Summer action has been in full swing since the end of June here in McCall at our brewery and pub. The hot days on the lakes, rivers and trails have fostered loads of thirsty and hungry people, and as always, we our pleased to oblige!
The Matt’s have brewed more beer in the last six months, then in the entire year of 2011! July saw a brewery record of 11 brew sessions in the month, with 40 bbls of beer flowing from our taps and filling our kegs! What is happening here? Well, a few things. Salmon River Brewery is halfway through our fourth summer of operation. Word of mouth is bringing more people to our pub, Co-owner and music booking manager Jennifer Hurlbutt’s hard work at anchoring SRB as a local and regional stop for live music is really starting to take effect, thirsty pub goer’s continue seeking out local options for their craft beer, artisan wine and food, and a recent mini expansion of equipment in the brewery has allowed the Matt’s to RAMP IT UP, increasing among many things, our outside distribution footprint in McCall and Boise!
What new equipment you ask? Well, to start SRB purchased a used (<100,000 mile) 20 ft. International refrigerated box truck. This rig allows for efficient (see lift-gate) beer delivery’s to our growing draft accounts, it can be utilized as a mobile beer show wagon, capable of chilling beer off-site, it is an excellent billboard to showcase our logo (Thanks Rocky Mountain Signs of McCall!), and it allows for increased onsite keg storage if needed. SRB also acquired 150 refurbished kegs from Franke kegs, complete with our logo tagged on the sides. On kegs, these vessels opened a bottle neck that the brewery has experienced for the last 8 months. Kegs are mini beer tanks, they give us an oxygen free, UV light protected, sanitary environment to move beer that is conditioned. For brewery’s with beer in demand, bottle necks consistently pop up, but the temporary reprieve SRB has experienced has been like carefully opening the weir of beer! In conjunction with kegs, SRB has also purchased a semi-automated two-head keg washer from Premier Stainless of California. This is the most modern/technical piece of equipment in our brewery and pub, our block , and maybe further!! It is worth the hype, as this unit will allow for mult-tasking while the machine cleans, sanitizes and purges oxygen with carbon dioxide. The brewery has also invested in new tap handles, “tin tacker” embossed wall hangings for our draft accounts, and half a UPS truck of logo T-shirts, zippy hoodies, and hats. Just ordered, is a new 15bbl conical uni-tank and glycol chiller, on track to be in service by winter. That last sentence is a big one for us. Fermenters and Brite tanks are another classic bottleneck in brewery’s. It is only one tank, but it will allow the Matt’s to double batch brew into it. Brewing once and filling a tank is the most efficient, but our current boiling kettle and mash-tun are just under 10 bbls, so a 15bbl tank needs 2 brew sessions to fill. Though brewing once is best, brewing twice in one 24 hour period is still efficient enough to justify double batching, and it will help us keep up with our fastest moving beers in our pub and draft accounts. This last paragraph is an exciting one for the brewery, something SRB has been working towards for over 4 years!!
This summer has been a great one in the pub. SRB recently hired Eric Brown as Pub Manager, and his cool and collected demeanor, belief in SRB’s vision, and passion for the pub and grill has shown. With Eric in place SRB expanded the pub menu, bringing in Baja Fish Tacos, a Cobb Salad, and a Western Burger. The summer staff has been working their tails off, doing their very best to take care of customers. Our live music line-up has been outstanding, including local Idaho (and beyond) favorites Jeff Crosby and the Refugee’s, Jonathan Warren and the Billy Goats, Innocent Man, and FinnRiggin’s (to name a few) . Regional favorites Buster Blue returned. Claude Bourban, all the way from the United Kingdom, put on a absolutely wonderful guitar clinic, and youtube phenoms, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers stopped by for an off the charts show, where over 350 people attended.
SRB was pleased to increase our beer show action this summer. We poured beers at the 18th annual Mountain Brewers Fest in Idaho falls, at Kelly’s Whitewater park for a leg of the freestyle kayak nationals, Ride Idaho and their opening ceremony and dance party, at Charlie’s Garden artists benefit on the lake, and sampled beer at the Lift bar and Grill in Boise, to a packed house! Our beers were flowing at the 4th annual Idaho-Down at Brundage Mountain, at the Magic Valley Beer Fest, and we will have a significant presence at the Barley Brothers Travelling Beer show in Meridian Aug. 31st thru Sept.1, including Mom’s Ginger Plum and Grapefruit Gold at the signature V.I.P. beer dinner the first Friday of the event.
Plenty of summer is left, so stay tuned for new seasonal beers on taps, new draft accounts in McCall and Boise, more live music and great nights at SRB! CHEERS!!
Buster Blue warms up the crowd in SRB’s backyard beer garden.
Matt G. and Matt and Jennifer Hurlbutt whoop it up at the Mountain Brewers Fest.
SRB’s new beer truck delivering beer to Bier Thirty Bottle and Bistro in Bown Crossing (Boise, Id.)