As many of you know, we are in the midst of constructing our West Town brewpub. I was curious to get our brewer's take on this process, and find out more about his brewing plans so I sat down with BJ Pichman to get the scoop.
BJ's approach for the new brewpub looks at it more like an R&D laboratory. "This is where we will be cutting loose, pushing the envelope, and cranking out innovative beers." The brewing team is aware that people have different tastes, but they are being particularly mindful, curating offerings to excite and even expand people's palates. He reminded me, "For the adventurous, there are always flights."
So what about these beers? What drives the recipes? Pichman explained that new beers usually come about in one of two ways - either they are driven by a specific concept (time, place, etc.), or they are spawned from a particularly interesting ingredient. There is no roadmap, and trying to find the ingredients that work best together can be time consuming and stressful. However, he says, "After that first pilot batch I have a much better idea how the concept is showing through in the beer, and whether or not we are in the ballpark. From there, I can pull the levers to hone in on the final form. That second brew is where I can apply what I've learned and make the necessary adjustments. It doesn't always come that easy though. Forbidden Root took 18 months and countless test batches. But each subsequent brew is a chance to improve. I don't stop until the concept is fully actualized in that glass." BJ is currently working on an Autumn IPA for the brewpub, looking to make it a beer that puts you in the middle of the woods on a cold crisp autumn afternoon, with piney hops, rosemary, and aged on white oak. I mean, if that doesn't peak your interest, you must be dead.
Finally, I wanted to get some brewpub construction takeaways from BJ because he has been so entrenched in the building process. "I've learned so much that I couldn't possibility list it all here. My two biggest takeaways: 1.) If someone tells you a piece of equipment is 36"x36", you should double that. There is never enough space. 2.) Same goes for time to complete a task. Double it. Shit, triple it." Navigating the brewpub construction has been challenging and exciting. He reiterates, "I'm excited, and anxious, and terrified all at the same time." There are so many new "toys" for the brewers to explore - namely two flavor infusers that BJ is just itching to use. He describes them as,"pressurized 'rockets' that we will use to extract the most out of the ingredients. One on the hot-side and one in the cellar for cold extractions post-fermentation." It's this type of technology mixed with creativity that awaits us once the brewpub officially opens. We can't wait!
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