Howdy, friends! It's time again to celebrate our (apparently annual) made-up holiday that was started to honor expansions and/or bureaucracy and/or moderately-forced reasons to celebrate, and that holiday is Kafka Day! We'll be gettin' on with the sweet deets in just a few, but we went and crammed a buncha cool stuff into the days leading up to the weekend, so let's talk about that first!
And startin' off strong, we brought back a lil' ol' favorite from the ol' Barrel Hold, and that's Skeleton Key and it's on tap right now!
Movin' right along slightly farther into the future, on Thursday we're tappin' up another cask of Southern Star, and this time we crammed it fulla citrusy-pineappley Galena!
Also on Thursday we're doin' up yet another trivia night, and this time around it's "Vaguely-Franchise-Based Star Wars Trivia," which will almost definitely be a hoot, even though we have pretty much no idea how to interpret that description.
And! Speaking of things that are a hoot, we're also bringin' in Boston HotChix to make your Thursday spicy!
Then on Friday we're bringin' in our friends from Eat More, Mexican! and they'll be slingin' delicious burritos all evening long!
And then startin' on Saturday we're celebrating Kafka Day! Just like we said we would! We've got at least a medium amount of festivities - new beer and the joyous return of some old favorites and tasty food and more new beer and friggin' cans and it's just gonna be an all-around good time, so come on out and hang out with us! And if you're lookin' for a little more info on what all we got goin' on, read on!
New Beer! We blended up a special new blend of barrel-aged beer just for Kafka Day! And also probably for several days after that, because we made a bunch of it, but anyway it's an amber-ish Belgian Strong called Soiree and it's gettin' tapped on Saturday and it's tasty as heck!
Old Favorites! We're draggin' out the ol' jockey boxes to give ourselves a little "wiggle room" on the draft list, and that means more beers on tap simultaneously and that means we're gonna loot our cellar!
Tasty Food! We've got our friends from Po' Boys and Pies comin' in to do a crawfish boil for us all afternoon, and whoo-ee are we stoked! It's been a dang ol' while since we had some good crawfish, so come on out and hang out and get some before Jared eats 'em all!*
New Beer! We've got more new beer! It's been too dang long since we've released a new Critters beer, so we're releasing a Critters beer! This one - cleverly named Critters 6 - is nice 'n' light and it's got a touch of floral fruitiness on account of we put a bunch of plums in there, and we enjoy the heck out of it, so we figure you probably will too!
Cans! We - finally - have beer in four packs! We teamed up with our pals from State 64 to can up a couple beers - namely Key Lime and the return of Wellington IPA - and we're doing our first-ever four-pack release(s) on Saturday! And also Wellington will be on tap!
Sunday! Girl Scout Cookies! Since it's Kafka Day, we can't rightly constrain the festivities to just *one* day, so we're spillin' over into Sunday and we're doing another beer and Girl Scout Cookie pairing! This one's the last one we plan to do this year, so if you been draggin' your feet, come on out and experience the majesty!
* He has, loudly and repeatedly and without any provocation, claimed to want to "start off with ten pounds or so, and then get serious."
Hello again! We've got some new beers (again) and some treats (again) and some fun stuff (as always), so check out all this stuff we did for you!
First on up, lookin' into the moderately-near future, we gotta ramble a bit about a cool collab that we're doin'! Long story short, our beer friends and fellow stoner metal fans over at Remnant and Widowmaker wanted to make a collaborative beery homage to the song "Tres Brujas" by The Sword, so we did just that! We've spent much of the week firin' up our respective brew kettles and hangin' out and havin' some laughs and/or beers along the way, so keep an eye out for this lil' beer in a few weeks!
Speaking of beer, and bringing things back to right now, we've got a new beer on tap! This time around it's a single hop saison brewed exclusively with a new-to-us South African hop called southern star, so we named the beer Southern Star! It's nice and light and easy drinkin' and you should come have some!
And what's more, this Thursday we've got Southern Star on cask - dry hopped with, uh, southern star!
And while we're on about tasty beer, we're continuing our "Melvin World Tour" with the (re)introduction of Melvin Goes To Jamaica - on tap right now! This time around, Melvin (our "barleywine") has returned from a months-long slumber in a rum barrel, and dang but he brought back some good tastes!
Anyway. Getting back to Thursday, this Thursday we're bringin' in a new-to-us trivia host to do up Daria trivia! So if you think you're "up to snuff" on your snarky teen cartoons, come on out and get trivial with us!
Movin' right along into the weekend, this Friday we're doin' cheese flights! We've got a bunch of cheeses from New England creameries and they've been expertly* paired with beers from our menu and you should come have some!
And speaking of good tastes, this Saturday we've got Boston HotChix in the house again and we ain't even need to tell you how tasty these sammiches are, so come on out and get while there's gettin' to get got!
Then on Sunday we've got a new-to-us event goin' on - Cheer Up is bringin' in a buncha games from local game designers and you get to play them and/or grab a copy if you have a hankerin' to play said games elsewhere! They'll be settin' up shop from 4-7, so come on by and say hi!
Oh! And! I daresay it would behoove us to remind you that next week is our Second Annual Kafka Day! There's gonna be at least three beer releases (Wellington IPA, Critters 6, and a special surprise**) and we're releasing our first-ever four packs (Wellington and Key Lime) and there's gonna be tasty treats (Po' Boys and Pies is doing a crawfish boil on Saturday, and we're doing more beer and Girl Scout Cookie pairings on Sunday) and we're gonna bring back some cool barrel-aged beers for the weekend (probably definitely Skeleton Key and also some other stuff) and it's gonna be a good time and you should come hang out!
