Talk of the Town

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Shiny Stuff Arrives @hawksbillbrew

We'd gotten a call the day before Thanksgiving that the container with much of our brewhouse equipment had arrived in Baltimore, and that we should prepare for delivery on Monday morning.  I decided to take a day of leave from my day job and join David and the construction crew for this event - he'd made arrangements for a fork lift and plenty of strong arms and backs to see the day through.  
The truck actually arrived the night before, the driver told us - he didn't share where he'd parked for the evening, but we guessed that he had plenty of creature comforts in the cab.  In any case, at last we had everything in place and cut the customs lock off of the container, unveiling all of our shiny new tanks pretty much in place, just like they were in the photos we were sent when they loaded the container (link here)!
First off was the hot liquor tank - there's a story in itself, and I'll post a bit more about it next time - followed by the brite tank, and four fermentation vessels.  It was amazing to see how tightly everything was packed into that container, and to consider the journey it had all made without any damage.  Things were mounted onto steel frames and then bolted to the container floor, and then strapped into place so they would stay upright with very little shifting or movement.

When the shipping company first contacted us for delivery, they told us we had two hours to land everything.  Thanks to David's logistical coordination, with all the help we had on hand, we finished within that window - in fact, we were 20 minutes early!
At last, with everything offloaded and staged, we signed the delivery papers and sent the driver on his way.  Our next step would be to move all of the tanks inside the building - that's where I'll pick up the story in tomorrow's post.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Some News Coverage for @hawksbillbrew

As construction and equipment delivery continue, we've had a decent social media week for the brewery, culminating in local TV news coverage on Wednesday.  Reporter Katie Caler from WHSV came out for the story - she last visited us in February (link here).  WHSV also covered the Hop Yard in 2015 (link here).

I'll have some photos of the equipment deliveries next week, but in the meantime, here is a link to this week's WHSV story:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Chores Day @hawksbillbrew

What with all the progress over the last two weeks, we've had a streak of good news.  That continued on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, when we got news that our fermentation vessels would arrive bright and early Monday morning.

That put us in a little bit of a bind, notice-wise - but in a good way, since it means that Alpha, our equipment vendor, is about two weeks ahead of schedule for us.  While we have made some great headway on construction, we are still in the middle of it, so we needed to get in there to do some preliminary cleaning and rearranging stuff so that the we could unload and store the equipment until we are ready to install it.

We have been trying to organize a larger scale volunteer day to get some of this done, but it just hasn't worked out yet due to the holiday.  Mary and I had kind of resigned ourselves to a couple of tough days, but then our friends Leslie and Jon said they'd come out to help.

To get everything done, we got started at around 10am on Saturday.  There was a bunch of leftover stuff from the previous tenants that had to be demo'd out and then hauled off to the landfill.

Also, there had been a number of old shelving units, which in addition to being demo'd had been mounted with screws to the walls.  Lots of spackling was needed to help prepare for the eventual painting that we will do!  Leslie and Mary went to work on that, and they also moved a bunch of stuff out of the way - then they spent a couple of hours on sweeping and general clean up.

Meanwhile, after all of the demo, in which Jon proved himself incredibly adept with a pry bar, he and I, and David for the first trip, took two loads of remodeling trash up to the landfill in David's dump truck.  I drove the first time, shown in the photo, and Jon drove the second trip.

The place looked spiffy at the end of the day - all ready for the arrival of the tanks on Monday.  I'll update on that next!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Interiors Progress @hawksbillbrew

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here are a couple of wide-angle/panoramic shots of the interior of the brewery, showing the progress we made last week.  I took this shot on Friday, before the cleanup day we did on Saturday, November 26.  This first one is a view of the bar and customer areas from the front entry.  

It features the board and batten style finish we put up on the walls of the cooler and restrooms, along with the repurposed barn siding we got from Kevin.  

Second shot below is from the loading door in the rear of the brewery - in this shot, the main entry is to the left near the front windows.  Straight ahead is the brew house area, where we will soon be filling up the space with shiny new stainless steel equipment - I hope to have an update on that by Friday.

There is still a lot of work ahead, but we're making steady progress and it is really starting to show!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cooler Door and Siding @hawksbillbrew

For the next six weeks or so, we'll have a lot of progress to show at the brewery.  Today I want to put a short post up about one of several interesting aspects of the brewery we will have to show off when all is said and done - our reuse of materials.

We are not going for any kind of LEED certification, but if we were, this is something we would get points for.  As it is, we didn't plan the project based on sustainable principles, but we are trying to incorporate some ideas catch as catch can.

The first photo in today's post is of David and me standing in front of the cooler door.  This is a used door recovered from a Virginia Safeway grocery store -  we got it from Storemen's, a vendor down in Harrisonburg that recovers items like this; they're actually a specialist in coolers.

We may pick up another useful item or two like this from them - the price is right, and we definitely need the stuff.

The second repurposed item to highlight is some barn siding we were able to recover and put to use as part of the interior in the brewery.  Here you see it as the front of our bar, and it continues as a detail around towards the new restrooms (that's the new cooler door again in the background).

Kevin is travelling for the holidays just now, so I don't have the full story on how we came across the siding - he found it for us and it is either from a barn on his property or a neighbor's.  In any case, it really adds something to the place.

Stay tuned and buckle up - lots of updates to come!