Monday, January 7, 2013

A More Reasonable Update

Quick was the watchword last time.  Reasoned and slow is the pace today.  Not just because it's Monday morning and I would rather be asleep than sitting here, but instead because . . .

Anyway, here is a bit longer update on the official state of affairs at the brewery.  First, for those of you who are hip to such things, we have a somewhat active Twitter account @RiverCityRed.  We, using the royal "we" in this case, are just getting acclimated to Twitter, but take a look for occasional funny comments and observations along with brewery news.  As we get out and about to start sharing beer, it will have more notes about places to find our beers and where we are enjoying them.  And, even though I personally think that Facebook has peaked, we will have a Facebook page up soon.

Now, onto the hard hitting news you have come to expect from this blog.  The news can be broken down into two primary pieces - We are making beer.  It's not ready to drink.

If you make coffee, you can drink it immediately (depending on your temperature tolerance), but coffee is made to make and drink - pronto.  Doesn't do well to sit.  On the other end of the spectrum, if you are making whiskey, you may have to wait a decade or longer to sample the finished product.  Making and drinking it immediately is not advisable.  On a shorter scale, wine also takes about a year from "making" to "drinking", although longer is sometimes better.  Both of these (wine and spirits), benefit from aging, which primarily means mellowing.  The sharp flavors become easier or mellower, the flavors all blend together better and you end up with a better experience.

Beer sits on the coffee side of this continuum.  It is better "fresh", although with beer, fresh means "ready to drink" which takes somewhere between a few weeks to a few months.  After the point it is ready, it doesn't continue to get better and the trick is to keep it in this peak state through temperature control and preventing exposure to oxygen.  On the other hand, like the mellowing and blending of flavors that comes from aging wine and spirits, beer has to go through this process to be ready to drink, but it does it in a shorter period.  The period is dictated by the type of beer, with lighter beers being ready sooner and darker/heavier beers taking longer and dark/heavy/high-alcohol beers taking the longest.  For example, we brew a golden-style ale for our Huckleberry and it will go from brewing to drinking in under three weeks.  On the other end, a barley wine benefits from six months.

Why is all of this relevant?  Because we have our first batch of Huckleberry Ale brewed, fermented and in the conditioning tank.  It will be ready to drink by the middle of this month.  We have our first batch of River City Red (not dialed in quite, but close) that moved from the fermentation tank to the conditioning tank last week and it will be ready for the kick-off of Spokane Restaurant Week on January 29.  And lastly,we have a stout in the fermentation tank, but it won't be ready to drink until sometime in February.  So, at this point, we are in the process of brewing, fermenting, conditioning and getting ready for the day later this month that we will start filling kegs and otherwise filling the pipeline so that we have beer for consumption.

What does this mean to you?  A couple of things - first, soon we will have beer that will start filtering out to bars and restaurants and second, after a bit more time and have a full line-up of beers available, we will have an open house and so some sampling. 

And really, that's what you wanted when you closed your eyes and blew out your Happy 2013 candles, isn't it?

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