It’s not everyday you get to celebrate your second anniversary. In fact, it’s only one day, one totally rad day. For us, it’s Oath Day Two, and that day is here. We’re stoked to spend the day with the people who have made our beer-fueled adventure successful so far–especially to show off the new space we just picked up this month that will allow us to grow over the next several years. If you were quick on the trigger and have a ticket, here are the details. If you missed out or are just hearing about this, we hope you’ll join us for Oath Day Three.
Your job tomorrow is to have a good time. Enjoy the beer, the company of like-minded strangers, and the amusements. We’ve never packed hundreds of people at a time into Solemn Oath before, so please keep our neighbors and the City of Naperville in mind when you’re deciding how hard to party or how to party hard. We would love to do this regularly, and we need your help keeping things within the boundaries of such things as the law and good taste to continue to have that opportunity. We trust that we’re all on the same page about this.
Our taproom bartenders tell us that you guys make the funniest faces when you see us in the brewery wrestling with a yeast brink—or “funny-shaped keg,” as we hear you like to call it. Here’s the breakdown on all things funny-shaped keg.
The most microbiologically sensitive part of the brewing process is between the heat exchanger, where we cool the boiled wort, and the completion of primary fermentation. Wort in the kettle is hot enough to prevent microorganisms from establishing residence, but once it’s cooled it’s basically bacteria and fungus heaven—lots of sugar, full of nutrients, and moderate in temperature. The way it’s supposed to go is we pitch a carefully selected and cared-for yeast strain into the wort, which ferments wort into beer. When fermentation is complete, the depleted reserves of sugar, low pH, and alcohol content mitigate the chance and severity of infection. Knockout—pumping the wort from the kettle through the heat exchanger to the fermenter—is, therefore, a critical quality checkpoint to make sure that the yeast strain we select takes hold and prevent foreign organisms from doing the same. Any process equipment that touches cooled wort has to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, so when preparing to harvest yeast, we start by soaking all our yeast brink parts in caustic, rinsing them, and finally soaking them in a no-rinse sanitizing solution.
Our second anniversary is upon us, and we couldn’t bear to test your patience with long lines and wall-to-wall taproom crowds. Instead, we’re closing down for the day and opening up our entire facility, including a hearty chunk of parking lot, for a two-session celebration of all things Oath.
This occasion also gives us the chance to welcome you into our soon-to-be-expanded space. We’re doubling our square footage to make room for, well, you know, more beer. None of that space will be built out by Oath Day, so it’s a blank canvas for us to paint our party on. We’ll fill it with beer stations and loud music, you fill it with your sexy self. Lots of room to roam, no reason to stand in line waiting for beer.
Sometimes an idea sounds so good that you just have to look past its gratuitous extravagance, technical obstacles, logistical complexities, and uncertain outcomes and just fucking do it.
So it went when I started talking to Jay Cunningham at Intelligentsia. Jay is a fifteen-year coffee pro who loves beer but thinks putting the two together has not generally been a very inspired process and that the results are not generally all that good. The tilt of coffee beer is unfortunately towards that generic burnt-caramel roast character that flows by the thousands of gallons from donut shop Bunns every morning, everywhere. It smells like what people think of as coffee, but to someone like Jay who’s been around the world buying beans and selling the end product, that’s what stale coffee smells like.
The weather outside is frightful. New beers, they’re so delightful.
Sorry for riffing on Christmas songs in March, but, like, look outside, man. Or at least suck it up until you get through this, because this month we release more beers than any other in our short history, including a few welcome comebacks from last year and two new bottle releases.
Let’s be real, safety isn’t the sexiest part of the beer world. There’s no Festival of Safely Brewed Beers or World Safety Cup awards ceremony, and for good reason. Yet safety is the single most important effort made in breweries every day, so here’s a little window into that seldom-seen world.
Read the beer news and you’ll notice some patterns. There’s a microbrewery doubling capacity. Here’s a nano releasing bottles. Every regional brewery is opening up an East Coast shop. With all this expansion, there are more people than ever working in the industry who don’t have experience in manufacturing plants. With all those green employees, there’s a heightened danger of someone getting hurt.
There’s a feeling of fulfillment that comes along with reaching the end of a trilogy, in knowing the coup de grâce is imminent.
This month, Death by Viking completes our viking triptych. Death will be dealt in bottles, with draft to follow in February.
Holidays are strange occasions. They bring you together with loved ones you may not have seen since our space rock was in this exact position relative to the sun, which is pretty rad when you think about it.
But then you think about the fact that our solar system is sliding through our already-rotating galaxy, which is itself hurtling through space, away from the center of the universe, which is who knows where. What we mean, obviously, is that this is a perfect time of year to convert all your friends and family. Not to your religion or anything like that, but to beer. And here’s the key to doing it: Don’t dip any toes in the water. Don’t ease anyone into it. Slow and steady loses at life. Step away from that Boston Lager.
Bottles. Bottles. Bottles? Bottles?! Bottles!!! More on that soon.
Kidnapped by Vikings is now in very steady supply throughout Chicago and its hinterlands. Ravaged by Vikings is working its way through the supply chain right now, and we’re brewing Death By Vikings, our imperial IPA, for the first time ever this month for a January release.