* Truth be told, our "experts" are mostly experts in "wanting free cheese," but sometimes you gotta make do with what you got
** Truth be told, this "special surprise" is really more of a "beer that we don't have a name for yet," but that's pretty much on par for us
Howdy do, cats and kittens! We got a bit of time to while away before we celebrate this year's Kafka Day, so we got us a whole host of tasty new beers and fun times and probably some snacks and friendship and all that good stuff, so let's get to it!
But before we get to all them new beers, we gotta take a minute to go Behind The Curtain so's we can ramble about something that's durned exciting for us and probably nigh-on meaningless to all of y'all. Anyway, long story short, as our barrel program (which includes the Critters) beers has expanded, we've been forced to come up with some... creative storage solutions that often amounted to garbage (well, scrap wood) being mounted to moving dollies, which we promised ourselves was a "temporary solution" that we'd fix "probably next month." Well, as you've probably guessed, it's been almost three years, but we (and by "we," I mostly mean "Jared's dad") finally stepped up to the plate and got us some brand-spankin' new custom barrel racks! Look at all that organized majesty!
Anyway, onto beer (some of which came out of them barrels):
The first stop on that ol' New Beer Express is Centennial, which just so happens to be on tap right now! We had a need for some good old-fashioned regular-ass pale ale and we've been meaning to showcase MA-grown centennial, so we took those dual hankerin's and made us a beer!
And speaking of beer that's on tap right now, Critters 5 is on tap! This here was made with a little bit of ginger and a dab of honey and we've got a very limited quantity (even by our standards), so if you wanna taste these tasty tastes, come on out and getcha some!
Also on tap for a hot minute is a treat you may remember from Horatio Day: Melvin the Mammoth (Goes to Belgium)! This here's a barleywine/farmhouse ale blend that's been slumberin' in whiskey barrels for some time, and it's boozy and spicy and just a lil' fruity, so come get while the gettin's good!
And since we're on about beer, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention this week's trusty Thursday cask, which is once again Extra Naked, only this time we dry hopped it with bravo and crystal!
Also on Thursday, we've got this month's round of Simpsons Trivia and word on the street is there's gonna be a little "extra something*" for the winning teams, but we ain't gonna divulge no details so come on out and find out for yourself!
Then on Friday we're doin' something a little different** from our usual - we're doing another trivia night, and we're doing it in the name of Galentine's Day (even though technically it takes place the day after Galentine's Day, but hey. Yay women)! And - probably more importantly - we're doin' up this whole Galentine's Extravaganza in support of Boston GLOW and $1 of every pour will go to support them!
Also on Friday, since we're doin' it up Galentine's style, we've got woman-owned Brazen Eats in the house cookin' up some tasty dumplings!
And speaking of dumplings and/or dumpling-related foods, on Saturday we've got Matilda's back in the house with more tasty pastelitos!
And since we're all about bringin' back the tasty treats this weekend, we're doin' another beer and Girl Scout Cookie pairing on Sunday! So if you've had a hankerin' for Caramel deLites paired with Wasted Life (if you're like us, that is a constant hankerin'), or if you just wanna get flights on flights on flights, come on by and cram yourself fulla cookies!
Oh! Remember that exciting news from last week? About cans? Well, our art department's been toilin' away in the background all week to get some new labels done up for our new slender cans, and we daresay the mockups are looking good!
* And since this "extra something" wasn't bought by Jared, it might actually not be terrible. Might.
** No, it's not a three-course prix fixe dinner
Well hello again, friends! We're back in action with the hip haps and beer and cheer and treats and eats and we might even have a lil' ol' "big announcement" about future times, so step right on up and read on!
But first, we gotta give you the "lowdown skinny" on an upcoming celebration of sorts that we've got coming up. See, when we finally opened our expansion nigh on a year ago, we wanted to celebrate that fact (whilst paying homage to the bureaucratic... hurdles that we had to endure along the way) so we tapped up some cool/rare/barrel-aged beers and had some food friends bring in some good eats and just had a good ol' time all weekend and we called it Kafka Day!
Well, it's about a year later and we've got some more reasons to celebrate (and we've had a new handful of red-tape-related headaches, because of course we have), so we're doin' up yet another Kafka Day the weekend of 2/29! We're gonna tap up some more cool beers and release a few things (including, but not limited to, another Critters beer) and we've got a crawfish boil (partly but not entirely because it's Mardi Gras weekend as well) and we're gonna release our first-ever four packs of 16oz cans (including, but not limited to, a rerelease of taproom-favorite Wellington IPA) and it's gonna be fun and you should come out! Because cans! And friendship!
Gettin' back to now(ish), we're startin' things off with a bang, and we tapped a new beer! Several days ago! And it's on tap right now! More to the point, we had a hankerin' for some good old-fashioned pine 'n' citrus hops so we threw a shitload or two of 'em into a beer and now we've got I See A Dankness! It's a resiny, caramelly, old-skool IPA and if you need a break from haze and lactose, this is just the ticket.
And speaking of hops, this week's trusty Thursday cask is beer-engine-favorite Extra Naked, which we "goosed up" with a buncha MA-grown centennial!
And while we're on about Thursday, this week brings back another installment of Audio Triviality! This time around the theme is "The Big Four of Thrash Metal" and we're pretty darn stoked to spend the evening gettin' thrashy (even though we personally know basically nothing about two of the four bands in question)!
