For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.
We're (FINALLY) Ready for Tours! (and a few other things)
Information regarding the "Private Tour for Two" reward level
Updates on Sustainable Additions to the Brewery, Thanks to You!
Update on Remaining Reward Deliveries!
At Long Last, We're Licensed and Making Beer!
For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.
We sent out some updates in our email newsletter a few weeks ago, but just realized we never updated our Kickstarter page (it gets a bit hectic trying to maintain Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, our email newsletter, etc, etc, so apologies for not posting more KS updates recently). If you'd like to sign up for our news updates, feel free to plug in your email address on our home page at http://www.hawriverales.com, and we'll keep you posted on more great developments as we're able to implement them into the brewery, thanks in part to every single one of you supportive individuals!
Our Solar Powered Brewery: When we first started fine tuning some basic concepts for our brewery, way back in 2010, we knew we wanted to be as responsible as possible in both the implementation and process of brewing beer as we could. By considering as many angles as possible and brewing in a more responsible way, we figured that would be one step closer to building the inspirational business we hoped to create.
So when we started putting plans together for the brewery, we knew there were certain aspects we wanted in place: We wanted to purchase local ingredients from neighbors for our beer. We wanted to offer interesting products for a fair price that brought something new to the NC beer scene. And we wanted to implement renewable, sustainable energy sources instead of traditional, archaic methods of heating and production in our everyday processes.
Just last week, our team at Saenger Solar and Alphin Design Build placed the last of twelve custom-made solar panels on the roof of the old cotton mill that's home to our brewery in Saxapahaw. The innovative system uses the panels to heat a glycol solution that travels down into the brewery from the roof through a passage in our ceiling, into a heat exchanger that raises the temperature of clean, filtered liquor ("liquor" is what brewer's call water to be used as an ingredient in the brewing process) and stores it hot in one of five glass-lined tanks suspended above our brewhouse. On brewday at the end of a stretch of nice, sunny days, we'll be able to simply transfer this hot water directly into our mash tun to start the brewing process, rather than using cold water that's heated by firing up our big natural gas boiler to provide steam to a jacketed tank.
And as an additional bonus, while we were building out our brewery, we installed over 800 feet of PEX tubing beneath our floor when we poured the sloped concrete, so we're now able to pump a hot glycol solution through our actual floor to help raise the ambient temperature in the brewery, rather than using gas heaters. Little details like this help fine tune what we hope is a smarter way of making a pint of beer that becomes part of the story of our little brewery.
Our Farmhand Exchange Program: In just a few days, we're getting our Farmhand Exchange program started for the season by giving away seed packets for growing small amounts of interesting ingredients. This year, we're working with gardeners to cultivate both Ground Cherries and Marigolds!
This one's gonna be fun: If you'd like to grow some ingredients for us, just swing by the tasting room in Saxapahaw during business hours the weekend of March 7th & 8th, provide your contact info so we can keep in touch over the summer, and we'll hand you a couple of seed packets for you to get seedlings started and then planted this spring when you get your garden going. Then later this summer, when your ground cherries are popping up all over the place and you've got your fill of marigold blossoms, we'll pay you market price for as much of your harvest as you'd like to sell us and use your ingredients in a batch of beer!
By helping spread some interesting new seeds amongst our neighbors' gardens, we hope to turn folks onto some new ingredients and ideas you can use in your own families' meals, while also allowing our neighbors to earn a little extra money and be a part of some delicious beer! The rewards of growing your own food are something you can literally reap for a lifetime!
You can read more about what we're doing to integrate smaller farms and gardeners into our Farmhand Exchange program on our blog at hawriverales.com/blog.
We just updated our blog with the following info, but wanted to make sure each of our Kickstarters was in the loop as well, in case you don't follow us on social media or haven't had a chance to visit our website yet...
A couple of weeks ago, Dawnya & I drove to the office of ABC in Raleigh to submit all our final paperwork and cross our fingers for the permits we'd need to legally brew beer in the state of North Carolina. Luckily, we had all our ducks in a row (definitely Dawnya's doing), because we left the office that afternoon with smiles on our faces and all the paperwork we needed to get going. Our first few batches are now bubbling away as I type this, and we couldn't be more excited about getting going with the brewery. To make sure we clearly communicate what you can expect from Haw River Farmhouse Ales over the next month or two, we've put together a little summary of our expected scheduling, plans for initial distribution, our planned event calendar, an idea for which beers are coming out of the gate first, and a few other pieces of info you may find helpful.
