The amount of labor required to produce a single drop of beer is extensive, perhaps five hours. To produce 5 gallons? About the the same. actually. This is why a brewer would want larger equipment, so that they can produce exponentially more and more beer for the same amount of labor. It is such a laborious process that one would want to maximize their output; their beer per time spent brewing.
Obviously, something is lost in translation when breweries are scaled up. This common belief is what unites craft beer fans from their uninformed brethren. However, everyone among us has their “one exception.” Whether it be a green bottle import, a red/white/blue hipster brew, or a beer whose mountains grow eerily neon blue when it is cold enough to not taste anything, one thing can be certain: the enjoyment of beer is multifaceted.
Partially a social institution, the drinking of beer has forever been connected with alehouses, taverns, and beer gardens. These environments cultivated an atmosphere of ideas and camaraderie. American Revolutionaries met in taverns to discuss their radical, democratic ideas. Perhaps they would sip on house-made ale, its smokey, peach apple sourness spiking the creativity of Benjamin Franklin. Across the pond, the powder wig British were busy arguing over which vintage claret showcased the best terrior.
The large production of porter in England was at one time a finely tuned, marketing machine. Now, porter is a niche style, occupying a place somewhere between stout and Babylonian bread-beer (it’s not very popular). Porter, however, is a muscular brew. A beer drinker extolling the greatness of porter is like a saxophonist talking about Charlie Parker. It conveys knowledge about some esoteric, exotic wisdom.
However, time is not static, tastes change. Maybe someday American Lite Adjunct Lager will hold similar esteem as modern day porter. Small nano-breweries will pop up that feature craft brewed corn Pilsners, quickly lagered to give it that special tang…
Our new beer engine arrived last week. TB #10 Pepe Louie’s christened the serving system. It was my favorite beer, by far. The Ardennes yeast added many complex aromas, such as bubble gum, banana, and clove. Our last firkin was served via a gravity system. This coupled with its lack of carbonation resulted in a frustrating effort.
The beer engine changed everything. Now the beer that I’m spending so much time on will be served in the best possible way. It instills a creamy texture, subtle malt nuance, and a thick, luxurious head [insert joke here].
A few people have complained about the serving temperature, which warmed up past 60*F on Saturday night, but we had a good 4 hours of proper cellar temperatures. All in all, we served a full 10.8 gallon firkin by Sunday afternoon, lasting less than 24 hours.
Luckily, we have another firkin in the cooler, ready to tap this Friday! Now, if only I had a giant, ceremonial rubber mallet…