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This has been an amazingly productive week for True Vine Brewing Company!
With the release of a new logo…
and new website… that is enough to make us giddy. But wait! We’re not done!
We also ordered our first batch of pint glasses today…
and on top of all that news… even more thrilling…
Today we received our first approval from the City of Tyler and Smith County for our Brewers Permit! This is very exciting news for us… and you! From here, we have a slew of paper work and some additional hoops to jump through as the permit heads to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and then down to Austin for the final stamp of approval.
One foot in front of the other. Repeat.
We recently had a great opportunity to tour a couple of hot spots on our East coast trip. Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co.) brewery in Boston, Massachusetts and Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
First up was Samuel Adams. This was the one I was most excited about. As a self-proclaimed beer connoisseur, I have sampled most of the Sam Adam’s offerings. Of them all, my favorite is their flagship, Boston Lager.
Arriving with excitement, we showed up, got our tickets for their free tour and waited in the gallery. This area prominently displaying their history, pride and their rewards for brewing great beers. The tour of their home facility began with a great lesson in beer making.
At this facility, the only beers that are produced are for local tap accounts and test batches. The bulk of their production takes place in their neighboring state of Pennsylvania. Side note: Did you know that Sam Adams beer was originally produced on contract by another brewery?
Our tour guide, Audrey, was very informative and provided plenty of beer education to those in attendance. She spoke of grains and hops and even passed some around for people to handle. We looked at their brew house and talked briefly about their processes. This is the 4 vessel copper clad brew house that you will see in their current commercials.
From there they issued everyone into their tasting room, handed everyone a tasting glass and explained what to look for when critiquing beer. Audrey began to explain some of these details with the group.
1. Appearance: What does it look like? What about the colors? What is the clarity? How about the head retention and carbonation levels?
2. Aroma: What are the aromas from the beer? Malty? Hoppy? Fruity? Grassy?
3. Mouth Feel: What is the body of the beer? If it heavy, light?
4. Flavor: The obvious one. What does it taste like? What are the flavor notes? Are the malt and hop flavors balanced? Is there anything unique? Are the flavors you are tasting true to the style? Are there off flavors?
I really appreciated this aspect of the tour. Education is important and they did a great job in this department. Their tasting glasses even display one of the 4 areas of critique. They poured pitchers of beer and we filled up our tiny tasting glasses then passed them down the long wooden tables. We got to taste the best Boston Lager I’ve ever tasted, their Oktoberfest, and their Pumpkin Ale (only available on draft there at their brewery). This was a blast.
All in all it was a great experience and the tour was just right. Informative and fun. It actually motivated me be a stronger advocate for their beers. Cheers to the Boston Beer Co and Samuel Adams.
Next up… Redhook Brewing.
Like mad scientists we have been hard at it. Well, maybe hard really isn’t the right term. None the less, here we are, with some of our latest brews about to hit our taps and fill empty pints. With some snazzy conceptual-brews nearing completion, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of how we want to develop the next version of each. This is where it gets tricky.
Anyone into brewing in any form, be it pro or homebrewer, knows that there are a ton of variables at play. Developing a great, marketable beer can make you crazy. Water qualities, mash temperatures, time, water to grain ratio, hop additions, yeast varieties, fermentation temps, CO2 volumes and on and on. It really is a science. Hats off the the good guys making great craft brews.
While it’s overwhelming to calculate and often left to chance, it is a blast. My favorite part of brewing is the creation aspect. Taking all these ingredients, manipulating them and creating an end product that satisfies the pallet. As an artist of sorts, I enjoy looking at each beer as a blank canvas. Obviously you have the main staples in brewing. Water, malted barley, hops and yeast, but like in an art like painting, you have a world of technique options and endless color (flavor) variations.