• If all goes according to plan, our first kegs should arrive to your favorite bars and restaurants in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte areas within the next few weeks (during September). We're leading the pack with a few of our favorites: Newlin's Original Belgian Oatmeal Pale and St. Benedict's Breakfast Dubbel. Since both of these beers are made via "clean" fermentations, we're able to produce these in just a few weeks, as opposed to some of our funky or sour beers, which take a bit longer. That said, we've tried to plan ahead a bit, so don't be surprised if you see a keg here and there of something a bit more unique—we didn't get a 2BBL pilot system for nothin'. :)
• Our two 30hL French oak foeders will be filled within the next few weeks as well. Getting these into the mix is a bit unorthodox, in that each holds about 25BBL worth of beer, which means it's 2.5 turns on our production system. Our plan is to dedicate one tank to Rusted Plow, our Brettanomyces-fermented Saison, and the other to our Cotton Pickin' Farmhouse IPA, which will also be aged on a different strain of Brettanomyces. Once we have these tanks established with the first batches and we can better predict how long they'll need to age to achieve the "funk-level" we're looking for, we'll begin cycling these batches on a regular basis and be able to weave them into our regular production scheduling.
• Our sour beer barrel program has officially been started, but sour beer takes a bit longer to produce, so we'll not have sour beer in the market until at least next spring, most likely. That said, we tried to plan ahead as much as possible, so we'll have a little sour beer here and there at certain events this fall and winter or on tap at our tasting room. Once the full sour program gets going, we'll kick it off with a full scale release of Darius the Giant (our bourbon barrel Flanders Red on whole Balaton tart cherries) on draught and in bottles, so that'll be a fun one.
• The tasting room here in Saxapahaw will "soft open" as soon as we have a few of our beers in kegs, and we have a chance to finish up the trim out and final decor of the space properly. We're hoping all that will come together at some point during September, so stay tuned to social media and we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you find yourself in Saxapahaw and would like to check out the brewery and say hello, the door to our upstairs "observation platform" is open just about every day from 8am to about 5pm. Entrance to the platform is accessible from the walkway to Cup22, the coffee shop here in Saxapahaw right next door to the brewery upstairs.
• Bottles are in our plans and on the horizon, but they'll have their own timeline, as we're making it a priority to get beer to draught accounts as quickly as possible so you guys don't have empty glasses much longer.
• Kickstarter donors should have started (finally!) getting your rewards in the mail. If you haven't received yours yet, hang tight just a bit longer. Because of our crazy schedule recently, we've been trying to find spots in our calendar when we can sit down and package, address and label everyone's boxes so we can get them over to the post office for processing. We started with over 400 of these boxes, and we know you're eager to receive yours. Now that the tanks are full and beer is bubbling away, we're hopeful we'll have everyone's rewards in their hands before the end of September (and keep in mind those of you who mentioned you'd like to pick them up from the brewery can start doing so on September 1st—may want to give us a quick heads-up if you're headed to Sax, just to make sure we have your on-site when you swing by).
• Cock's Crow members should keep an eye on their inbox within the next week or so for the shirt & glass design (which is pretty badass), as well as details as to what we have planned for a kickoff and a first bottle release once we get the doors to the retail space opened up here in Saxapahaw.
• Barn Raisers should keep an eye our for an email soon as well, outlining the very latest with planning the Barn Raiser party (which we're separating from the Grand Opening for now, so we can really concentrate on digging into some great plans for you guys without being distracted by coordinating other events a few days away). Soon as we nail down the date for the Barn Raiser party, we'll let you know, so you guys & gals can plan ahead accordingly.
• Our grand opening celebration is currently being planned for this fall—we're working around some of the event scheduling here in Saxapahaw, so as to make sure we don't have droves of thirsty craft beer geeks descending upon some nice couple's wedding at the Ballroom one weekend. :) But as soon as we know when the best weekend may be, we'll let you know and make sure we get the word out with plenty of time to plan ahead. We've definitely got some fun things planned, so it'll be worth the wait. We promise.
• Our festival calendar is getting lined up, and we're hoping to see you out & about at your festival of choice! So far, we're on schedule to pour beer at the following great events: Co-Hops at Company Shops in Burlington on 9/6, Beericana in Holly Springs on 9/27, World Beer Festival in Durham on 10/11 and Release the Funk in Charlotte on 11/15. We may sneak a few more in here and there this fall (and if we're not pouring at your favorite festival just yet, hang tight... once we get settled in, we'll be able to handle more events a bit more easily), so keep an eye on the event calendar on our website and we'll keep you posted!
If you have any other questions, feel free to drop us an email, post on our Facebook wall or reach out on Twitter! And thanks again to everyone for your support and patience as we've been getting going over the past few years! We know it's taken some time, but we wanted to make sure we did things as wisely and responsibly as possible—we're really excited about sharing our beer with each and every one of you soon!