Then on Friday we're doin' up a little something new to us (and which we hope will turn into a bit more of a recurring thing) and we're bringin' in our friend (and beer history expert) Malcolm Purinton to give a talk about the history of beer and brewing in New England! The talk is free to attend, so just swing on by if you feel like gettin' your learn on about local beer history!
Also on Friday - should you be looking for something to munch on while you get all historical - we've got Boston HotChix back in the taproom!
And speaking of tasty foods, on Saturday we've got Cherry Blossom foods back in the house with some empanadillas and other Puerto Rican specialties!
And to cap off the weekend with a sweet treat, on Sunday we've got Bakes by Ari comin' by to do beer and cookie pairings (and also the debut of her Key Lime Pie and Maple Oatmeal cookies. I think that's two different cookies and not one really complicated one, but also I didn't read the email all that carefully so we'll see)!
And in anticipation of sweet treats, we just tapped an ol' favorite - Joyrider! Our barrel aged Belgian tripel is full of all the things that are good - oak, vanilla, spice, and a hint of boozy heat. We bet its gon' be real good with those maple cookies, but you'll have to come try for yourself!
Alrightyroo, kiddos and squiddos, it's time to live life to the fullest and that means drinking beers and eating snacks, so here's all the beers and snacks we got lined up for all y'all!
And the first stop on that ol' tasty train is this week's Thursday cask which brings back another oldie-but-goodie that just so happens to be featuring an extra pinch or two of a hop we're particularly partial to, which (in layman's terms) means we're tappin' up a cask of Wasted Life with locally-grown Pepite!
After that we're scurryin' right on into weekend tasty times on Friday with some dumplings from our friends at Brazen Eats! They're pretty into "plant based" food which we're pretty sure just means "vegan" but without all the connotations of veganism and anyway what really matters is they make tasty food and you should come have some!
And speaking of tasty food, we've got our pals from Matilda's back in the house on Saturday slingin' pastelitos and tasty times!
And the treats don't stop comin' on Sunday, no way no how! See, we like having our lil' cheese menu, but we also started to miss the good ol' days of cheese flights, which made us realize that we should probably just do some cheese flights, so we're doin' cheese flights!
Congrats to our winner, @mermaidtailz!
Oh! And! Speaking of Sunday! The winners are in for January's coloring contest!
There was some stiff competition this month, so we have a bunch of runners up! Adequate work, everyone!
Howdy, friends! It's time to get back in action with all the hips and haps all around here, so get comfy and get readin', cuz our dance card is full and our beer is cold and our seats are just waitin' to (re)make your acquaintance!
And we'll start things off right with a little "old favorite" - namely Shut Up Kelly - for our trusty Thursday cask, only this old favorite has a bit of a "new twist" in the form of cocoa nibs (sourced from the DR) and oak chips (soaked in Amandine, natch)! The way we figure it, we like Kelly on cask and we like cocoa nibs and we like Amandine, so there's no way* we can go wrong combining so many things we like!
And speakin' of old favorites, we've still got a bit of "holiday leftovers" from Horatio Day and we'll be tappin' them up in no particular order** and right now we're briefly saying "hi" (before we say "goodbye forever") to Melvin the Mammoth (Stays Home), so if you want that particular tipple to tickle your tastebuds one more time, come on out and give it a go!
Oh! Also! Speaking of things that are available right now, we've got taproom-favorite Critters IV available in bottles now! We figure it's a "better late than never" kinda thing and either way we're stoked to sock a few away in the ol' "beer cellar***" and now you can too!
Anyway, back to Thursday, we'll be makin' a modestly-rare appearance out in the Big Scary World, and this time around our gracious hosts are the fine folks at Polkadog! We'll be hangin' out at their South End location startin' at 5:30, so come on out and say hi (and/or bring your pups so we can meet them)!
Next up, we're mixin' things up on the ol' art front and bringin' in a sequel to Images From The Pit, imaginatively titled Images From The Pit 2! This time around we're featurin' photos from the likes of two MA-based photographers - Hillarie Jason and Omari Spears - and opening day is this Friday!
And since Friday is a special occasion, we're gonna celebrate the only**** way we know how: with chicken! Thassright, we got Boston HotChix all up in the house so you can eat some tasty sammiches while you look at rad photos and drink delicious beer!
And speakin' of things that are tasty, we've got our friends from Matilda's back in the house on Saturday and they'll be slingin' pastelitos all evening!
And to round out that weekend fulla tasty fried foods, we've got a Sunday treat that we've been looking forward to for months: a sundae bar! See, we were talkin' to the fine folks from TC Scoops about how much we like ice cream and how we need more ice cream in our lives (theirs in particular) and anyway they got the hint and now there's gonna be a sundae bar! On Sunday!
* There are lots of ways this can go wrong, like that time you tried using ice cream instead of sour cream in your burrito.
** Except for the order determined by us, which is based on a constantly-shifting metric of convenience/laziness, personal tastes, and whether or not we've printed new menus lately.
*** The corner of the cold room, which has been intentionally made hard-to-reach so we don't drink all the goodies we've got stashed back there.
**** That's definitely not the only way. We know at least two other ways. Maybe three.
Howdy, pardners! We got a rootin' tootin' sure-shootin' week(end) fulla good times galore and it's headed right for ya, so slip on them spurs and hang on tight!
