Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Location, Location, Location

Not to rile anyone up or anything, but, the future of AZWBC may rest on the SE corner of Arizona/Guadalupe in what was the "QQ" girll( great work Sherlock Weable for being the first to call this spot out!).   The "may" part is in the works, as we would be taking over a former restaurant that needs some serious cosmetic work.  We have a budget and that is what we are trying to nail down right now.  She is a butter face that we feel confident  that we can get her all purdy again.  It's got the Feng and lacking some shui.  It truly has all the potential in the world though, with a little love needed.   I get to tell my wife, " This is why we traveled to so many pubs in the past, so we can make things look like we know what we are doing!".   Even our contractor who met us at the site yesterday showed signs of excitement about the building.  So now the negotiations begin. Once we have a lease we can get the buildings blueprints and plan for our renovations.  Then on to the city and state licensing.  Walls will get knocked down after that and  the brew system can be purchased and installed at that point.  And finally, the federal permits. The opening day party will be one of the great events in AZ beer culture history.  The menu, art work, web site, and much more can proceed once we  have a home.

The kickstarter swag is coming in by the boxes and things look better than I expected.  There are still several things that I am working prices out for so don't expect anything until mid summer.  The stickers and patches are in and we are still working on a price point.  Kickstarter backers will get theirs first, as they are the reason we still have a heart beat to move forward with these plans.

I don't plan for any of this process to "hurry along" as with everything up to this point.  I will certainly keep everyone posted with all of the happenings with this process.  Cuddle up next to some fresh paint and watch it dry, or better yet, fill your boil kettles with ice water and wait for a boil.  The road ahead will be history soon.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

A new city, wild yeast, and a jab at internet voting schemes! All on this weeks episode:

Well, we are moving cities.  Gilbert, AZ has already won our hearts and now beginning to win our minds (and wallets).  That is a exciting prospect.  I'd say at this point  Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. will be the first brewpub/beer producer in Gilbert is well over an 95% chance.  You may say, "What took you so long?".  Eh, who cares how we got to this point.   The fact is that we are here.  Next is sending our consultant to do a complete analysis of the current property options. AKA, a smart guy with a computer and a calculator to tell us if it's worth our time.  Gilbert wants us, and we want Gilbert.  So things being "meant to be" definitely fits the situation right now.  Once the site is chosen the fun really begins.  This time, far from any fitness center!

Here is the first batch of Arizona Wild yeast gathered and propagated by Bryan, a friend of AZWBC:

I talked with a few good brewing friends at the Craft Brewers Conference about our AZ wild yeast experiments.  Only a few people understand why such an undertaking of such a wild beast, but it's great how many people are willing to give up proprietary information to help the cause. Malt may be the beer's boat, but yeast is it's sails( wow that was cheesy). We want local, carefully selected, desert yeasts to ferment a small quantity of the ales that we make.  Essentially here is what we are doing:    Every state has its own unique terroir  ,in other words, its unique environmental identity.  Most craft brewers reflect upon this local aspect to a certain degree.   Does that mean everyone should be to collecting  all the raw materials from AZ, architectural goods, and go crazy pulling yeast off of cacti?  Heck no, in fact the latter is dangerous (not the end product, but the chance of that yeast taking control of your brew house), ridiculous and, unnecessary.   It simply means to become a neighborhood's craft beer of choice, we must become part of that area's culture.  Not really that hard to understand and put into motion. A local landmark's name will simply do.  I'll admit though, being a mad scientist keeps me happy and tucks me in at night.  My feeling is, with a truly one of a kind terroir in AZ the yeast will reflect that.  The Belgians in the Senne Valley are still creating lambic style ales, ,with the bugs and critters floating around east of Brussels.  In Arizona, stories of the Papago Indians fermenting the pulp of the Saguaro inspire me.  Anyways, the first experiment went well and the quest continues.    Don't worry, 99% of our beers will be done with traditional ale yeast(s) and  the subsequent beers will be familiar to your taste buds.   (If anyone knows someone or has a few acres of private land containing a whole bunch of saguaro let me know!

We may not be "Beer City USA" according to clicks on a website,  but damn it feels good to be apart of the expanding beer culture in this city and state.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The onward push a half step at a time!

It's funny, when your dreaming in your garage thinking, "Wow, one day I'll be serving beer to so many people getting pats on the back and hugs for changing people lives".  Then you turn the burner off, throw into a fermentor, clean a little, and move on.  Oh those were the days :).  Yes we still brew 10-20 gallon test batches of homebrew every week.  Sure the joy and passion are still there (strong). What's changed is the amount of advice, people, and knowledge of how much this will really take. I am re reading books for the 3rd and fourth time.  Visiting as many breweries as possible (and nagging them).  Our business plan has changed 100 times, for 100 different reasons.  I have hit refresh on at least 25 times in the past ten minutes alone looking for that perfectly priced  brewing system for sale.   I have so many business cards in front of me I could start a bonfire!   My point here is, besides a caffeine buzz on the strongest cup o' coffee in a while, that we are going through the motions that many others before us already have, continue to do, and others to follow.  If we are lucky enough, we too can say one day, "Do you have enough money?" or, "Do you even know what it takes?".  That's why its easy for established brewers to say , "Go get em, we need more good beer in this state".  They earned the right to watch you squirm a little!  We press on, no looking back now.

Onto building/lease news: There is a second city in the mix and I can't tell if that's good or bad.  Queen Creek has been good to us, but devoting that much time, money, and effort warrants a listen to others.   Negotiations are usually between a jaded party and an ambitious one saying, "Sell us your lease and we are going to gut this place".  Then a huge number is passed across the table, and bam, the month long "waiting for them to budge" session begins (we are mostly talking to restaurants that are on the market). Remember, we had already been approved by the city and state before the fitness center said no.  We can do this all over again. The architect will be happy to take our money yet again.  I have really devoted our time this week to making something happen. It's a full time job at this point (and we all already have our jobs to deal with as well). For the best news yet: we are buying a commercial smoker after talking with the Alpine Beer Co. guys.  Yes, smoked meats!

A sledge hammer awaits, we just need some walls to knock down.

Take this travel tip:
Noble Hops in Oro Valley just north of Tucson.  I have only been twice, but both times I really enjoyed myself.  The views of the Santa Catalina mountains are as good as seeing the wall of taps.  They describe it as, "A 30 foot indoor/outdoor bar and patio offers breathtaking views of the mountains and is just about the perfect place to relax and refresh." It's a multipurpose gastropub where you can grab a beer after a hike alone Pusch Ridge, go on a first date, Friday night with the friends, or take the out of town family for lunch kind of place. Overall, It comes off as casual joint where anyone looking for a good craft beer will fit in, but it surely could pose as classy dining experience if needed (AKA a gastropub). The food is simply amazing and with that much beer pairing isn't an issue.  Just plan on everyone ordering a different item, and share away.   Oh, and BTW, they have several local AZ beers on draft.