About Black Shirt Brewing Co

Black Shirt Brewing Co is a progressive, artisanal brewery located in the RiNo Art District in Denver, CO. The brewery was founded by brothers Chad and Branden Miller and Chad's wife Carissa. Our focus is on creating unique, assertive, vibrant, complex, and ultimately perfectly-balanced beer. We do everything by hand, in small batches. No gimmicks. No bull shit.

Genuine. Passionate. Soulful. Authentic. Beer.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Few Weeks In...

...and learning lots!

So we finally opened our doors to a very patient and enthusiastic crowd over the past 5 weeks and have gotten really great reviews for our beer. We are, of course, very proud and very confident in the recipes and our execution of them, but to get the type of response that we have from not only our friends and family, but from beer enthusiasts, beer snobs, the press, and from other breweries, is a feeling beyond ecstatic! We all are so happy that our little dream, and all of our hard work, is finally being shared and embraced! 

A side effect of being embraced so well, is that we poured all of the beer we brewed in 3.5 months in 3 nights! Our Grand Opening alone we poured 17 kegs of beer. That is a LOT of beer for a brewery our size. Our pilot system, which has been used exclusively to brew all of the beer up until now, is a 10 gallon Brew Magic and 20 gallon fermenters. Over the past 4.5 months, the fermenters have never been empty. As soon as the beer would finish fermentation, we would crash, keg, and brew two more batches to fill the fermenter back up. We have realized, and knew this before, that a 10 gallon pilot system will never allow us to keep up with the thirst of the community. We are working on that!

Unfortunately, up until now, we haven't been able to brew on our larger scale production brewery due to one mechanical issue or another. Steam was a much bigger and more expensive endeavor than we could ever have imagined, and then glycol turned out to be our biggest nightmare to date. With the production system, we will be brewing 4 barrels of beer (124 gallons) per batch and then quad-batching to fill our 15 barrel fermenters (nearly 500 gallons). Once operational, this system will allow us to brew much more beer and allow us to open the tap room with much greater frequency. Just this past weekend, we fired up the kettle and brewed our Inaugural 4-barrel batch. Much went wrong, much was learned. Much of what we know was confirmed and then much of what we didn't know was revealed. We had to take a few days afterwards in order to lick our wounds and begin to contemplate using it again. This is a feeling we know all too well. When we first started brewing on our pilot system years ago, everything that could go wrong did. We burned ourselves, and we messed up batches of beer. We had moments where we thought we could never do this again. But, just like we have done before, we are applying the things we have learned, we are healing our wounds and feeling more confident, and we are readying to do it again! After all, it's not rocket science and it's not brain surgery, it's brewing. It's an age-old science and an artist's playground. Sure we might toss a few batches down the drains, but we are also going to find our footing and brew the best damn Red Ale that the world has ever known! And enough of it to keep our patient and enthusiastic crowd at bay! 

Cheers everyone, see you soon!

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic post, good people of BSB. 1) I love that you are receiving rave reviews across the board, and not just from the beer-starved 'hood rats like me :) 2) I was once told, by a big time magazine editor, that every publication should have a few "warts," i.e. if you make everything look easy and shiny and perfect, no one will trust you. I think about that often in my job as an editor, and proceed accordingly. Here you are showing us the warts. We know the finished product is fine fine fine, but to be allowed "behind the curtain" takes balls, and it shows that BSB is a true Brewery of (for) the People. 3) Glycol is nasty shit. Those chillers can be so bitchy--I'm just glad no one lost an arm. 4) Thank you all for perservering, for always having a smile and a high five and for believing in yourselves and the Red Ale Project as much as us 'hood rats believe in you.

    Long live BSB! See you again soon!

    Meghan "Boxcar Flooring Loving Stool Wench" Howes