Have you ever been driving to a destination and, upon arrival, not remembered a single thing that happened on your way there? There's some psychological term for that, but I feel that's how the first four months of 2012 have gone for me! That's not to say that I haven't been doing anything, of course.( By my count, I've brewed six batches of beer since 2012 started). Two of them I'm excited to tell you guys and gals about, but that'll be further on down this wordy post.
I'm slightly disappointed that not much has been accomplished in the way of furthering GrassLands' professional progress, but I still keep my head up. When you first begin to think about starting a small business (or any business for that matter), there are phases that you go through. First excitement, then brainstorming, then becoming overwhelmed with all the information that's out there, then becoming further overwhelmed by the cost estimates to start said business, then honing your skillz, then doubt, then excitement again and the cycle continues. I doubt I'm much different than any other homebrewer that experienced the nag of entrepreneurship. Making sure you've got the necessary resources to start a business (and the processes/hoops you must go through to obtain said resources) is initimidating to say the least. I certainly shot right out of the gate, but have slowed down (intentionally) just a bit as certain things pan out in life. For the past six months or so, two main themes have dominated my thoughts regarding the launch of GrassLands Brewery: When and Where.
Regarding the "When" theme - which has recrurred constantly - I've obsessed over this for a while. When is it the right time to pull the trigger? When do you begin to cut the cord, figuratively speaking, and jump in with the fundraising/administrative tasks necessary to accomplish this endeavor? How do you balance that with things still up in the air on the homefront? Will the market be too saturated in a few years, if it takes that long to get this idea into a solid form? What if it takes longer? One can imagine why this is a recurring theme in my head.
Then we get to the "Where" theme. This is almost dependent on when the brewery will become more than an idea. "Where" is scary. What if my family and I move? GrassLands is hardly drawing national attention, but will I have to reboot and start a bunch of these processes all over? I live in Tallahassee, FL now and while my family and I totally enjoy and love this area and it's gradually becoming more craft-beer/brewery friendly, I cannot in good conscience say that it'll be my home for good, all things considered. These thoughts then impact the "When" theme, and I get going on my vicious cycle once more. Happy Days! I suppose all I can do is continue to engage my craft, become more efficient and consistent in my brewing processes, and carry on. That's all I can do - aside from volunteering at some regional breweries. :) /endrant
So what's been brewing lately? As I previously noted, with the haziness on the horizon of GrassLands Brewery, I've been keeping busy and working on my craft. Specifically, I've been working very hard on replicating my beers batch to batch. Secale Cereale, in particular, has been one of my more successful replications. I've put a few tweaks on my IPAs and my ciders...just recently brewed an Imperial IPA for an NFBL Summer Club Party inspired by a beer I've never had the pleasure of tasting before: Russian River Brewery's Pliny the Elder. From everything I've read, this sucker sets the standard among Imperial IPAs. Living in Florida, I'm handcuffed by the fact that the truly awesome west coast IPAs just can't make it through the distribution chain to my local beer shops. I'll get a chance soon enough, I suppose. Back to the beer - I'm totally excited about this baby, which boasts a 19.25 lb grain bill for a six gallon batch and 11, count 'em, 11 total ounces of hops (7 in the boil, 4 dryhopped). I can't even tell you how tasty the uncarbonated, undryhopped, yeasty sample was from the fermenter. I'll be entering this into a couple of competitions soon, so we'll see how she turns out. Regardless, I'm excited about what I've dubbed Fiery Plains IIPA.
The next beer I'm truly excited about is my Meyeri Wit. I don't know why I've not crossed into the boundaries of Wit-land before, considering my passion for all things Belgian-style beers. Witbiers, or Belgian wheat beers (Wits), are often attributed as gateway beers for folks that are doomed to become a craft beer enthusiast. Wits are fun in that they can have numerous zesty flavors, tons of taste, and a relatively low ABV, so more than one can be enjoyed in a sitting. Meyeri Wit has rapidly become one of my favorites as it's so easy to make, yet with such a complex final product. It's your standard Belgian Witbier with a few tricks up its sleeve. Some of these tricks are the result of key ingredients, such as zest from Meyers Lemons, crushed Indian coriander, citrus camomile and a dash of ground pepper. Mouth watering yet? Mix that up with some Belgian wheat, yeast, an ounce of crisp hops - and voila! We've got Meyeri Wit! If you can get a chance to get your hands on this over the course of the summer, I'd be totally happy to oblige.
In closing, it definitely has dawned on me that I've not been as consistent in posting as I'd like. That changes now. I'm going to make this a weekly endeavor to update you, my dear readers, about what's going on with GrassLands and the craft beer industry. Again, I'm glad to have you along for the ride! It may be a bit longer than I originally hoped, but we're going to make it as enjoyable as possible!