Greetings from Your Director of Brewery Operations. I'm sure many of you wonder what I actually do around here. Me too. It's kind of strange being a Director. I mean I don't yell "Cut." I don't "frame scenes" in the air with my hands and I most certainly don't hide behind the lens in a Directors Chair. Nope, what I do matters around here. I show up each and every day (except Sundays, that's family day) and I support the brand. What this means exactly know one knows. Like today, I am being asked to support the Lost Abbey brand of information communication by writing this piece. Tomorrow, I will show my support as Mike and Ryan stuff body bag after body bag of Fresh Hops in the dry hopping tank. On Thursday, I'll make some beer (it still won't be enough brewing for me) and on Friday, I'll settle into the bar and rehash the week with each of you. Being a Director is still very weird to me. It's like having Business Attention Deficit Disorder. I always have things to do but seemingly never get any of them done. But at the end of each and every day, there is always beer. So I guess, I should get used to life as a Director as long as there's all this beer around, it can't be that bad. Can it?
New Faces at The Lost Abbey
One of the reasons we can now restrict Tomme's activities to his actual job of "directing" operations (as well as company figurehead and sex symbol) here at Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey, is we've got a couple of new folks handling our brewing operation. They actually joined us back at the beginning of the year, but we've all been so busy that we haven't had time to introduce them properly. So we're making ammends now. Allow us to introduce our new faces:
Mike Rodriguez, Head Brewer
Mike hails from Kansas City, MO where, prior to joining us, he was a brewer and cellarman for the famed Boulevard Brewing for the past six years. Before that he was head brewer at The Power Plant restaurant and brewery in Parkville, MO. Mike's wealth of skills and experience from his time at Boulevard is the driving factor behind our ability to scale production upward to meet the growing demand for our beers nationwide. When he's not running the brewhouse, Mike loves to play rugby and, in true Kansas City native style, BBQ just about anything that fits on a grill. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of the lines from just about every romantic comedy and action-adventure movie made in America since 1975. If you ever have a chance to drop by the brewery or see him at an appearance, buy him a beer and ask him to act out all the characters in Die Hard.
Gordon Gerski, Brewer & Bottling Line Wrangler
Like Mike, Gordon, or "Gordie" as everyone calls him, comes to us from Boulevard Brewing and The Power Plant before that. One of Gordie's jobs while at Boulevard was to run and maintain their bottling line, a skill that's come in handy here at the Abbey since our shiny new bottling line is of the same make (albiet much smaller than Boulevard's). As anyone who's ever run a bottling line can tell you, keeping one of those Rube Goldbergian contraptions running smoothly is no simple feat, so his knowledge of which dials to turn and knobs to fiddle with (or which panel to kick) are invaluable to us. Outside of the brewery Gordie's an avid cyclist who enjoys climbing and decending our local mountains on a bike with ridiculously thin tires. He's also got a very large husky named Molly who can bark her ABCs.
Beyond just new faces, we've also been growing our brewery like gangbusters. Earlier this year we acquired two new fermenters, Heaven and Hell, named for what had to be moved to get them into the brewhouse (See the photo album here). The aforementioned bottling line is now up and running (most of the time) which has increased our bottling capacity from a couple hundred cases a week to well over 1,000. We also acquired several hundred more oak barrels, pushing our total to over 500, and signed a keg contract that'll allow us to significantly increase our draft accounts across the country (read: more fresh beer for you). As you might guess, all of the new stuff has significantly increased our storage requirements, so we also added 10,000 square feet of warehouse space to handle our rapidly growing distribution. And in the coming months you'll be seeing even more changes. This fall we'll also be adding cold storage to our warehouse allowing us to move shipment-ready kegs out of the brewery, tear down the exiting coldbox, and build a brand new tasting bar complete with a fancy refrigeration unit to keep some of the rare stuff chilled and ready for tasting. So when you visit the brewery, you'll not only be able to sample our regular fare, but you'll also be able to experience some of our epic beers from the reserve (2006 Cuvee de Tomme anyone?). Finally, just this past week, we added a new feature to our tasting hours -- food in the form of Marty and his amazing hot dog cart. Marty's the real deal, and his authentic New York hot dogs, brats, cheesesteak sandwiches and other streetside eats are simply amazing (inexpensive too). So the next time you're down to the brewery for a tasting, or a new beer release, make sure to grab a dog or two -- you'll be glad you did!
Third Annual Barrel Tasting Night
Here's an event you won't want to miss -- Each year a limited number of guests are invited to join the Port Brewing family as we delve into the barrel archives to sample a few of the specialties waiting within. Barrel Tasting Night is limited to 125 lucky people who will be the first to taste craft releases aged as long as two years by brewmaster Tomme Arthur and crew. This year is our third annual Barrel Tasting Night which will be held on Saturday, November 7 to coincide with the kickoff of San Diego Beer Week. The event is from 7pm to 10pm and includes a number of increadibly rare beers coupled with hors d’ oeuvres and fine foods prepared by The Lost Abbey chef in residence, Vince Marsaglia. Tickets to the event are $80 each, $150 for a couple, and are guaranteed to sell out quickly. If you're going to be in town that week, this is definitely a "can't miss" event. You'll find all the information on our website here. Tickets are available online here.
Beer Releases For Fall 2009
Here's what on tap for release over the next few months (please note that all dates are estimates). If you're in an area in which we distribute (click here for a map), you should see these start to hit your favorite tap rooms and store shelves in 7 to 14 days after release.
- Sept. 1 -- Panzer Pils, Imperial Pilsner
- Sept. 18 -- High Tide, Fresh Hopped IPA
- Oct. 19 -- Santa's Little Helper, Russian Imperial Stout
- Nov. 2 -- Gift of the Magi, Holiday Golden Ale
Here’s a list of upcoming events for the next few weeks. You can always find a full list of events, appearances and releases on our website.
- Sept. 24 - 26 -- Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO
- Oct. 9 -- Beer for Boobs fundraiser, Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey
- Oct. 10 -- Sinners & Saints Party, Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey
- Oct. 29 -- Port Brewing Dinner, The Crossings at Carlsbad
- Oct. 30 -- Boos and Brews Night, Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey
- Nov. 7 -- Third Annual Barrel Tasting Night, Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey