The Home Stretch

It’s been roughly three years since Brandi and I started “seriously” working on the business plan and now we are just over a week away from FINALLY opening…..yeeeeessshhh. What were we thinking?!

If you’ve been following along with us on our journey, or simply asked us in person how things are going, I’m sure you’re aware of some of the issues that arise when you decide to attempt to open a brewery. However, it should be noted that the stories you hear from us have been heavily edited with all the explicits removed to try and keep things in the PG13 category. We like to keep our stories from going into “horror territory”. We find watering things down into a “teen angst/coming of age tale” is definitely more palatable and still offers some degree of optimism for anybody who decides to ask.

That’s not to say it’s been all bad. Just a lot……like…..A LOT. Like, other brewers tell you that “it’s a lot” when you tell them you’re going to start a brewery, but nothing can really prepare you for the real thing. There are so many T’s and I’s to cross and dot that you really do start losing track of them, no matter how organized you are. Same with days of the week. We’ve never relied so heavily on our calendars before. Not just to keep our weeks organized, but just for something to tell us what day it is. So, if you decide to open a brewery be sure to use a calendar. Calendars are good. What else did we learn? Ah yes. Permits!

Nobody likes permits. Permits don’t like permits. Even the people who’s job it is to write and approve permits, don’t like permits because people constantly get mad at them about the permits they just wrote or won’t approve. But, they’re super important if you want to get stuff done. See that photo above this paragraph? That’s all possible due to a demolition permit (yes, you need a permit to break stuff). Brandi, has been so involved in various permits that she’s now been programmed/emotionally scarred to analyze the potential permits needed for various things in everyday life. “Wow cool firework display! I bet that the permits for it sucked though”. So, get to know your permits. Fortunately our contractor took care of most of them, but understanding what’s needed and why is extremely helpful when it comes to trying to open on time.

To avoid too much venting in this post, I should talk about what all of the above has lead to. Having all that in place has made for some great rewards after all. Receiving all of our equipment (and finding out that it all actually fit) was an exhausting, but exciting day. As was getting our liquor manufacturing license, passing all of our inspections, and finally landing our business license. Even pouring beer out of our newly installed draft system brought a huge sigh of relief while also bringing a pretty big smile to our faces. The work to get there was intense and extremely stressful, but after years of work we were finally starting to see it pay off in tangible ways. By far the biggest was finally pressing the button to let everybody know when we were opening.

Finally announcing an opening day was both weird and euphoric. It was scary to press the “post button”, but once we did it was exciting and got a little emotional. We had worked so hard to get to this moment. It was a huge deal and it kind of took us by surprise. We were happy. Then the results of the post started coming in. Now we’re not in anyway “leaders in social media marketing”, but we like to think have made a little bit of an effort considering we haven’t even opened yet. Still, holy crap! Compared to what we had experienced before on social media, our accounts had just exploded. People were liking, sharing, tagging their friends, and those friends were even sharing. Things went nuts…..then the fear started to sink in. We are going to open. Whether we want to or not, it’s happening. And how’s our to-do list doing? Still pretty freaking long! It’s only one million things left compared to ten million things. That’s progress though right? Right?!!

Still, we’re almost there. On September 23rd, 2017 Silver Valley Brewing will open its doors for all to (hopefully) enjoy. It’s been an extremely long and stressful road, but the end is almost here. Soon we’ll begin down a whole new road. It’ll also be full of mistakes and have its own set of highs and lows, but we look forward to it. Thank you all for your ongoing interest and support.

Cheers!

SVB

It’s the most wonderful time…

It’s that special time of year again! The weather gets frightful and, in return, the beers become quite delightful. Winter Warmers, Barleywines, Russian Imperial Stouts…this is the time of year where you start seeing a lot more wax dipped bottles in the liquor stores. So what’s the deal? What do we recommend? Well first let’s get some business updates out of the way.