And of course we're startin' things off right with this week's trusty Thursday cask, and this time around it's a newcomer 'round these here parts: Late Grain! We had us a hankerin' for some good old-fashioned sessionable tasty times all up on that beer engine, and Late Grain's gonna give 'em to ya!
Also on Thursday we've got us another alcohol-themed trivia night! So if you're wise about whiskey or brainy about beer or just intelligent about your intoxicants, come on out and show your smarts!
Movin' right along, on Friday we've got Boston HotChix back in the house to satisfy all your spicy chicken sandwich needs!
And speaking of chicken, on Saturday our pals from Brato are back in action and they're packin' a heavy hitter to the tune of Chicken and Waffles!
And then. On Sunday. It's the time we've all been waiting for since the last time we did this, so we're donning our finest elastic-waist pants and settling in for a good long while because we're bringin' back Girl Scout Cookie pairings! Thassright, we're gonna get a modestly-absurd amount of cookies and write up a pairing menu and you can get yourself a flight of cookies that has been expertly paired with your flight of beers!
Oh hi there! I hope you had a wonderful Horatio Day! We certainly did - 'twas a day full of friends and donuts (and donut friends!) and beer and cake and bacon and more beer and honestly a couple people who were very confused about what exactly was going on and dang but it was just a big ol' buncha fun! But anyway, as much as we like to reminisce about things that happened four days ago, that's in the past now and we gotta get on with it and start planning the next fake holiday* and also all the stuff that's in between, so read on up and check out all the stuff we're doin'!
And for starters, we should probably babble on a bit about some stuff that's already in motion, which brings us back to a beer we released on Horatio Day and that beer is Critters 4! You may remember the Critters series from the summer, when we got all excited about mixed-fermentation beers and then we lost a little bit of steam when we flew through our stock on-hand and then realized that these beers take upwards of six months to make. But! It's been upwards of six months,** so we've got more Critters! This ol' beer is the biggest and funkiest of the bunch thus far, and it's on tap right now (and in bottles hopefully very soon) so you should come on out and try some!
And in the wake of all them barrely beers from Horatio Day, we figured we'd toss in a bit of a session-strength breather in the form of Late Grain, which also just so happens to be on tap right now! Long story short, Late Grain is a hoppy lil' grisette that's made with grains from the fine folks at Two Track Malting and it's tasty as heck and you should drink some!
Speaking of tasty beers, this week's trusty Thursday cask is none other than Dobbie! And while we firmly believe that Dobbie is a great beverage in its own right, we went on ahead and "spruced it up" a lil' bit with a bit of MA-grown Crystal!
Also on Thursday we got us another Simpsons Trivia night! We got questions (and probably answers), prizes, and big ol' buckets of sass, so come on out!
Then on Saturday we've got new-to-us Cherry Blossom Foods comin' through with a whole buncha delectable delicacies like empanadillas and wings and fritters and dang but I'm hungry just thinking about it!
And, lastly but far from leastly, on Sunday we're hosting new-to-us Inebri-Art for an evening of mug painting! Tickets are goin' quick, so if you wanna get some paint all up on a mug, we suggest you jump on it!
* There's a very good chance that we'll be bringing back Kafka Day this year. We... we still have reason to celebrate it.
** And for what it's worth, we have a couple other Critters releases lined up after this one. We can't do a triple release every time.
Howdy and hello, friends and wellwishers, for the day is nigh upon us! Yes indeed, it's almost time for us to gather in celebration of a cartoon skeleton's birthday and - as is the custom - drink a bunch of barrel aged beer and eat bacon and donuts and just all-around live life to the fullest. And we've also got another much-anticipated yearly tradition for you today: The Year in Numbers! But we'll get to all that in a minute, because we gotta start with the here and now!
And starting here, though not quite "now" is this week's cask, gettin' tapped fresh on Thursday! This time around we took lil' ol' Mandarina Pale for a spin, and we predict tasty times!
And speaking of times, this Thursday is also January's installment of Audio Triviality! This time around the theme is Ozzy Osbourne, which should be interesting if nothing else, so come on out and get weird with us!
And then on Friday (Horatio's Eve, as it were), we're bringin' the heat so we can beat the pre-holiday anticipation and nobody brings the heat quite like Boston HotChix, so from 6-10 (or until they sell out), they'll be slingin' fried goodness in the taproom!
And then, on Saturday, is the day we've all been waiting for: Horatio Day! We're settin' up a buncha extra draft lines (one of which - barring some sort of catastrophe in the next couple days - will have a yet-to-be-announced secret beer!) and tappin' all sorts of barrel-aged and vintage goodies and we've got Speakeasy Donuts settin' up shop startin' right at noon and we've got the Bacon Truck hot on their heels at two o'clock and we ordered a cake and we got special glassware for you to drink out of if you so desire (and it's mighty nice glassware, if we do say so ourselves)! Oh! And! We're bringin' back the Horatio Costume Contest! So come on by dressed/costumed partly or entirely as your favorite dapper skeleton dude, and you might just win a prize!
And speaking of prizes, we gotta announce December's coloring contest winners! This was one of the toughest months yet as far as judging goes, but we made our call (congrats to @morgancat, pictured above) and here are the runner up entries, in all their glorious adequacy!
We've got a year-end tradition that we've been doing for three whole years now, and we're stoked as heck to continue it! And to be more specific, that tradition is The Year In Numbers, wherein we look back on the past year and generate a whole bunch of ridiculous statistics for it. It's one of our favorite* things to write, so we hope you enjoy our numerical take on what all we been up to this past year!
