Author Topic: Going going gone . . .  (Read 1526 times)

Offline tschmidlin

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Going going gone . . .
« on: November 11, 2012, 06:57:54 PM »
For the last couple of months I've been working at a side job - head brewer at Bluebird Brewing in Seattle.  It's a part time thing, working on a 2 BBL system.  We've got a couple of 3 bbl glycol chilled conicals that are nice, but mostly it is an oversized homebrew system.  MM3, March pump, propane burners, etc.  Kegging in 1/2 bbl sankes.

Bluebird is better known for ice cream - there are three shops around Seattle.  The brewing system is in the back of one of them.  We haven't started selling beer yet, there was a ton to do to get it all up and running, and like I said it's a part time thing.  I finished hooking up an 8 product trunk line this weekend - 4 will be beer, and 4 soda (it's an ice cream shop after all).  The beers will mostly be geared towards things that go well with ice cream, for making floats and stuff - they're really popular.

We'll start selling our beer in one location this Thursday.  The beers will be our coffee porter, strong blonde, and chocolate stout, plus a guest tap of pale ale.  The sodas will be our rootbeer, cream soda, snickerdoodle soda, and a guest tap of ginger beer.

I'm not sure when we'll put our beer on at the second location.  It already has 8 taps and has been selling other people's beer for a year or two, but I'll convert 4 of them for soda and we'll save 3 taps for our beers.  The third location will have to wait until we find some coolers (for the right price) we can use for the beer.

The first two beers (coffee porter, strong blond) were brewed by the guy who set up the system, a pro brewer who is friends with the owner.  He got the system installed and did a couple of test batches, then turned it over to me.  We've since added the two conicals, rebuilt the mill table, installed the draft system, and a bunch of other small projects.  And be "we" I mean me.  The first batch I did was the chocolate stout - it was served at a beer festival this weekend and got 3rd place (out of ~60 beers) in the people's choice voting.

It's a one-man show, and it's been a lot of work, but I'm having fun!
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2012, 07:03:44 PM »
This is fantastic Tom! I am so proud to hear of you doing this. Very heartening that we as self-styled self taught non-professionals can make this transition and show our mettle. Not to say we haven't had the benefit of others' help, but all the same it speaks volumes.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline denny

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Going going gone . . .
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2012, 07:05:06 PM »
Good luck to ya and have a great time! 
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline bluesman

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2012, 07:19:40 PM »
This is super cool Tom!

I'm impressed. I hope everything continues to go your way. Best of luck my friend!  :)

Ron Price

Offline jeffy

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2012, 07:57:19 PM »
It is good you're having fun.  I hope you are getting the credit you deserve.
I had no idea you had enough time in your life for something like this.  Makes me feel like a slacker.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2012, 08:33:05 PM »
Rock on Dr. Tom. Next time (first time, even though I lived in portland for 6 months back in 94) I'm in Seattle I will be all over a stout and coffee icecream float.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline Mark G

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2012, 08:58:45 PM »
Awesome news Tom. Congrats.
Mark Gres

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2012, 09:50:08 PM »
Very Nice.
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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2012, 10:18:56 PM »
Niiice. Can't wait to get up there again and try some.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2012, 11:24:47 PM »
Glad to see you venturing out of the academic world!  Good stuff amigo!
There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.


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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 01:12:16 AM »
Thanks all!  It really is as much fun as I thought it would be.  Even the 11 hour brew day was a good time.  There are a lot of improvements that can be made so as money and time are available I'll be making some incremental changes.  I don't really have as much time for it as I'd like, believe me!
Tom Schmidlin

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 06:55:29 AM »
This is very cool. You are living the dream, and am a little jealous.

Is the brewing scene in WA so competitive that you need a PhD in microbiology to get at gig at a nano?  ;)
Jeff Rankert
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Offline udubdawg

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 06:58:33 AM »
I finished hooking up an 8 product trunk line this weekend - 4 will be beer, and 4 soda (it's an ice cream shop after all). 

I misread that as "truck" and thought - woah, combo ice cream/beer truck?!?  Why is this not available to me NOW?!   ;D

congrats, and look forward to trying them all as soon as I can back home.

cheers--
--Michael

Offline tygo

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 07:27:32 AM »
Congrats Tom that's awesome.  Sounds like a lot of fun (and work).
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Going going gone . . .
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2012, 08:05:06 AM »
I finished hooking up an 8 product trunk line this weekend - 4 will be beer, and 4 soda (it's an ice cream shop after all). 

I misread that as "truck" and thought - woah, combo ice cream/beer truck?!?  Why is this not available to me NOW?!   ;D

congrats, and look forward to trying them all as soon as I can back home.

cheers--
--Michael

Mom!  Mom!  The beer truck is here!  Can I have a dollar?
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995