Demolition


Demolition at the brewery has been underway for a few of weeks now. Cool and pretty exciting, but not without its issues. The thing about the building is that it’s been estimated to have been built some time between the 1930’s and 1940’s. Don’t get us wrong, that’s admittedly pretty cool. The downside seems to be that every single tenant since then has built over top of every previous tenants stuff. That part is not so cool. So far we’ve found secret doors, secret windows, and secret walls built on top of secret walls. Just a lot of extra…stuff. No doorways to Narnia yet, but we’ll keep you posted. Our permit applications have been submitted as well. So hopefully those go through and we can actually begin to build something shortly. Our equipment is also on order and being assembled as we write this.

We’d also be amiss for not giving a shout out to everybody who submitted letters of support to the city for our lounge endorsement! They have received your letters, they have our plans, and now we wait. Hopefully we’ll have a decision in the next month or so. Big thank you again to all those who submitted. The support is fantastic and much appreciated!

More Festivals!


We’re very lucky to have a great deal of support for the brewing community as well! Not only have fellow brewers been super helpful with information on starting a brewery, but they continue to support us in helping promote our product. Maple Meadows, Foamers’ Folly, and Moody Ales continue to allow us to brew under their licenses to make sure we can legally participate in as many local cask festivals as possible. We just recently submitted for the Fall Tri-Cities Cask Festival with the help of Moody Ales, and will also be at the upcoming Winter Pro-Am (so get ur tickets!). Lots of fun and great feedback. We are HUGE fans of these events.

Collaborations


If you’ve been monitoring our social media feeds and it wasn’t already 110% clear, we now have one of our beers on tap at Maple Meadows Brewing. This one is our Dark Necessities Mocha Stout which Carlo was kind enough to help bring into reality using his brew house. It’s comprised of equal parts, American Stout, Coffee, Cocoa Nibs, and Awesome. It turned out fantastic and we couldn’t be happier! So feel free to stop by Maple Meadows for a growler fill and be sure to try plenty of their beers while you’re at it. They make some great beers that you should definitely try.

Cool beans!…..Soooooo winter beers?

Oh yeah! Winter beers. You should definitely drink those! I dunno…if it’s over 8%, and has a waxed top you should probably give it a try.

Cheers!

SVB

What to drink on St. Paddy’s Day

NOT GREEN BEER………..END OF POST!

Green_beer

All kidding aside, if you really want to drink like a full blooded Irishman or woman, then there’s really only a few choices available to you. And, since picking a beer on St. Patrick’s Day is serious business, lets not mess around with any clever jokes or anecdotes and get straight to the goods!

The Irish Stout (aka Dry Irish Stout)

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Any red blooded (or black blooded if they drink enough of it) Irishman/woman will tell you that there’s only one style of beer to drink on this special day and that’s a fresh pint of “the black stuff”. Don’t let the colour fool you though; this is not a heavy style. Weighing in between 4-4.5%, this is a sessionable stout that will let you knock a couple back without knocking you off your seat. The go to for an Irish Stout is usually a Guinness (especially when they’re on special) or Murphy’s also makes a good one. However, there are some amazing local examples from Persephone, Strange Fellows and plenty more that you should definitely check out. This style pairs nicely with fish and chips, pork, or chocolate deserts.

Irish Extra Stout

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The bigger brother of the Irish Stout; this version simply has more of everything. More alcohol, more flavour, more hops. There’s really not much more to it then that. Food pairings would be similar, but since this is a more robust version of the Irish Stout, you may want food with more robust flavours. BBQ pork or Beef would work well, as do rich chocolaty deserts. Dark chocolate would also be quite complimentary.

Irish Red

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If stouts are not your thing, then the next runner up would be a good ol’ Irish Red Ale. Similar to an American Amber, but with a heavier malt character and less hop presence. A traditional Irish Red will usually have a similar amount of alcohol to a Irish Stout (4-4.5%), making it another sessionable beer. The problem with finding one in the Lower Mainland though, is actually FINDING a traditional version of it brewed locally. While there are some great Red Ales out there, most of the local ones you’ll find have a strong West Coast influence….meaning more hops. This makes them more of a Red IPA then an Irish Red. So, if you don’t mind breaking with tradition then check out offerings from Red Racer, Off The Rail Brewing, and Black Kettle. Roxy, from Moody Ales, also makes a great Honey Red Ale that’s offered in small batches on occasion. Otherwise Smithwicks, Kilkeny, or Murphy’s Red will offer the most traditional Irish Red experience. Roasted meats pair very well indeed.

