Behind the Barn Door: The Haw River Blog
Haw River: What's on Deck the First Couple of Months...
A couple of weeks ago, Dawnya & I drove to the office of ABC in Raleigh to submit all our final paperwork and cross our fingers for the permits we'd need to legally brew beer in the state of North Carolina. Luckily, we had all our ducks in a row (definitely Dawnya's doing), because we left the office that afternoon with smiles on our faces and all the paperwork we needed to get going. Our first few batches are now bubbling away as I type this, and we couldn't be more excited about getting going with the brewery. To make sure we clearly communicate what you can expect from Haw River Farmhouse Ales over the next month or two, we've put together a little summary of our expected scheduling, plans for initial distribution, our planned event calendar, an idea for which beers are coming out of the gate first, and a few other pieces of info you may find helpful.
• If all goes according to plan, our first kegs should arrive to your favorite bars and restaurants in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte areas within the next few weeks (during September). We're leading the pack with a few of our favorites: Newlin's Original Belgian Oatmeal Pale and St. Benedict's Breakfast Dubbel. Since both of these beers are made via "clean" fermentations, we're able to produce these in just a few weeks, as opposed to some of our funky or sour beers, which take a bit longer. That said, we've tried to plan ahead a bit, so don't be surprised if you see a keg here and there of something a bit more unique—we didn't get a 2BBL pilot system for nothin'. :)
(If you're a bar, restaurant, bottle shop or grocery store that's interested in purchasing our beer, please feel free to send an email and we'll coordinate scheduling and logistics with you. Thanks for the support!)
• Our two 30hL French oak foeders will be filled within the next few weeks as well. Getting these into the mix is a bit unorthodox, in that each holds about 25BBL worth of beer, which means it's 2.5 turns on our production system. Our plan is to dedicate one tank to Rusted Plow, our Brettanomyces-fermented Saison, and the other to our Cotton Pickin' Farmhouse IPA, which will also be aged on a different strain of Brettanomyces. Once we have these tanks established with the first batches and we can better predict how long they'll need to age to achieve the "funk-level" we're looking for, we'll begin cycling these batches on a regular basis and be able to weave them into our regular production scheduling.
• Our sour beer barrel program has officially been started, but sour beer takes a bit longer to produce, so we'll not have sour beer in the market until at least next spring, most likely. That said, we tried to plan ahead as much as possible, so we'll have a little sour beer here and there at certain events this fall and winter or on tap at our tasting room. Once the full sour program gets going, we'll kick it off with a full scale release of Darius the Giant (our bourbon barrel Flanders Red on whole Balaton tart cherries) on draught and in bottles, so that'll be a fun one.
• The tasting room here in Saxapahaw will "soft open" as soon as we have a few of our beers in kegs, and we have a chance to finish up the trim out and final decor of the space properly. We're hoping all that will come together at some point during September, so stay tuned to social media and we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you find yourself in Saxapahaw and would like to check out the brewery and say hello, the door to our upstairs "observation platform" is open just about every day from 8am to about 5pm. Entrance to the platform is accessible from the walkway to Cup22, the coffee shop here in Saxapahaw right next door to the brewery upstairs.
• Bottles are in our plans and on the horizon, but they'll have their own timeline, as we're making it a priority to get beer to draught accounts as quickly as possible so you guys don't have empty glasses much longer.
• Kickstarter donors should have started (finally!) getting your rewards in the mail. If you haven't received yours yet, hang tight just a bit longer. Because of our crazy schedule recently, we've been trying to find spots in our calendar when we can sit down and package, address and label everyone's boxes so we can get them over to the post office for processing. We started with over 400 of these boxes, and we know you're eager to receive yours. Now that the tanks are full and beer is bubbling away, we're hopeful we'll have everyone's rewards in their hands before the end of September (and keep in mind those of you who mentioned you'd like to pick them up from the brewery can start doing so on September 1st—may want to give us a quick heads-up if you're headed to Sax, just to make sure we have your on-site when you swing by).
• Cock's Crow members should keep an eye on their inbox within the next week or so for the shirt & glass design (which is pretty badass), as well as details as to what we have planned for a kickoff and a first bottle release once we get the doors to the retail space opened up here in Saxapahaw.
• Barn Raisers should keep an eye our for an email soon as well, outlining the very latest with planning the Barn Raiser party (which we're separating from the Grand Opening for now, so we can really concentrate on digging into some great plans for you guys without being distracted by coordinating other events a few days away). Soon as we nail down the date for the Barn Raiser party, we'll let you know, so you guys & gals can plan ahead accordingly.
• Our grand opening celebration is currently being planned for this fall—we're working around some of the event scheduling here in Saxapahaw, so as to make sure we don't have droves of thirsty craft beer geeks descending upon some nice couple's wedding at the Ballroom one weekend. :) But as soon as we know when the best weekend may be, we'll let you know and make sure we get the word out with plenty of time to plan ahead. We've definitely got some fun things planned, so it'll be worth the wait. We promise.
• Our festival calendar is getting lined up, and we're hoping to see you out & about at your festival of choice! So far, we're on schedule to pour beer at the following great events: Co-Hops at Company Shops in Burlington on 9/6, Beericana in Holly Springs on 9/27, World Beer Festival in Durham on 10/11 and Release the Funk in Charlotte on 11/15. We may sneak a few more in here and there this fall (and if we're not pouring at your favorite festival just yet, hang tight... once we get settled in, we'll be able to handle more events a bit more easily), so keep an eye on the event calendar on our website and we'll keep you posted!
If you have any other questions, feel free to drop us an email, post on our Facebook wall or reach out on Twitter! And thanks again to everyone for your support and patience as we've been getting going over the past few years! We know it's taken some time, but we wanted to make sure we did things as wisely and responsibly as possible—we're really excited about sharing our beer with each and every one of you soon!