*Jared legitimately looks forward to this every year because he likes numbers, like somebody who is definitely not a serial killer or anything.
2019 by the Numbers
Number of batches brewed: 95
Number of double batches: 18
Amount of beer packaged, in gallons: 10,857
Number of flights that would fill: 69,486
Percentage of total volume actually served in flights: 12%
Pints of cask poured (including half pints): 1,292
Number of different beers released: 70 (56 if you don't count flagships or other re-releases)
Number of collaboration beers: 19
Number of wedding beers: 4
Number of dog beers: 4
Number of beers made for/about buildings: 3
Number of contract batches: 2
Highest number of new beers released in one month: 6 (tie between January, March, August, and December)
Beer brewed most often: Key Lime
Number of Key Lime batches made: 7 (six of which were double batches)
Number of key lime pies that could have been made with that lime juice instead: 416
Number of actual key limes it would take to produce that much juice: 7,987
Amount of hibiscus, in pounds, that was sacrificed to Loretta this year: 40
Number of funky beers aging at the beginning of the year: 9
Number of funky beers aging currently: 14
Number of those that are ready to package: 5
Amount of hops used, in pounds: 474.96
Average hopping rate, in lbs/BBL: 1.36
Percentage of hops that came from local suppliers: 55%
Percentage of hops that came from Michigan, of all places: 10%
Number of hop varieties used: 28
Most used hop variety: Masscade (69#!)
Height, in feet, that you would need to grow all those hops on a single bine: 3,565
Amount of time, in weeks (assuming a 40-hour workweek), it would take you to pick all those hops by hand: about 12, if you don't take lunch breaks
Amount of grain used, in pounds: 25,541
Number of individual grains that would be (approximate): 322,243,249
Total Amount of grain, in pounds, scooped by Scoopmaster G before he ascended to the Great Grain Bin in the Sky (approximate): 140,750
Percentage of grain that came from local suppliers: 21%
Amount of oats used, as measured in bowls of oatmeal: 16,420
Amount of brown sugar used, also measured in bowls of oatmeal (but as a topping this time): 9,033
Amount of lactose used, in pounds: 60
Number of Lactaid pills you would need to neutralize all that lactose: 2,101
Amount of honey used, in pounds: 225
Number of bees it would take to produce that much honey: 124,866 (visiting approximately 449,000,000 flowers in the process)
Yeast used, in cells (approximate): 488,015,000,000,000
Average OG of beer produced (in degrees SG): 55
Average ABV of beer produced: 6.00%
Highest ABV beer produced: 8.7% (Ginger Spectacular)
Lowest ABV beer produced: 3.3% (Pat Signal)
Amount of vodka, in gallons, it would take to make the same amount of alcohol we produced this year: 1,629
Number of Big Stupid Cans filled (approximate): 3,465
Number of bottles filled: 1,247
Number of plastic folding tables used as part of our "bottling line": more than you'd think
Number of words written in the blog: 45,609
Number of pages that would fill in a paperback: about 165
Least verbose month: April (2,209 words)
Most verbose month (not counting December with its 3,000 word year-end wrap-up): November (4,878 words)
Top 3 most commonly used words in November (in order): time, Melvin, beer
Number of times we used the word "beer" in the blog this year: 362 (246 if you don't count variations like "beers")
Number of times we manged to use the word "spooktacular" in the blog this year: 21
Number of cheeses offered throughout the year: 25
Number of local creameries featured: 7 (Grace Hill Farm, Grey Barn Dairy, Cricket Creek Farm, Robinson Farm, Couët Farm & Fromagerie, Jasper Hill Farm, Vermont Creamery)
Number of hot dogs served: 1,806
Number of beer and candy pairings that didn't make it on the menu: 21
Number of calories - in candy alone - consumed by each member of production when figuring out the beer and candy pairings: 2,282
Number of grams of sugar consumed by each member of production when figuring out the beer and candy pairings: 310
Number of Cadbury Eggs you'd need to eat to consume a similar amount of sugar: 15
Number of semi-major things that broke: 18
Number of times Jared burned off all his arm hair lighting the burner under the HLT: only 4 this year!
Number of times Jared dropped his wedding ring into the mash tun while it was full: come on, man. Be cool. You said you weren't gonna tell anyone.
Number of drains in the parking lot at the beginning of the year: 0 (which caused Lake Horatio to form every time it was so much as humid out).
Number of drains in the parking lot currently: 1
Number of functional drains in the parking lot currently: still 0
Number of brewery dogs we had at the beginning of the year: 0
Number of brewery dogs we had at the end of the year: 2
Number of brewery dogs that are hellbent on escaping the office and meeting every damn patron in the taproom: 1
Number of children who have been traumatized by that same dog stealing their hot dogs: 1
Number of dog costumes at our dog costume party: 22
Number of dogs who spent the entire time trying to destroy their costumes: actually only one, and it was our dog
New beers released in 2019:
January: Cryptic Nonsense, Best, Stone Valley, Lazy Pants, Bone Machine, Melvin the Mammoth
February: Four Star Estate, Haley, Oink!
