Saturday, December 20, 2008

December Brewing

We've gone through a very cold patch, here in Polson. We felt air temps dip (and stay) in the 10-15 degrees below zero range. Add the gale force winds we were enjoying and you get air temperatures down to 30-50 below zero! Now, almost anyone living in colder climates will tell you, this is plenty cold enough to freeze your exposed skin very quickly. But, I hear you ponder, what will that do to my beer? Well, like a lot of brewers, I have a keg-r-ator at my home. I'm lucky enough to keep it in an insulated garage. It's a newer refrigerator so I don't really worry about energy loss. Well, these temps were severe enough to FREEZE MY TAPS!! (see above photo) Calm down, calm down. They're okay now, but we were all worried.

Our brewhouse is housed in an old racquetball court building. It was built in the mid 1970's to the tune of about $24,000. A whole building with land! Now what does this tell you? Yup, they didn't spend a lot on insulation, well, neither have we. The walls are cinderblock (no insulation), the roof is metal with 1970's insulation. Oh yea, our ceiling is about 26 feet tall! Pretty tough to heat. It's always cold in the brewhouse/cellar in the non-summer months. And I mean COLD! I think that brewers must have a sort of sadomasochistic streak; all the little parts we need in the brewhouse to facilitate the beer transfer from tank to tank, these little parts are stored in buckets of sanitizer that are on the floor all the time. These buckets achieve temperatures very close to freezing but don't because of the sanitizer that is in them. So when we need a part, we have to plunge our bare hands into these buckets of love! Then we cry.

We've gotten quite a bit of snow lately. Still snowing on and off. So far I think we've gotten around 6-9 inches, which is quite a bit considering we're sitting in the northwest Montana Banana Belt, blame the lake.

I'm working towards several NEW specialty brews including our very first beer brewed with local spruce tips. I'm shooting for mid to late February. I have to get the recipe approved by the fine folks at the Federal Alcohol & Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau. That could take a few weeks. So keep watching this blog, I'll let ya' know what's going on at good ole' GBC!
Approaching Christmas in Polson, 2008. Our roads are snow-packed, our yards are deep under a comfortable blanket of snow and our lake is frozen. Have a peace-filled holiday, keep your winter gear in your car, empty your growlers and refill them!
Until next time, I remain,
Your Humble Brewer