Irish Lager

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So you don’t like Stouts and you just can’t get on board with Irish Red’s, but desperately want to stick with the Irish theme? Well you can always go with an Irish Lager.What sets an Irish Lager apparent from a regular North American Lager? Honestly, we couldn’t really tell you and there’s only one we can really name that uses that style identity and that’s Harp’s Irish Lager. It’s only a little different then North American Lagers so if that’s your comfort zone then this should suit you just fine. Harp is a little tough to find on tap in these parts, but specialty liquor stores usually have it available. Mild foods like fish, chicken, or salads pair well with Lagers.

So that’s it peoples! Have yourselves a fun and safe St. Patrick’s day and, no matter what beer your drinking, try and support your local brewer whenever you can.

Cheers!

SVB

Our First Cask Festival

So yeah, that just happened. After picking up the guys, grabbing a couple of coffees for the road, and getting to the venue early to tap our cask, what proceed could best be described as a car crash. A very cool and fun car crash, but a car crash nonetheless because by the time 5pm rolled around, there was no way we were able to sum up all the things that happened within the past 5 hours. Even after taking the day to recover, my head is still swimming a bit, but I’ll do my best to describe what I can remember.

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First off I got to tap a cask for the first time. Much easier and uneventful then I was lead to believe with all the photos I’ve seen of volunteers getting drenched in beer. Special thanks to our friends over at Moody Ales for letting us partner under their license as well as lending us a cask for the festival! If you’re not sure what makes a cask different from a keg, it’s pretty straight forward. A keg uses CO2 to carbonate and push the beer through the draft lines, while a cask is naturally carbonated and is typically served through a picnic cooler style tap. Just like how bottle conditioned beers have a slightly different taste and mouth feel compared to kegged beers, so do cask conditioned beers. For our beer-which was our Rye-nosaur Porter by the way-things tasted a little creamier and fluffier then what we’re used to. Overall, the beer turned out pretty good. So, far things were off to a good start! Then “SVB shirts” invaded.

  
If you’ve been following our Facebook page, then you’ll know that we started selling T-shirts to help to help kickstart our marketing, as well as ordering some for door prizes at the Cask Festival. We ended up selling way more then we expected and, as it turns out, pretty much everybody we sold a shirt to showed up to show their support and every single one of them were sporting their black SVB shirts. It was pretty overwhelming and felt pretty darn cool. It also added to the mystery surrounding our brewery and where we’ll be opening.

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Here’s a little marketing tip from your pals over at SVB. If you’re participating in your first cask festival, keeping your potential location a secret really gets peoples attention. Once you get identified as one of the owners, you’ll be asked all kinds of “who are you and where do you come from” type questions. It may even prompt a documentarian to approach you, asking for an interview (yes that actually happened). I can’t precisely remember what was said, but it was held early on in the event so I’m thinking things were kept relatively coherent. From a exposure level, things were really kicking into a completely different gear from what we were used to. The crazy part is that we’re still feeling-and probably will for a while-the full affects of our new found level of exposure. Even today, after a Facebook follower suggested we add our brewery to it, we received our very first reviews on Untappd. Yes, people have already reviewed our beer on a beer drinking social network, and we haven’t even applied for our license yet. Cool!cask fest 35

So, even though there were a ton more things that happened, those are pretty much all the highlights. Overall not too shabby peoples! We had a great event with a beer that everybody seemed to enjoy. We’d like to take the time to thank the Tri-Cities Cask Festival for inviting us to attend and running an amazing event, all the volunteers, Moody Ales for partnering and lending us a cask, Nick Nicholson for taking all the awesome photos you see here, and all those crazy SVB t-shirt wearing peoples that came out to show their love and support. We love making beer, but it’s the beer drinking and brewing community that really makes this whole venture worth while. Thank you all so much for inspiring us and helping us inch closer to finally opening. Hope to see you all at the next event!

  
Cheers

SVB

 

 

So….this is kinda weird

If you’ve been following our latest Facebook posts then you’ll know that we’ve been invited to attend our very first cask festival (tickets available here!). This means we’ll get to serve our beer from a cask to the public for the very first time! As you can imagine there are a bunch of feeling running through our entire body.