March: Snail the Pale, Pat Signal, Royal Sampler, Big Boots 2019, Out of Bounds, On-On
April: Jeff, Dr. Dankenstein, Dance Bob!, Unholy Alliance, Chaos Reigns
May: Super Jeff, PRIDE, Elmo
June: Ocean, Shlem, Atlantica, Crystal
July: Smaltster, Shadows, Critters I, Critters II, Critters III
August: Benthic, Hoopin', Organ Meats, D 'n' A, Callisto, Ganymede
September: Biere de Melons, Champion of the Sun, Half the Time
October: Mandarinazacca, Rufus, BoNanza, Wellington, Los Aromos
November: Melvin the Mammoth (Goes to Belgium), Melvin the Mammoth (Goes to Kentucky), Melvin the Mammoth (Goes to Jamaica), Spruce Moose
December: Skeleton Key, Fig Pig, Barreled Biere de Krampus, Mandarina, Life Sentence, Dobbie
Hello friends! It's that time of year again when everybody's schedule gets Hella Wonky but also there's an overall uptick in free ham, so we'll go ahead and call that a wash. And since it's pretty much the end of the year (and since there ain't a hell of a lot else happenin' this week) we like to bust out a lil' "year end tradition" and navel gaze a bit about what all has gone down in the last twelve months. But we'll save that for the end (it's a bit verbose) and focus on the here and now and the holiday happenin's. And speaking of holiday schedules, here are our holiday hours!
But all that scheduling nonsense/mayhem ain't gonna stop us from tappin' up our regular Thursday cask and this week it's the re-return of tried-and-true taproom favorite Extra Naked! And since we wanted to give all you cask lovers a lil' somethin' special, we crammed that sucker fulla peachy, fruity Idaho 7!
And speaking of tasty beer, we're squeezin' one last dog beer in to 2019 and that beer is Dobbie! This here's a biscuity, toasty lil' amber named in honor of a cute lil' corgi mix whose name is entirely unrelated to any famous wizard movies that you may be thinking of and anyway it's tasty as all get-out and it's on tap by or before Sunday!
And speaking of fun and/or tasty times comin' up, we're comin' right up on our favorite locally-sourced* winter holiday: Horatio Day! You've no doubt heard us shoutin' about this for a dang ol' month now, so we'll keep it short and sweet this time (and also we're about to reminisce a bunch about how fun last year's Horatio Day was), so suffice it to say we're adding eight draft lines and tapping a whole shitload of barrel-aged beer and there's gonna be Melvin flights and cool new glassware (buy a rad glass and you get to drink out of it all day!) and good times and friendship and donuts and bacon! And yeah, we've been sporadically tapping a couple of the Horatio Day goodies over the past few weeks (we get excited), but check out this draft list!
Anyway, with all that "here and now" stuff sorted, let's get on with lookin' back!
* In the sense that nobody celebrates this holiday outside of this building. At least not that we know of.
2019: Year in Review
Whoo-dang has it been a ding-dang ol' heckin' year. It's been fulla ups and downs and strikes and gutters and highs and lows and all sortsa whathaveyou, but we're gonna grab our god-damned rose-tinted glasses and weld those fuckers to our faces because it's the god damned holidays and it's time for cheer. And we've got lots to be cheerful about, because we made some big ol' strides over the past twelve months - we've got wild beers and we're open seven days a week and we've got another sweet new hoodie design and we've got cheese and we've got a lot more trivia nights than we ever expected to have and we've gotten to do a whole handful of wedding beers and beers for bands and beers for buildings and anyway I'm rambling, so let's go over this with a finer-tooth comb, starting in...
January when we decided to straight-up ignore the bureaucratic nightmare (vis-à-vis our expansion) that was happening behind-the-scenes and kick off the year with a bit of a bang in the form of the Second Annual Horatio Day! There was barrel-aged beer and cake and merriment and a kind of silly amount of El Pulpo and mac 'n' cheese and at least one group that got so weirded out by "the bartender with the facepaint" that they just... left.
And then a little ways after that we got involved with that ridesharing promo which (for reasons we're still not clear on) involved us getting a bench* in our parking lot, and which (for reasons we are clear on, but choose to ignore) resulted in us getting piles of sass. But hey - free bench!
And anyway I digress because this was also the month that introduced us to Best! That lil' beer started out as a way for us to have fun in the brewhouse and play around with recipes a bit (it was made to kinda sorta emulate a British style that nobody around here really cares about), but it ended up having a pretty profound effect on the way we think about pale ales and, more importantly, paving the way for Jeff, so we'll call that one a win!
Then as a little added "treat" for all us brewers, we set right upon the task of pairing the entire beer menu with Girl Scout Cookies and, oh man, there's really no way to prepare for how gross you feel after you try twelve different beers with six different cookies each, but it was all worth it because we came up with a tasty-ass beer and cookie pairing menu! And that's about all for January (other than our sadly ill-fated attempt at a Jenga tournament), but we were really just gettin' that ol' ball rollin' for...
February when we were still polishin' off little drips and drabs of leftovers** from our birthday-party-for-a-cartoon-skeleton extravaganza from the previous month then we dusted off the ol' collab pants and teamed up with one of our favorite new breweries (namely Small Change) for the release of a tasty ol' farmhouse known as Bone Machine!
And speaking of pants, the fun farmhouse times didn't stop there nosiree because we also released Lazy Pants! That there was our "Valentimes" beer (or rather, more like an anti-Valentime's beer because we've never actually met anybody who likes that stupid holiday) that was supposed to demonstrate that chocolate beers can be light-colored, but really it just caused the entire bar staff to start making up beertails involving the word "pants" (Kelly's Pants, Wasted Pants, etc.) so we'll call that one a "modest success."
