Greetings Swing Tree Fans! It has certainly been too long since our last update, but don’t mistake that as lack of progress. We have been very busy refining our brewery model and tying up loose ends. There is some very exciting news we’d like to share with everyone, and there’s a lot of it; so grab a pint, sit back, and let’s get caught up.
First, Swing Tree’s in the news again. We spotted this great beer blog, thebrewsite.com, which has a post about all the new breweries coming to Oregon in the upcoming months and Swing Tree is in there! Check it out, share it with your friends, and maybe even leave Jon a comment to thank him for spreading the word of all the amazing beer Oregon has to offer. Jon has a great site there, and even has a homebrewing section of his blog as well as tasting notes.
After weeks of contacting equipment manufacturers and getting bids, we have finally found someone we like to make our brewing equipment. Colin Preston with Practical Fusion will be putting together the Swing Tree steel and we are very stoked about it. Colin was building tanks for the brewing industry for many years for a large tank manufacturer in Canby, and has spurred off on his own to start Practical Fusion in Oregon City. We are very excited to be supporting another small business and even more excited that Colin was so open to building the system exactly to our specs. Here is a shot of a similar system he built for a small brewery in the Seattle area.
And for all of the geeks out there, here is a set of the rough drawings of our brew house.
She’s going to pump out nearly 600 bbls for us in our first year and we don’t think we’ll need to upgrade the brew house until we’re around the 1100 to 1200 bbls per year range. Once we button up our funding and get the deposits down on these bad boys there will be lots more pics to come. We’re grinning ear to ear!
On to other great news, we’ve been talking for a while now with a local baker here in Ashland about making the “fermented foods” part of our plan a reality. As mentioned in earlier posts, we have decided to scale back from the full-on restaurant portion of Swing Tree. We do, however, want to provide some great munchies at the taproom. So, we’ve teamed up with Nathan Kelsey, founder and Pastry Chef of Ichigo Cakes, to bake us some amazing focaccia bread pizzas. Just the other night we were working very hard, with a Lonely Trike in hand, sampling different combinations of toppings. It’s tough work folks but somebody has to do it. Much like our beers, the pizzas are still in the development stages and Nathan is making a few tweaks here and there to dial in the final product. I assure you, from the taste of those samples and having devoured many of Nathan’s creations in the past, these pizzas are going to knock your socks off. Check out Ichigo’s Facebook page and give them a like. Tell them we said hi.
Okay, let’s talk about cans. I’m sure that you’ve all noticed that craft brewers are moving toward this package at an enormous rate. Is it a fad; maybe. Is it a trend; I’d say yes. Is it really a better package; I’d say ABSOLUTLY! In my younger days I would hear folks talk about how beer from the bottle just tastes better…really? First off, I’m hoping that we are all on the same page about whether or not one should be drinking beer from its package, whatever package that may be. There is so much flavor a beer has hiding away in its head and aroma that drinking it from the package is just robbing yourself of much of the love the brewer put into that beer for you to enjoy. So, now that we are all drinking our beer out of some sort of glassware, we can focus on how the package really affects the beer before the drinking experience. Has anyone ever tasted a Heineken poured from the typical green bottle vs. one from the little keg shaped can? The canned product is a very tasty German style Pilsner. The green bottle lets light into the bottle which supplies that “skunky” aroma. The can is completely impervious to light. Another area of concern is the package seal. The seal on a bottle cap is made from a plastic type polymer which slowly lets oxygen into the bottle over time. Don’t get me wrong, large advances over the years have been made to keep the devil O2 out of our beers bottles, but the fact remains that the physical seam that seals the can is far better at keeping O2 out. Another great advantage of the can is that they can go camping, hiking, and fishing! Glass is just heavy, nobody wants to pack in a bunch of glass, and worse, pack it back out empty. Okay, one last thing, and I’ll get off the soap box. One 16oz “pounder” sized can of Porch Swing fits perfectly into a “real” 20oz pint glass. Why am I waxing on about cans and how cool they are? Well, you may have guessed, along with our tap handles at your favorite watering hole here in the valley, you’ll be able to find our super tasty flagship, the Porch Swing, in 4-packs and single 16oz cans at your favorite beer store. We are very proud to be working with Justin Brandt at Northwest Canning to begin canning the Porch Swing right away. Justin is going to come down to the brewery with his crew once or twice a month and can up a tank of Porch Swing for your enjoyment. Keep checking in here and at Facebook for photos and updates about the artwork and labeling.
More very exciting news for our Rogue Valley fans is an opportunity for folks to come down, meet the Swing Tree team, and try some of the pilot batches of Lonely Trike and Porch Swing. Our good friends at Apocalypse Brewing are celebrating the upcoming end-of-all-time by throwing a huge party at their brewery. They will be staying open extra late for a Survivors Battalion tasting session where we’ve been invited to pour samples of our pilot batches. I’m not so sure that we here at Swing Tree buy into the whole end-of-the-world thing, but I’ll tell you this: there are not many places I’d rather be when it all hits the fan, than visiting with great friends over some hand-crafted pints of love. The whole thing is still in the planning phases right now, but we will certainly be updating everyone about the event as soon as we nail down the details. You can learn more about Apocalypse’s Survivors Battalion and how to become a member here. Be sure to stop by their Facebook page and like them if you have not already. Support the Lower Rogue Valley Craft Beer Scene and it will support you!
Well that’s it for now. We will continue to post frequent updates and other fun tidbits on our Facebook page, and will keep the blog updated on all the big progress. As always, thank you for all the support and we look forward to sharing a Swing Tree beer with you soon. Cheers!