One is the flattery of being invited in the first place. Especially since we don’t even have a brewery yet! The second is that “aww shucks” feeling you get when you receive overwhelming support from a community you care so much about. So, once again, a very special thanks to Moody Ales for partnering with us so we can legally serve our beer to the public, and the Tricities Cask Festival Association for putting all the pieces of the logistical puzzle together.

Now on to the third feeling. The weirdness that comes with this is actually happening. After posting the event and details on our Facebook page, and deciding to make a blog entry about it, I logged into our WordPress Blog and noticed our views had gone up. This seemed logical since that kind of news would probably warrant more then normal. Then I looked at where they came from. “CAMRA? Why would we be getting referrals from CAMRA?” I asked myself. After following the link I saw this.

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Did you see it? If not take another look. It’s okay I’ll wait………………………………………………… Still don’t see it? Sighhhhhh…fine!

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It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it’s really weird to see your name right next to a well respected brewery. It was a surreal moment that established one important fact for me “holy crap this is actually real and happening!”.

This leads us to the final feeling we’re having right now. Being completely and utterly terrified!…With a touch of excitement. Unfortunately not much is going to help that until our cask is finally tapped and the beer tastes like it should. So if you’re not doing anything on March 6th, please grab a ticket and support your local breweries. We’ll be there and are looking forward to meeting you all!

Cheers

SVB

Happy 2016!

Happy New Year peoples! Sorry again for posts being so few and far between. As mentioned on previous posts, things have gotten a little crazy over the past few months. So what’s going on? Lots! Here’s some updates.

We’ve been doing a fair bit of brewing, but things have been stalled lately since we’ve been working out quite of few kinks with our new brewing system and brewing processes. So, as you can imagine, developing new and perfecting existing recipes has been pretty tough. Unfortunately you probably won’t be seeing any big reveals for new beers until we get that sorted. That’s all part of home brewing though. It’ll get sorted, we just need to be patient.

School! I’ve completed the first course of the Craft Beer and Brewing Essentials program at Simon Fraser University. This course was Introduction to Brewing, which covered everything from the history of beer to modern brewing practices, and even covered some of the biological science that is involved in the brewing process. Overall a very interesting and a worth while program with some fantastic guest lectures from industry heavy weights. That being said, I’d definitely recommend taking a very basic brewing course or do a few home brew batches first as a primer. Some of the science aspects are pretty complex, so if you don’t have a very basic understanding of the brewing process to reference, you may get lost pretty quick. If you live in the Tricities area, there’s a good one at Beyond the Grape in Port Moody. I’ll be starting the next course, Craft Beer Business Fundamentals, next week and will be sure to report back on that one as well.

The brewery! So what the heck is going on with that? Is anything happening? The answer to both of those questions is “something” and “yes, definitely”. Our business plan has been completed, The Silver Valley Brewing Company has been incorporated, and we have funding. Now we’re just trying to find a spot to put it. So far this has been the toughest part of the entire process. Why? Lot’s of reasons. First of all you need to find a building that meets all of your production needs (space, loading bay, floors etc.), then you need to make sure that building is zoned correctly for liquor retail and production. On top of all of that, if you want to upgrade your tasting room to a lounge license, you really need to work closely with the municipality to make sure your in the right spot for it. While a regular tasting room (serves a maximum of 12oz samples per customer) really only needs to meet zoning and municipal bylaws to get approved, lounge license approvals (no maximum sample size) are usually up to the discretion of the local counsel and community. Details like parking, walk-ability, noise, and surrounding businesses are all taken into consideration when applying for a lounge license. So, regardless of how well the space works and is zoned, it’s important to run it past the municipality first to get an idea of whether or not it could get approved for a lounge. There’s still a chance that it may not get approved since there are public hearings involved in the approval process, but it’s always smart to work with the municipality right from the get go to help increase your chances. So far we’ve zeroed in on a basic area. I can’t really share where that is as of yet since there’s still a lot of discussions going on. Even when we have a spot we’ll still have a bunch of subjects to remove before we can announce anything officially. We hope to have something to report in the coming months.

