Upon waking in an RV in the Russian River Parking lot at 6 a.m., I smelled something oh so sweet. Grains!!!!! I was late to mash in! Luckily, changing clothes wasn't part of the agenda, so I ran in to see Travis gripping coffee over the mash tun on the brew deck. It's the system that Sam Calagione sold Vinnie a few years back, its, well, interesting. Damnation was being mashed and it was sassy in my nose. Not that I needed to confirm this, but brewers work HARD. Sweat on a 45 degree morning is like a sunburn on a 110 degree day. Well... never mind, you get it. A few ruff spots hear and there, and the lauter got to its thing flowing ahead of the boil. I was the idiot who volunteered to mill grains for the next batch and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. As the morning flew by I picked Travis's brain to borderline annoyance. It was AWESOME. What an amazing brewer that man be. He be real smart. Vinnie doesnt let ANYTHING with the initials O2 get by him. CO2 is the only combatant to staling his beautiful beers and they sure use it. I am not complaining, nor is the air-gas delivery guy, because this beer speaks for itself. I caught the crazy bug even more and put some in my wallet. Crazy is good.
Getting back to SF for Breast Fest was a long traffic ridden drive. The bridge held its breath as I crossed and I was in the city. Breast Fest isn't a job for me to cover, but I met up with several faces I knew (Thanks Pitcher of Nectar for the tix). A nice lil brewer laden group headed over to La Trappe after the fest. Sours and Belgians were flowing and I got to chat with Rodger and Claudia Davis formally of Drake's and Tripple Rock Fame. They are starting Faction Brewing in the East Bay and we talked trials and tribulations. Good stuff to hear from a legend. A collaboration is in order with Faction next year sometime. Some Sierra Nevada boys and I shared a few and talked some shop. A few, or several, hours later the crowd finally slowed down and I slept on someones hotel room floor. With a Sheet and the window open. Sore throats suck!
The next couple of days were filled with places such as Monks Kettle, Zeitgiesit, Southern Pacific brewing, and several more. Berkeley was my last stop to visit the Drake's owned tap house, Jupiter, and my friend Jeff the brewmaster at Tripple Rock. Ideas and beers were tossed around and off I went across the bay. Another successful bay area recon trip (besides the 15 hr flight delay). AZWBC will be better for it.
|Where is the Toronado?|
|Travis and I sharing|
|Things need done.|
|Aaron getting his Aaron on.|
|The Vinnie Nail|
|Sharing with the brewers|
|The 15 bbl pub brewhouse|
|Travis and his B-I-L getting groovy at the pub|
|Milling at the house that Pliny Built|
|Eating at the pork store on Hiaght/Ashbury is A MUST eveytime.|
|Zietgiest and the trees. We are getting trees at the pub.|
|These lights will be in the pub.|
|A lil gem that was Southern Pacific.|
|Speaking the Gospel|
|Heat and Sun|
OK back to earth, we found an architect that is weird enough even for me. We had another visit to the proposed location (721 N. Arizona in Gilbert) and I thought the meeting went very well. Thanks Eric at the Boulders for the referral. This means we have a contractor, an architect, a CPA, a lawyer, a building, and Gilbert City Council vote in order. Life is good! Lease negotiations are easy with good people. We are blessed to have an easy going group to deal with. I still say though, BEWARE homebrewers who want to go pro, these things can get mighty mighty risky! You will pay for these minor things in the long run. We will sign this lease as soon as we feel Gilbert officially approve's the plans.
Ok, back to planning, reading resumes, reading books and microscopes. This one was too long, so next time I will talk about the Northern AZ yeast I collected, new recipes, and one last AZWBC tasting before we open.