Spare Parts

Image

Finally getting around to posting some of the goings on at the Tavern, starting with a shot of the Raven’s new look! This is going to be a bit of a photo heavy post, so depending on your blog viewing preferences: I’m sorry or you’re welcome.

At the beginning of April, Bell’s Brewery hosted a tap takeover which served as a good opportunity to test out the new draft system. I had a crash course on how the beer pumps work (really, they do all the work by themselves. I still don’t get it), which will be beneficial when it is time to hook them up to the serving tanks.

Image

As I understand it, CO2 pushes the beer out of the keg and powers the pumps which feed the beer into split lines–one each for the upstairs and downstairs draft towers. A glycol pump on the rooftop keeps the beer fresh and cold on its journey to the glass. We have six pumps (and taps), one for each serving vessel and one for small batch specialty beers. Pretty exciting if you ask me.

Image

Temporary auxiliary keg storage!

Gas lines and venting are all done for the boil kettle.

Image

Image

This is our repurposed  transfer pump, I’m most happy with the little cart for ease of movement. This guy’s main job will be moving the beer from fermenting vessels over to the serving vessels for conditioning and carbonation, but he’ll get double and triple duty too (He definitely does NOT know what he is getting himself into).

Image

Ummm, I’ll pass over this contraption for now.

But I’ll leave you with a behind the scenes glimpse of a recent pilot batch:

Image

Finding the right atmosphere is a key step

More updates to come soon!

Advertisements

Beer Activism

Andrew Schmitt of the Minnesota Beer Activists has a great summary of the many new bills being proposed in Minnesota’s legislature involving the sale of liquor on Sundays, you should take a look here: http://mnbeeractivists.com/newsfeed/slew-of-sunday-liquor-sales-bills

A couple of these bills propose lifting Minnesota’s ban on Sunday liquor sales entirely which would be wonderful, but because the subject is really contested in our legislature it might be difficult for these bills to gain enough traction and support for them to pass.

Another bill that could be introduced that would have an immediate affect on the Gun Flint Tavern is named in honor of the rural Brau Brothers Brewing Company. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/pressrelease.asp?pressid=7169&party=2&memid=15369 It might be easier to pass because it proposes a much smaller change by just allowing breweries to sell growlers of beer on Sundays rather than rescinding the statewide ban on sales. This would be really significant for rural breweries and brewpubs in tourist areas like Grand Marais or Ely, because vacationers heading home on Sundays would be able to stop in the local brewery and grab something to go, a luxury many people have missed out on in the past.

If you are so inclined, check out the links to the bills provided in Andrew’s article, read up on them, and contact your representatives! Also please take a moment to sign this petition in support of Sunday sales: http://sundaysalesmn.org/

Image

Time for before and after pics!

Image

I love pool as much as the next guy, but I think the stainless is a big improvement over the felt, do you agree? Amazing how much work has been done over the past year!

New Years: Brew Years

We knew when we began work on the brewpub that installing a brewery from the ground up was going to be a long and sometimes frustrating process, and while it has taken even longer than I was hoping for, it can be gratifying at the same time. Each bit of progress gets us closer to our end goal. To see it happening and to be involved in the process is awesome. That part is very satisfying. Waiting for our State paperwork to go through isn’t pleasant, but it is just something that comes along with a start-up.

The biggest changes in the brewpub recently have been most noticeable ones. All the glass is finally in now, and the ceiling has been hung. All the people involved on this project are doing wonderful work and as a result the build-out is looking phenomenal. We are really close to the point of moving the rest of the equipment in. Next on the list is installing the track lighting and doing the tile work around the new doors. Once we get the equipment in we’ll get to work on plumbing it together, and once that is up and operable and all our paperwork and licenses get the go-ahead we get to start brewing! So as always, we’ve made some great progress, but there is a lot ahead of us.

In the meantime the brew team is coming up with some cold weather libations on the pilot system. During these frigid and dark months I like the warmth and fortitude that a heavy stout offers, and we have a couple different variations we are working on. Bundle up and look for one at the Tavern soon!

Image

Hope everyone had wonderful holidays!

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.

Image

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.

Image

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!