the Norfolk & Western, which was its name back in the 1910's.

Here's a look at the framing for the wall that will define the office.  Pretty spacious digs, and plenty of natural light, although I think we're going to need to augment that some!

There's quite a bit left to do, but we'll keep posting updates here and on the Facebook page.  Drop a note in the comments or over on FB if you have any questions for us!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Late July Check-in @hawksbillhops

It's getting close to harvest time at the hop yards - in a post three weeks ago we showed a mix of cones and burrs, but now it's all cones.  Our Cascades are booming, or as a friend from the hops co-op might say, "Strong like bull!"

David has done a tremendous job in the yard this year despite the onslaught we had from Japanese beetles, and everything else that can happen with this unusual crop.  We have better than a 90 percent showing on the 300 Cascade hills, and since most are second years, we've got a lot of product!

We are still working on our harvest plan - hoping to have them processed in a professional oast and then pelletized.  Most of this crop will go to our new brewery in Luray, with a couple of pounds reserved for the breweries we worked with last year.

When I field tested on Saturday, the cones were still quite wet, so we're a few weeks out.  Really can't wait to see how we do!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Another @hawksbillbrew Update - Framing Walls

Laydown of some initial materials.

Last week I wrote about getting started with demolition at Hawksbill Brewing Company - that was actually taken care of pretty quickly.  The team moved right into framing out the walls, some initial work that can be taken care of while we await some other ducks to get in a row.  Thought I would post the highlight photos here.

We feel like we've been very lucky with our location at 22 Zerkel Street in Luray - there is simply nothing I can think of that I would complain about.  Our landlord is the Fire Department, and they are right across the street, and you can see the building from the key tourist zone of Main Street.  Location and relationships are two steps towards success.

The first stud walls were for the restrooms.
Even so, we are going to do some modifications so the place will work as a brewery.  We need accessible bathrooms, for one thing, so we're going to put in two.  We also need a cold room where we can store filled kegs and run the taps.

Framing for the cold room.
So those two features are the first to go in, with the bulk of the framing getting done over the last week or so.  There's more to come, of course, and that stuff needs to be coordinated with the MEP - mechanical, electrical, and plumbing - that is lined up to follow these initial walls.

It will keep on rolling on as equipment is incrementally delivered.  That is scheduled to start beginning in August, when the main cooling unit arrives, and continue until November.

Quietly, right here on the blog, I guess I'm announcing that we are delayed.  Our banner says we will open in September, but we aren't going to make that date...I hesitate to make a prediction just now while I await some confirmation on lead times.  I hope we can hold to a commitment of Fall 2016 - for the record.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Hole in the Ground for Money

Our driveway after the 2.5-inch rain storm.
In the Valley, the summer storm season has been nothing short of amazing.  I've lost count of the number of times I've heard about rains in excess of a half inch, and then there was the microburst a few weeks ago that knocked down trees from 5 miles away in Luray all the way to the hollow.

The tree damage reminded me of the derecho we had in the DC area in August 2012, except that this time the trees all pointed in the north-to-south direction, whereas they pointed west-to-east the other time. And I have a feeling that we won't be so lucky that Port City makes a special beer to observe the occasion of this storm!

We've had trouble with our driveway at Hawksbill Cabin ever since we bought the place.  As can be seen from the accompanying picture, the previous owners had problems too, and went to great lengths to try and repair past damage and prevent further damage.
After the repairs - this time.

It's a decently sloped grade, enough so that we bought all wheel drive cars to ensure we can make it up the hill in the winter.  That's the problem - once water gets out of the various culverts and other storm water features we have, it gets on this slope and speeds up, carving out gulleys.  There's a ton of gravel down the road that was once part of our driveway!

Still, after our last repair, it held up for three or four years.  We thought we had solved the problem.  Until this year, when we had a 2.5-inch rainstorm around here.  After that, it was gulley-city.

The storm sent us on an all-hands search for someone who could repair the driveway this time.  Our friend Mickey, who did such a great job on the previous repair, had retired, so we needed a new person.

We found a local fellow who came out one Sunday to have a look at the situation.  Pretty quickly he was back with us for the estimate and a plan for a new gravel variety - and he said he would bring out some heavy construction vehicles to pack down the gravel after it was placed.

It all looks great and it is pleasant to drive on.  We have had a couple of storms since the repair and I think it is holding up well.  We'll just have to wait and see for the next big one though, I guess.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Speaking of Breweries - @hawksbillbrew Update

Earlier in the week I wrote about the brewery that was near Tempelhof Airport in Berlin when I lived there.  But frequent readers know that I also have a project to build a brewery in Luray, Virginia - with the hope of opening it by the end of the year.

It's been a great journey, challenging, but over the last six weeks or so we've really started being able to make some visible progress.  On Friday two weeks ago we wrapped up our second round of fund raising, so we ordered our 5BBL brew house, and then yesterday the construction crew showed up to our building at 22 Zerkel Street in Luray to start the demolition.

This building's previous life was as retail stores for the last 10 years - an appliance store and then a scooter store.  There were a few iterations before then too, but it originally was an ice storage facility for the railroad, and then a creamery.

There's not much left to indicate those earliest operations, but there are signs of the stores.  You can see the floor paint in some of the attached photos that show where the old display shelves were, and if you look closely at the duct work you'll see hooks and such that were used to hang fan belts when the place housed an auto parts store.

The main element of our demo was to get rid of an old demising wall that was put in to separate the appliance show room from the warehouse area where parts were stored.  The wall was simple frame construction with particle board, and had a small office built into it at the end.  On the public side, there was a sales counter, and in the back there were work counters with electrical conduit and several outlet for small repairs.

Our construction crew got in there and made pretty quick work of things at this stage.  David says they are close to being finished already.  We'll be doing most of the fit-out now, to be followed by electrical and then mechanical/plumbing, all of which will be completed before our equipment arrives.

I'll post again on the construction progress soon - and also will put something up about the brew house order.