So that’s it for now. Thanks for coming back to visit and sorry again, that it’s been a while. I’ll do my best to post when I can, but just a heads up that, with school starting, it might be a while. Hopefully the next one will be about finally nailing down a location!

Cheers!

SVB

Getting back to the basics

It wasn’t long ago when we were talking about how much we were about to “ramp things up” and all the contests we were about to enter with our “dialed in recipes”. Since then you may have noticed an absence in posts and not as much going on with our Facebook page. There are a few reasons for this, but the long and short of it is “life happened” and as a result much of the forward momentum we had needed to reigned in for a bit while more important things were attended to. Yes there are more important things in our lives then brewing beer. Not many, but they do exist.

So what’s been going on? Well things did ramp up considerably in the brewing department. Last weekend we have over 30 gallons of beer kegged and ready to be bottled/consumed. However, only 10 of that 30 gallons got bottled and or saved for later. What happened to the rest? DUMPED! If you’ve never dumped a batch of beer (which we hope you never have to do, but it’ll probably still happen) it’s one of the more soul crushing things that you can do or witness. It’s not really the monetary loss, but rather the amount of effort that went into all aspects of the brewing process. All of those things go through your head while you witness your frothy, handcrafted creation pour down the drain.

Minutes before everything went wrong. Look how blissfully happy we were!
Minutes before everything went wrong. Look how blissfully happy we were!

It was the crescendo to what has been a string of weird and not so great results from our last bunch of brews. Version 2 of our Black IPA? Some how it managed to taste more like a porter with hardly any hop or dry hop characteristics at all. The new ESB? Not bad, but also missing the dry hop character. Version 3 of our Porter? Sour. Version 2 of our Cream Ale? Also Sour! What the frick is going on here? Did somebody open our fermenters and hock a loogie in them or did we fly too close to the sun? Luckily it appears to be neither of those and more about what we changed.

Luckily with all of those brews we know (because of our relentless note taking) that each one of them involved a new part or a change to our normal brewing routine. Black IPA? Fermentation stalled and we re-pitch the yeast. Also we bagged the dry hops rather then just dumping them in. ESB? It was a 10 gallon batch so we used a different fermenter as well as bagging our dry hops. Porter? Also had to re-pitch, but we took a lot more gravity readings before racking which could lead to a higher chance of infection. We also waited until the yeast was completely done before racking which means there’s not even a small amount of CO2 protecting the beer in the secondary. This increases the chance of infection even more. Given that we carried that habit over to the Cream Ale, we can start painting a picture of what could have happened and how we might be able to prevent it next time around.

Unfortunately “could” and “might” don’t really fill us with enough confidence to go ahead and simply brew the same beers with the same new equipment, using the same new processes. The chances that one of those changes affected the results are still too high for our liking. This means that for our next brew day we’ll be “kicking it old school”. No more fancy shmancy keg turned fermenter for the primary. No more waiting until the final gravity is hit before racking to the secondary. For this brew we will be going back to our more laid back (and slightly impatient) fermentation schedule using our tried and true equipment. Will we still make changes to our brewing setup and process down the road? Absolutely! However, from here on in we’ll be adjusting our brewing process and equipment just like we adjust our recipes. One change at a time.

Cheers!

SVB

Dialing in your recipes

We love experimenting as much as possible. Especially if one of us comes up with a wild and wacky idea. In rare cases we’ve lucked out and nailed the recipe on the first batch, but more often then not we’ve found that the results are generally “good”, but need some tweaking here and there. These tweaks are usually made because it either doesn’t quite meet the vision we had in our head or it just didn’t go over well with others (we are trying to appeal to the masses after all). So here’s some quick pieces of advice that have worked well for us when perfecting our ever evolving line up.

Make one change at a time

This is probably one of the best pieces of advice we’ve received and was given to us by a friend and fellow club member. Whether it’s the combination of grains, hops, yeast, or even the temperatures used, all these factor into the resulting beer. It’s important to remember that there’s a lot of different things that happen on the chemical level when brewing beer. One small tweak to any one of those details could drastically change the overall flavor. Limiting your changes will help you get a better handle on what works and what doesn’t. It may take more time, but the results will be worth it.