Anyway, while we're goin' on about Beers of the Past, February also marked the year's first Puppers Past beer: Haley! This lil' oak-aged sweet stout was made to honor the memory of a formidable-looking (but very sweet) stick chaser from Jared's halcyon days.
And then shortly after that we finally (FINALLY) - at the literal last minute - got the "go ahead" from the "powers that be" to use our expanded space (which had been 100% ready since November)! Hooray! An occasion this momentous calls for a celebration, but that had to wait until...
March when we threw our first ever (and possibly only, but definitely first) Kafka Day! Far from being a celebration of people turning into cockroaches (which was the popular opinion), this day was a celebration of the joy that can be had when working with the local government (and if you're not familiar with the term, we do suggest you look up "kafkaesque"). And so! Celebrating in the only way we knew how, we tapped up a whole buncha beers including some rare and/or barrel aged stuff (RIP Quadless Leg Monster) and also we debuted Fancy Pants! Remember Lazy Pants? From February? Well, we thought it would be fun to gussy it up a bit and blend it on up with some barrel-aged goodness and boom: Fancy Pants! And while we're on about Kafka Day Beerz, this was also the day that y'all got a first sneak peek at lil' ol' Melvin! But that was a bygone era before Melvin had all the siblings that he can boast of today and we sure are glad we had the self-restraint to keep from drinkin' it all before it even hit the barrel because dang them's some tasty tipples!
Anyway. Moving on, this was also the month that brought us Pat Signal! Made to tickle the tastebuds of our cask-lovin' friend Patrick, this beer was quite literally made to be served on cask (it's what we sent to NERAX, which is pretty much our favorite fest ever) and in true "arguably British style," it packed a light enough punch that you could get to know it over a whole session without gettin' too cross-eyed!
And while we're at it on the new-at-the-time beers train, March also brought us Out of Bounds! Named after the... ungenerous fairway sizes over at Thomson Country Club, this old-school-meets-new-school IPA was on- and off-tap in the taproom throughout the golfing season and (more to the point) it was a staple on tap at Thomson!
And steppin' ever so slightly away from beer for a moment, March was also the first time we hosted our sporadically-recurring Futurama Trivia, which allowed another new-to-us trivia host the chance to shine*** and resulted in an unnerving number of questions delivered in-character! But anyway, we best keep keepin' on, because there were plenty more peculiar events in...
April when we made a cask for an opera! (And also a cask festival, but we already talked about that one). Since this opera was put on by Original Gravity it was a bit less... traditional than we're used to, so we figured we'd get creative with our beer offering and we took a cask of Oink (our smoked wheat beer) and added a little lactose and primed it with pineapple juice and served it from a beer engine that was attached to a plastic folding table and it really doesn't sound like it would have been good but it was straight-up delicious (one of the OG guys summed it up nicely, saying "I should hate everything about this, but it's actually really good")!
And anyway a little while after that there was Jeff. Jeff. Jeff was followed pretty quickly by Dance Bob (which - unlike Jeff - had an actual, albeit stupid, story behind the name) and then we hosted a Junk Food Showdown between Bonetown and Brato (as it happens, this was our last food showdown before Brato got all "boo-hoo we can't organize complicated food competitions for you because we have a restaurant to run") and also at some point we got a dog but you don't see or hear much from/about her because she's finicky about modeling for pictures (just like Jared!) and even more finicky about meeting lots of people (just like Jared!) but that sounds like something we can figure out in...
May when we absolutely did not figure that out, but we did get Pride tanks! We missed the boat a bit on this last year (one of our bartenders asked us if we'd be doing Pride merch, but he didn't think of it until, like, three days before Pride which isn't really enough time), so we jumped right on it this year and we even broke our (Jared's) longstanding "no man tanks" rule and we're glad we did because they're snazzy as hell! We also brewed a Pride beer and brewed (but didn't release, for barrel-aging reasons) our 300th batch (the brewday for which fell right around the three-year anniversary of our first batch) and brought back a couple Old Favorites (namely Joybringer and Loretta and Lawn Chair)...
...and we released Chaos Reigns, a collab beer we made with Vaulted (a local metal band, who also made some rad-ass shirts to go with the beer) and also for the first time ever we started keeping the taproom open seven dang days a week! And we sure needed those extra open days to handle all the excitement in...
June when we started the month with our first-ever photo exhibit, featuring concert photography from three photographers and aptly titled Images from the Pit! We also released our next dog beer (Elmo) and we released a beer that we made for a beer dinner at The Oceanaire and then we attended said beer dinner and we expanded our trivia repertoire with some horror movie trivia and also a different trivia night with another new-to-us host who likes to bounce around a bit on themes (the first one was, fittingly, "alcohol") and we somehow managed to put out like three new beers every week and also there was cheese!
As you may have noticed, we love snacks and snacking around here, and there's really no better snack than cheese so we spent a while pining over a cheese program until we realized that we can just, like, do things and thus the cheese program was born! We started with cheese flights, focused on a different creamery every month and with a beer flight to pair, and now we're just straight-up mongerin' cheese all the time! Anyway, there will be plenty more cheese to be had in...
July when we didn't get up to a whole hell of a lot because it was seven billion degrees all the damn time, but we did finally achieve a big ol' goal of ours (one we never ever thought we'd reach in only three short years) and that's our first-ever wild beer releases, which we collectively know as Critters! We started out strong with a triple bottle release (the draft versions were released sequentially, for logistical reasons) with the full intention of releasing more ASAP and then we realized that wild beers take months and months to make so we're really just catching back up on that now but whatever, we got Critters! And there's sure to be a couple more wild surprises up our sleeves because we're just about at our favorite month of the year, which is...
