Taproom staff member Sarah is a charmer.
She has charmed us with her dancing skills time and time again, and her bubbly persona never fails to conjure up a smile on even the most evil of human beings’ faces. Heck, even when Sarah upchucks due to her intake of bad meatloaf, we still feel giddy just being in her vomity presence. Her quirky antics make all of us chuckle on a regular basis and they ended up landing her a job here at Solemn Oath.
So much of the brewing process happens inside stainless-steel tanks and rubber-clad hose that brewers don’t usually have much visual evidence that things are going according to plan.
After the boil, we send yeast into a clean and sanitary fermenter with sugar, nutrients, and a whisper. “Come out bright and clean, baby, will you?” From that point on, everything is done sight unseen. Our fermenting beer is much like Schrodinger’s cat, existing in multiple states at one time given our inability to observe it. There’s no sight glass on our fermenters, no glass manway. It could be going well inside, or off the rails. Rolling bubbles in the blowoff bucket give us a sign. Temperature control gives us some options. Our preparation for this moment gives us confidence.
There is more to a great brewery than great beer. Growing a successful business takes leadership from minds that find solutions rather than problems.
Since 2007, Gabriel Magliaro and his colleagues at Half Acre Beer Company have proven themselves to be leaders in the beer community, churning out innovative brews surrounded by a constantly growing culture that is as equally impressive.
After something happens, people have a tendency to lose their imagination. The only outcome possible was the one that transpired. This is a delusion. Things could have been very different. I, for one, could very well be standing in front of a room full of teenagers right now instead of a brew kettle.
In my past life, I was a high school history teacher. I often asked my students, “How do you know what you know?” We would talk about this at length. It’s a tricky question, and troubling for a lot of fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds. They just want to say, “I know because I know.”
I think we can all agree that the best way to accurately convey the flavor profiles of craft beers is to compare them to Alice in Chains albums.
For example, the hard rock, early grunge sound of Facelift is comparable to a traditional American IPA like Kidnapped by Vikings and beers with cattier hop profiles and more hop/malt contrast like Grumpess and E-Ville are closer to Dirt. It’s obvious where I’m going with this, right? Oxford Comma is our Jar of Flies. No face-melting guitar or assaulting vocals. The flavor profile is far more mellow and balanced than our other seasonal offerings have been thus far. Our goal was a truly unique beer with a harmonious blend of flavors and no single ingredient dominating the others. Ginger and lemon peel add a tartness to enliven the floral bouquet of lavender, rosehips and green coriander. The light, crisp sweetness of Pilsner malt is balanced by a minimal earthy hop character and delicate Belgian yeast esters.
Last week, America’s small brewers descended on Washington DC for our yearly industry meeting. It was five days of learning, connecting, and, of course, sampling, set against the backdrop of our nation’s institutions and history.
This was no free-for-all of bearded dudes shouting, “Well this is how we do it at MY brewery.” We started, 6,500 of us, with the double-digit growth we’ve generated year over year, the progress we’ve made chipping away at your pappy’s adjunct light lager and your mom’s chardonnay. From there, each SOB on the trip had a somewhat different experience, each marked by the wisdom of seasoned veterans and the experience of new beers in new settings. In a way, our gathering was something of a peaceful rebellion against the status quo, a mile-marker on the path to more democratic beer. It wasn’t lost on anyone that, mere blocks from the conference, a hearty demonstration on the steps of the Supreme Court reflected the vigorous arguments within, the fates of millions hanging in the balance. Our purpose there was serious, but, at the end of the day, it’s just beer.
If you want to build your own business, if you really think you’re up for it, there is only one approach: be as inevitable as the tide.
When I began this project, I had an idea but no vision. I rode solo on a plane heading back from California in August of 2010 dreaming about beer. It was an industry I was only connected to as a consumer. It felt foreign to me, but I knew it was what I wanted to do; I knew that I would figure out how. With nothing more than that idea, I began to immerse myself in anything I could get my hands on that could help me learn about building a brewery. Books, magazines, and blogs helped me begin to understand the things I didn’t, but I couldn’t stop there.
Belly up to the bar at the Port Brewing Co./The Lost Abbey taproom on any given day and you will find yourself surrounded by fermenters, wood barrels, and taps galore. Sound familiar? If you are lucky, Jason, their taproom manager, will help make your decision on what to drink easier, and he will definitely encourage you to taste some of the best damn beers you can get your dirty little hands on. Feeling something West Coast? Belgian? Sour? You came to the right place.
Believe or not, that tall, lanky, shoulder-length blonde man from the taproom–the one who likes to break out the Destiny’s Child at the end of the night–is not spoken for. Yes, it’s shocking he hasn’t been snatched up yet, but Lou really is single.
One night, as we were closing down the taproom, I asked Lou a simple and direct question, “What are you looking for in a soulmate, Lou?”