Progress Report

It has been longer than I meant to go in between posting and it is time for a good progress update! The brewery is still in its construction phase at this time, and it has been quite a long process. I think that even when you expect all the normal delays–licenses, inspections, paperwork, construction–you can still get caught up in the end goal and forget a bit about how much actual work and effort and time is involved in the process. I tend to get ahead of myself because I can’t wait to start creating beers, but the reality is that there is still a lot of work to be done before we can start brewing.

That being said, equipment has been moved around a bit, and if you have stopped by the Tavern lately you’ve likely noticed some serving tanks in the brewing area. This is good progress because it means we can start to figure out what valves and clamps and extra parts I still need to source to make the system operable and uniform. Since the system has not been used in some time the equipment is at different levels of operation right now so it will take some effort to get it all together and ready to go.

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So what else is there to do? The glycol lines for fermentation temperature control still need to be run through the ceiling, the vent and hood for the boil kettle need to be installed so the ceiling can be finished. Lights and outlets need to be installed, the plumbing needs to be finished, and other things that will be done bit by bit in the coming weeks. The work on installing the cooling A/C unit has started today, and the serving lines should be in place next week, and then the draft tower can be built. Still waiting on the glass company to install the doors. Looks like a really busy month is shaping up!

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Once all of the construction is done and the equipment is ready to go we still need to test the equipment after a really thorough deep clean and put some batches through it to dial everything in. Then we can get outfitted for an opening date! Behind the scenes we are finalizing some recipe formulation and brewing them on our pilot system. We are playing with some fun and innovative ideas we’d like to do on a bigger scale. What are some beer styles/experiments you’d like to see us produce on the big system when we are up and running?

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As always, feel free to ask me questions about our progress!

They who drink beer, will think beer. -Washington Irving

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Brewer/Progress Update

Brewer Introduction

Before I start brewing at the Tavern I should give myself a bit of an introduction to let you know who I am. I am Jeff and Susan Gecas’ nephew and I grew up on Gunflint Lake and have spent my entire life in Cook County except for the years I attended college. My dad began brewing years before I was born so I grew up around it, often helping him during the process, and thankfully he will be bringing his experience to the Gun Flint Tavern to assist in brewing. I started brewing on my own in college a little over four years ago, where I had a great group of home-brewing friends to share my batches with.

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Brewing is a major creative outlet for me—right from the start I was experimenting with my own recipes, exploring different beer styles, and searching for innovative ingredients. The endless directions I want to pursue have always left me excited about the next beer I make. It’s wonderful that craft beer drinkers expect this attitude from the industry as well, and it helps professional brewers stay creative and enthusiastic. I am overjoyed to bring this philosophy to the Gun Flint Tavern, especially since it is very similar to their approach to the food menu.

To help get experience working on a much larger scale I was able to spend time at the Thirsty Pagan Brewpub in Superior, Lake Superior Brewing Company of Duluth, and Lucid Brewing out of Minnetonka. It was a really insightful experience and I learned more every day. The strong brewing community in Minnesota is so incredibly friendly and helpful. For everywhere I went and everyone I talked to I was welcomed with excitement about the new brewpub and given so much information and encouragement. It really drew me even more to an industry that views competition as a beneficial and educational thing to the craft beer community.

There is nothing more exciting than to be able to create handcrafted beers in your hometown for an eager audience and I am so happy to be a part of this new progression of the Gun Flint Tavern. I hope you all are excited as well, as we continually move closer to serving beer made on premise!

Progress Update

In the past two weeks we have received our Federal Brewer’s Notice, filed for our State license, and moved forward on window and door installation meaning that we are getting ever closer to installing equipment and crafting our first test batches on the big system! We are grateful that excitement and anticipation has continued to grow during this process, as well as exposure, and we would like to thank you for your support and encouragement.

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Speaking of exposure, in case you missed it Derek Allmendinger did a nice piece for the MN Beer Activists featuring the Gun Flint Tavern: http://mnbeeractivists.com/newsfeed/gun-flint-tavern-and-brewpub Check it out!

Please stay posted for more updates and as always, email me with any additional questions and comments!

Cheers!

Introducing the Brewpub

As many people know and as you have likely seen or heard, the Gun Flint Tavern is in the process of opening a brewpub. We have long felt that Cook County needs its own brewpub to showcase fresh, locally made beer. Our biggest hold up at this point is the time it takes for the TTB to approve our Brewer’s Notice, and all of the government paperwork that has to be approved. So while we patiently wait for this we are devoting ourselves to the process of rehab and construction. The process and progress being made is very exciting to see!

Minnesota has a healthy craft beer tradition—in part because it represents larger themes of Minnesota culture—like involving community, local ingredient sourcing, and innovation—but also because Minnesotans like good beer. The nation has been privileged with a craft beer renaissance since the mid-1970’s, but the industry has really been exploding in the past decade and Minnesota has proven to be a quality player with the Twin Cities and Duluth highlighting our offerings. A big factor in what has been driving this industry boost has been a desire to have beer right from the place it is made, as fresh as it gets, and the Gun Flint Tavern is thankful to be helping that effort by joining an already excellent group of breweries on the North Shore ranging from the Duluth/Superior area up to Castle Danger.

The Gun Flint Tavern was at the forefront of Cook County’s craft beer scene, always focusing on and featuring more and more Minnesota breweries. In addition, we have been blessed with a devoted following of beer lovers in the county. We are grateful and excited to be able to take this to its logical conclusion and open a facility geared at creating quality fresh beer for everyone: whether you live here or you are visiting the area.

As far as our timeline goes for opening: we’re really not sure.  We are doing our best to move things along and we are excited to actually start brewing, but there are a lot of steps to cover first. We have made some big strides with the reconstruction and we are close to being able to install our equipment, but again, it is a process with a specific progression. This blog will be an outlet to provide new details and updates, and to follow the ultimate timeline of the brewpub. Please email me if you have any questions, I’m more than happy to chat!

We are so thankful that this opportunity came up, and for all the help we’ve gotten in the process. Our excitement seems to be matched by everyone we talk to. Both Cook County and the craft beer community have been incredible in welcoming and offering us assistance.  Thanks for all your help and support!