August when pretty much the whole month was devoted to preparing for our birthday party and shouting about our birthday party and then eventually throwing our birthday party and then getting all misty-eyed about how much fun we had at our birthday party. But! It was! So! Much! Fun!
There were hella new beers and hot dogs and bands and hot sauce and an ill-advised pinata and caveman steaks and some old favorites back on tap for the day and apparently some hatchets and macarons and one-of-a-kind swag and dang but it just fills us with joy to be able to do all this cool stuff and it's just downright heartwarming to be able to share it with so many cool people!
Anyway, we straight-up continued riding that feeling well into...
September when we were still constantly grinning from ear to ear about all the fun we had at our birthday party, and then we did a bunch of collab beers (most of them with Saltbox, for some reason) and we had our first taste of the fine foods from taproom frequent-flyer Boston HotChix and we had our first Retro Video Game Night and we served/ate an impressive number of hot dogs and there was some sort of festival right outside our front door! And at the tail end of all that, we got to be a part of the Smuttynose 25th Anniversary brewday which was a pretty big honor because those guys have been making tasty beer since pretty much forever.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure another dog was acquired at some point, which was just in time for some dog-related happenings in...
October, the most spooktacular of months, when the whole production staff (and anybody else foolish enough to join) excitedly embarked on the task of writing our beer and candy pairing menu for Halloween and then we got to spend the rest of the evening with tummyaches so bad that we started questioning all of our life choices. But that ain't get our spooktacular spirits down!
We also did pumpkin carving on the patio and we swapped out that ol' photo exhibit for a seasonally-appropriate art exhibit (Monday Mosh Monsters! They're so cool!) and we hosted an immersive theater event that definitely didn't blow up any of our light fixtures by accident.
And. AND. We had the spooktacularly great idea to bring all our furry friends in on this spooktacular fun and we had a dog costume contest at the end of the month! There were treats galore and tons of good pups struttin' their stuff all over our parking lot and people dressed up with their dogs and there were dogs dressed as friggin' Critters bottles and anyway it was pretty much the cutest thing we've ever done and now we have to do it every year until the end of time.
And, in uncharacteristic appropriateness, we also had another dog beer on tap in October! This time around it was brown ale made for a beer-stealin' little bulldog named Rufus! Anyway, that about wraps up all the spooktacular fun that we were able to cram in to ol' October, so we gotta slog our way through...
November when we released So. Many. Bottles.
And since we were already puttin' out a shitload of bottles, we figured we'd just throw in another made-up holiday and see what happened, and what happened was we had a lot of fun! The holiday in question was Pulpo Day and it was/is (unsurprisingly) a celebration of our delectable chocolate orange imperial stout, and it was a tasty day indeed! We set up the ol' fest rig and tapped up vintage Pulpo and barrel-aged Pulpo and vintage barrel-aged Pulpo and also there was bacon! There were also eventually El Pulpo shirts but those weren't here in time for the holiday (oh well).
Then a little while after that we busted out bottles of Joyrider to go along with our sweet-ass flannels and then right after that there was another kinda-sorta made-up holiday and that's Shitty Wednesday!
Long story short, we try to "soften the blow" of being out and about on the day before Thanksgiving, and nothing softens that blow quite like releasing a shitload of bottles! This time around we released Melvin and Melvin and Melvin and Melvin and we wrote up a whole list of Thanksgiving Beer Pairings to go with all that Melvin (and also everything else on the menu) and that late-ass Turkey Day meant we didn't even realize the month was over until...
December... which is this month so there's not a hell of a lot of "looking back" to do because it's hard to reminisce about the present (unless you really like weed, but that's neither here nor there) but anyway we did manage to hit the moderately-ridiculous milestone of releasing both our 300th batch (Fig Pig, which we originally brewed back in May) and our 350th batch (Life Sentence Part Deux) more-or-less simultaneously, so that's... something?
Anyway, we also introduced dog bandanas (and got our camera-shy canine to do a spot of modeling) and we also wrote this very long blog post! Whew!
And at the end of this ridiculous year, looking back over all the twists and turns and good times and less-good times, it's easy to see that the ups really do outweigh the downs and the strikes stand out far more than the gutters,**** which is why we like to take a minute***** to reflect and put everything in perspective. We love our weird little brewery and we love coming up with new ways to try and make your day a little brighter. We've gotten to meet a ton of great people - on both sides of the bar - and we can't possibly thank you enough for making us a part of your life, because y'all are what keeps this train rollin'.
So, once more, thank you. Thank you for coming to our made-up holidays and thank you for getting excited about cheese with us and thank you for tolerating it when our dishwasher broke (and when our floor broke, and when our cold room broke) and thank you for dressing up your dogs to come hang out in our parking lot and thank you for getting stoked about all our new beers and thank you for being you. You're a rad person and we're glad to know you. Cheers!
* That bench, which can apparently be converted into a picnic table, is now a kind of poignant/depressing time capsule of the breweries that existed at the time of its making.
** And, somehow, nursing several different headaches at once.
*** Be weird, but with a microphone this time
**** That being said this year will still be remembered as The Year When Everything Broke, but that's a different story for a different time.
***** We're using a pretty liberal definition of "minute" here, since this took a somewhat-embarrassing amount of time to write.
Jared and Jimbo will tell you some things, sometimes.