Be a scientist

Even if you’re only making one tweak at a time, keep a journal of all of your brew days and approach your brewing scientifically. This is particularly important when a brew doesn’t go as planned and events transpire that may affect your beer. More often then not the results from these mishaps are not ideal, but on occasion they may be beneficial. Best to write it down so that it can be replicated in the future.

Get opinions from others…and not just the nerds

Even the sharpest palettes have short comings and while the more experienced home brewers may be able to pick out more subtleties then most, you may be surprised by the feedback from the casual beer drinker. Even the description of what their tasting can be much more informative since the language they use is often much less technical since they are less familiar with the brewing process. It also helps to gauge the accessibility of your beer, especially if you’re trying to nail down something more sessionable and easy to drink.

Use BJCP guidelines

Just because your beer may not fit into a BJCP category doesn’t mean it’s a bad beer, but if you are trying to dial in a particular style of beer then reading through the guidelines for that style could provide some clues as to what’s missing or needs adjustment. We’ve found the “Vital Statistics” section particularly useful when first designing a recipe. Sometimes the “Ingredients” section will even provide you with a shopping list if you want something more authentic.

Clone recipes are useful

Personally, we’ve never had much interest in cloning or brewing a clone recipe. That being said, if you really like a certain character of a commercial beer, they can provide good insight into achieving similar results. Finding a good clone recipe can also give you a good starting point to put your own spin on a recipe or may provide you with the last piece of the puzzle with a beer you’ve been developing.

 

Hope these help.

 

Cheers!

Kevin

The State of the Union and looking forward to 2015

If you’ve been following our blog posts up until now (THANK YOU!) then you probably already know that we’ve been in the planning phase to open our own brewery for some time now. Other then experimenting with different recipes there’s been a lot of work put into turning this goal into a reality. Logistics, financials, strengths, weaknesses, marketing, legalities, all of these either have been, or are about to be analysed and developed to make sure our future brewery is as successful as possible. As you’ve probably guessed there is a ton of information that needs to be sifted through before we can even start building a business plan. Luckily we’ve had a lot of help. Here’s a look at where we’re at so far and what we have planned for the near future.

The Business Plan

This is probably the longest, tedious, and least exciting part of the process (at least at first). Everything gets analysed and picked apart, statements need to be supported with sources that use something called “facts”, and long term goals are broken down into medium term goals, which are then broken down into short term goals. That’s all on top of figuring out how much cash is needed, who’s going to get it, what they going to use it for, and when the person lending the money can expect to get it all back. Right now we have a good chunk of this process done with a lot of help from some friends in the industry and a lovely, intelligent lady whom I’ll be marrying come September (I asked before she helped with the plan, but if I hadn’t this pretty much sealed the deal).

The good news is that once you get most of the plan done, things do start to get exciting. If you’ve done your research and planned things out properly using these “facts” you start to see the viability of your business fleshed out before you without spending a single dollar. Lucky for us we’re looking to open a business that’s part of a rapidly growing industry. So, needless to say, the outlook so far is pretty good. There’s still plenty to do before we can start shopping our business plan, but the meat of it is close to being done and hopefully we’ll be pitching it to investors later this year.

Education

While this will always be a big part of brewing for us (homebrew or commercial), we try to pursue formal classes whenever possible. Last year we attended classes that brought us all the way back to the very basics of brewing, which did wonders as a refresher while providing us with small bits of new info to stream line our brew day. We also took some classes on off-flavors and hop profiles to sharpen our palettes which were provided by the BC Beer Awards. It’s a good bet that we’ll expand on these smaller education classes this year with offerings from CAMRA Vancouver and our local homebrew clubs. On top of that I will be attending SFU’s new 8 month Craft Brewing Course certificate starting October. It’s not quite as in-depth as other offerings, but will definitely help strengthen our brewing theory as well as providing education on the business side of the brewing industry. Two areas which could really help us in the near future.

