Ramble On

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Open at Last @hawksbillbrew

When we first sat out on David's front porch in September 2015, even though we were there to discuss a business plan for a brewery, I'd be hard pressed to say whether I ever thought we'd get there.  But we stayed the course and on May 12, 2017, we finally opened Hawksbill Brewing Company.

After taking the last six weeks off from blogging, I am going to work on getting caught up on everything that we did during that time to finish the project and open to the public - right up until current, with a few weeks of operations under our belts.

Meanwhile, the link below will take you to the WHSV coverage of our opening night, May 12.  It was well attended, as you will see in the story, and we sold a lot of beer.  In fact, we're still selling a lot of beer - we have great support from the community, and we hope that we can have a positive impact to the town!

http://www.whsv.com/content/news/Hawksbill-Brewing-Company-the-first-brewery-to-open-in-Luray-422152613.html

Friday, April 7, 2017

Virginia Hops for Virginia Beer @hawksbillhops

For those that have been tracking the Richmond outpost of Stone Brewing, a few months back we learned that the IPA brewed with Virginia hops was set to be released (see previous post) as "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Beer."  I put out an all points bulletin and found some bottles at "my local" Bethesda Market near my old office, and thanks to Jay and Erin I was able to get four bottles from there.  I wanted to share these with a few of the people that have helped with that particular start-up, but I did manage to save a bottle for myself.  I enjoyed it out on the deck in Alexandria a couple of weekends ago when I didn't go out to Luray.  It is a satisfying brew, the kind of IPA Stone is well known for, with hints of fruit from Virginia produce mingling in for good measure.As it happens, I needed to run an errand to the Whole Foods in Alexandria for some vegetables to pair up with some ribs I was making.  To my surprise, they also had some bottles on the shelf, so I picked up another couple of bottles to stash away.I don't expect the three bottles I have on hand to last the summer - they may not even last much past planting season, which is coming up for the hop yards.  That's going to make balance a challenge - the brewery's opening happens right at the same time!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Grown Here - Brewed Here @hawksbillbrew

We've made a commitment at the brewery to try and source locally whenever we can.  To begin with, it means we'll use the hops we grow at Hawksbill Hop Yards as often as we can, and we'll supplement those with hops from other Shenandoah Valley and Virginia growers - inevitably we'll need to source some from hops brokers though.  And we'd like to find sources for other local ingredients, especially the barley base malt we're going to use.

For now, the pursuit of local ingredients is a goal, but it is a key part of who we are and what we want to do at the brewery.

Meanwhile, we've figured out some other things we can do to have a good local impact.  We decided to source some of our opening day furniture locally, and reached out to Luray High School to see if we couldn't have some picnic tables made - and they delivered!

We have these four foot tables inside the brewery, and then larger 8-footers outside in the beer garden.  The gray bar stools are repurposed from an Alexandria restaurant that closed last year.

The weather in Luray, for those who don't know, is really great for three-season outdoor living.  Sure there are thunderstorms and rainy days, but we're sure these are going to get plenty of use.  I can't wait to have a seat and an IPA out there myself!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Volunteer Day @hawksbillbrew


Where did March go?

Since my last post on the blog we've been keeping busy getting Hawksbill Brewing ready to open.  I'll spend the next few posts catching up on March before writing up April.  But a quick sidebar:  the grand opening date for the brewery is set for May 12!

A highlight last month was the volunteer day we had in the middle of the month.

Finally all of the major construction was done, so we made a call for help to help us with a scrubbing down.  We were very blessed to have about 10 folks show up to help out with polishing the brew kitchen, cleaning up brick dust from where the new A/C system punched through the wall, and other odds and ends that just needed some time an energy.

We put in about 6 hours that day.  Lots of polishing the stainless.  I think we are familiar enough with the mop and bucket that we are going to name them.

But at the end of it all, the place was spic and span.  We've got a few weeks left before we open, and brewing is underway, but for now, everything looks great!

Friday, March 10, 2017

First Official Brew Day @hawksbillbrew

(Don't forget our Kickstarter - we're just about half way through.  We sure appreciate your support!)


At Hawksbill Brewing, we've received our license, and we have our equipment commissioning scheduled.  Until we've completed those final inspections we're not doing full 5-barrel batches just yet.

But on Thursday, David decided to fire up the 1/2-barrel pilot system to do a batch of the Chocolate Milk Stout.  This recipe has been fine-tuned with a couple of trials, and we think it's almost ready for prime time.  This final batch should do it!

We're also having a volunteer day at the brewery this Saturday, 3/11, starting at 9am to do some final cleanup before commissioning.  We can start brewing as early as next week, so the volunteer time (not to mention the Kickstarter) will help us stay on track!