A grain that I am really into now is a dark Belgian crystal malt named “Special B”. This is typically used in Abby style ales boosting the sweetness and alcohol content toward that end of the beer variety spectrum. This grain imparts a sweet caramel, raisin flavor, helps with the “thickness” of the beer’s body as well as at to the depth of color. Right now we are experimenting with this grain in a number of our concept batches. Who knows if this grain will work well in a stout until we try it? For me that’s part of the fun.
All of this to say, brewing, while challenging, allows the right side of my brain to break free. Creativity to run wild. To develop art. It is however all a bunch of checks and balances though. The left side is there to keep me from making a pale ale infused with roses and a IPA with a fire like spice from Warrior hops. Hey wait!…
Ryan Marc Dixon
Fall is a special time. I love the break from the heat as the relief of the fall temperatures creep in. Football season is in full swing and speaking of swing; the Texas Rangers are in the playoffs! Fall opens up the windows to our house at night and a revigor about spending time outside in the evening. In addition to all of these blessings comes the pumpkin.
Introducing Kip’s Pumpkin Ale. A tart and spicy fall classic named after a man of great influence, my late father-in-law. A man who loved life and made his circle of influence better people just by being there. A man who embraced life with a sense of adventure and excitement and encouraged everyone to leave any place better than it was before they got there.
This Fall seasonal is an easy to drink, medium bodied pumpkin ale. With organic pumpkin right in the mash and spices that would make anyone craving pumpkin pie lick their lips, Kip’s packs a punch. Two-row barley, Caramunich, Vienna, Crystal and wheat malts make up this brew with a touch of hops, orange peel, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon stick. Weighing in at 6.5% abv this orange spicy brew represents the Fall season with excellence.
The aroma of this beer starts with a fruity pumpkin note quickly accompanied by some slight orange, brown sugar and cinnamon. The taste is just the same. Light to medium mouthfeel with light carbonation. Pumpkin tart, brown sugar sweetness, cinnamon spice then a warmth from the alcohol. All the bold flavors marry well together. Quite delightful.
Expect good things from Kip’s Pumpkin Ale. This one will be around every fall, Oktober to November and is guaranteed to go fast. As a lover of pumpkin ales, I truly believe that this one is a true champion in the category; one that I am proud of. Cheers to Kip, his influence and his pumpkin ale.
Ryan Marc Dixon
I read an interesting article early summer from a popular marketing magazine. The article described how the big “domestic” breweries were trying to refine their packaging to compete with the growing craft brew scene. Marketing is big business. Unfortunately the masses choose to listen to the loudest voices instead of exploring themselves.
With all this silliness, it amazes me that their product is still the same. After all, isn’t it what’s on the inside that counts? It is as if we are still little kids buying the happy meal for the toy.
Anyone else find this amusing?
We are ecstatic about the arrival of our Brew Magic!
I received a call that our shipment was in and that it was too big to fit on the delivery truck’s lift gate. This meant that it couldn’t be delivered to our current address and that I would have to make arrangements to pick it up and then break it apart once we got it “home”. After the day of work, I showed up at the docks to receive the 700 pounds of goodness. I was giddy driving home.
After 5, with the rest of the team here to help, we unloaded our tiny brewery piece by piece and began to assemble the beast. We unashamedly giggled like little boys on Christmas morning as we unwrapped our new toy. This thing is built like a tank and was packaged like a priceless porcelain doll.
After about 1 hour of assembly, our new pilot brewery is ready for a first “water” run. Super impressed by the ridiculous attention to detail and quality, the phrase “This thing is AWESOME!” was a constant. Saturday we will be cele-brewing our inaugural brew, a smokey, fall inspired brown ale with the working title of “Smokey the Beer”.
Our shiny, tiny “pilot” brewery will allow us to take a giant leap forward by granting us the precision we seek in brewing. With a schlew of brew dates on the schedule and enough fermenters and kegs to keep our friends happy, this things about to get real, real serious. Anyone wanna join us to support a craft brew revolution in Tyler Texas?