Another big change for us this year will be with competitions. Classes and such have been good for helping our brewing processes, but getting feedback from trained judges has worked wonders for perfecting our recipes. Last year our scores averaged between 30-37 points (Very Good). This year our goal is to push that average to the “Excellent” category (38-44 points) and maybe even place. The number of competitions we’ll be entering will also dramatically increase. Last year we entered three, while this year it’ll be more like ten or more. The more competitions we enter, the more feedback we get, which means our beer just keeps getting better.

Marketing and Branding

Up until now our branding and labels have more been about having fun and being creative. It’s always satisfying to have your homebrew mistaken for a commercial beer. However, lately these fun little art projects have turned into full blown market research to see how our branding measures up. Practicality has also moved into the conversation and has forced us to rethink the size and shape of our labels as well as how to to streamline the labeling process. The neck labels look really cool, but after labeling a single case of bottles we’d most likely look at the 20-30 remaining cases and let the explicits fly. In the coming weeks you’ll start seeing the fruits of our labor as we begin revealing new beers.

Our social media efforts have, so far, been paying off. Our efforts have even resulted with us being referred to as the “Silver Valley Guys” by fellow club members. Needless to say it put a big smile on our faces since it meant we were doing something right and had a name that was gaining traction. This year we hope to build on that with our expansion into Twitter and more frequent blog posts. Since there will be a lot more going on this year, there will definitely be a lot more to share. We may also begin offering apparel to those who wish to show their support. Stay tuned for that and many other cool announcements. There will be plenty in the near future.

Brewing and Recipes

Just like our increase in competition entries, 2015 will see us making more beer. A lot more beer! Between our large system and small Brew-In-A-Bag set up we have total of five beers planned already…and that’s just for February. Another brew day is already booked for March as well with more to follow once we get a few of these beers get knocked out. Don’t expect as many weird experimental beers as we’ve done in the past. This year will have a stronger focus on fine tuning recipes that we plan to eventually produce commercially. That doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t mix things up once in a while. After all, 2015 is supposed to be “the year of the sour”. A style we have yet to explore.

So there you have it! Lots of changes and new stuff for 2015. We’re very excited and can’t wait to share it all with you. Many of you reading this are probably already familiar with our Facebook page already, but if you’re more of the Twitter type please follow us @SVbrewing and feel free to ask us questions. We’d love to hear from you!

Cheers!

Kevin

One year later……

It’s pretty crazy to think that we’ve only been brewing for one year. If we hadn’t been recording it on here we’d definitely be asking ourselves “how the heck did that even happen?”. We’re not going to go into too much detail (if you’ve been following our blog you know most of the story already). That being said, here are five lessons that we’ve learned over this past year that we thought we’d share. There’s a lot to brewing, and we’re far from experts, but these should at least help get you on the right path.

1) A stuck mash sucks. Best to avoid it whenever possible.

2) If you’re brewing for the first time, don’t rely on the instructions you get with your first kit or recipe. They tend to assume that you already know what you’re doing. Instead, pick up a good book (pretty much anything by John Palmer is a good starting point) and learn about the process first. It’ll make everything far less hectic. Don’t worry about getting too technical. That’ll come later if you’re interested in taking it that far.

3) It’s okay to start off with extracts and don’t let anybody tell you different. You’ll eventually move to all-grain, but some of those extract recipes are perfectly fine if you’re looking to get your feet wet.

4) However good you think your first brew is now, in a month or two you’ll realize it’s either mediocre or terrible as your tastes develop…….and that’s okay. You can read every book on home brewing ever written, but nothing can replace experience and the sharper palette that comes as a result. Don’t get discouraged. Things are about to get much, much better.

5) Join a home brewing club. Getting feedback from your friends and family is always fun and rewarding, but if you really want constructive feedback it’s best to get it from experienced home brewers. Not only will they be specific about what they like and don’t like, they will also give you great tips on how to improve your recipe and brewing process. There’s other benefits like bulk buys on hops and grain, as well as yeast banks to help you save on your brew supplies.

Honourable mention: Hot Scotchies! Two parts fresh wort and one part scotch. This simple recipe will help keep you warm on chillier brew days.

So that’s it! Stay tuned for our next post and feel free to stop by our facebook page for a recap of our anniversary brew.