Archive for March, 2013

Upcycling at Smog City!

We’re recycling everything we can; save the environment, save money, build something with your hands…we like it all. By now you should all know about our preoccupation with all things handcrafted.

Just so you all know, I'm working my butt off too!

A photo to prove I’m working my butt off too!

I’m currently working on my pet project- the taproom. Porter built the brewery and I get to build the taproom…sweet!

Here’s a look at the recycling transformation of our taproom bar. We received a bunch of free bamboo siding from an old wine cellar (Thanks Brett Acker!) and two of the pieces just happened to be the perfect size for a bar top. The seed was planted and the process begun. We have not completed it yet but here’s a peek into the building of our taproom bar.

This is what the bamboo pieces looked like to begin with.

This is what the bamboo pieces looked like to begin with.

On a related note: One of our friends and a Smog City fan, Sandro Chiavaro of Beer Circles, is a skilled carpenter. He offered to make us some taproom furniture and after a short consultation we decided on recycling our bourbon barrels into tables. We gave him the barrels (they had once held the Bourbon Barrel-Aged O.E.in their bellys for 19 months- you may remember the beer from our recent Beer Belly event). Sandro turned one of them into this beautiful work of ART. The only thing that’s not original barrel are the fasteners holding it together…everything else is reclaimed. Well done, Sandro!!

Taproom Table by Sandro

Taproom Table by Sandro Chiavaro

So…since we already had the deep rich brown of the barrel table, we wanted to make the woods used in our taproom consistent. We sanded down the bamboo and restained them using the same walnut stain.

This is what the bamboo looks like as we're applying its new stain.

This is the bamboo as we’re applying its new stain.

You’ll have to come see it in person, photos just aren’t doing either piece justice. Hey! A great excuse to come drink beer in our taproom when it opens!

EK8A0201For the bar’s substructure, we’re using the pallet that our glycol lines came in. It had to be cut down quite a bit but the basic structure is incredibly well-made and sturdy. We have been making great use of the shipping crates and pallets that have come into the brewery during construction. More on that in a future blog. Back to sparks and hand tools…

Burn 'em Brett!

Burn ’em Brett works his magic!

Brett Acker has been converting this huge pallet into the structure that our bar top to sit on! Watch it grow more and more bar-like…

The Back Bar.

The Back Bar.

The bar with one side on, just to check it out

The bar with one side on, just to check it out

It’s missing the varnish, a shelf for glassware, the casters, paint and some nice trim but we’re getting mighty close! This sweet baby and Sandro’s gorgeous tables will be cradling your pints and Belgian glassware very soon. Promise!

Cold StorAge, The Great Migration!

Although it seems like we’ve been “all quiet on the Western Ave front”, we’ve been quietly working towards our first brew day in the new facility. We’re working daily to get everything in place and I dare say, we’re nearing the end…or rather, THE BEGINNING.

Last week, we vacated our warehouse in Santa Ana, breaking down our cold storage and moving all of the kegs to Torrance. The new brewery is a mess now! Stuff everywhere, but it certainly looks like a brewery. That’s cool.

Don't mind the mess, we're getting ready to brew!

Don’t mind the mess; we’re getting ready to brew!

Between standing on ladders and climbing on roofs, I managed to shoot the breakdown of the walk-in.

Thursday

Breaking down the walk-in.

Breaking down the walk-in.

We bartered with a local forklift guy- a growler of beer to pull our condenser off the roof.

We bartered with a local forklift guy- a growler of beer to pull our condenser off the roof.

Super Volunteer, Brett Acker, takes a break on our the walls of our walk-in.

Super Volunteer, Brett Acker, takes 5 on the walls of our walk-in.

This is how we celebrate. Makeshift tables rule.

This is how we celebrate. Makeshift keg tables rule.

The truck arrives. Now our trek to Torrance!

The truck arrives. Now our trek to Torrance!

Breaking everything down and getting it to Torrance took all day. So we decided to tackle the reinstallation Saturday when we would have more volunteers. It turned out even better than we thought. Putting it back together was easy (with a forklift) and our four volunteers helped a lot too!! Thanks Brett Acker, Mike Freeman, and Kip Barnes and John Rockwell of LA Ale Works!

Saturday

We arrived in Torrance this morning to a flood from a broken pipe under Del Amo. This is the second time in less than two months we've had a break like this...luckily the water company fixed it very quickly.

We arrived in Torrance this morning to a flood from a broken pipe under Del Amo. This is the second time in less than two months we’ve had a break like this…luckily the water company fixed it very quickly.

Forklifts make building easy...and fun!

Forklifts make building easy…and fun!

Attaching the roof

Attaching the roof

Putting up the roof with Porter and Brett!

Putting up the roof with Porter and Brett!

Help from Kip Barnes and Mike Freeman (John Rockwell, not pictured). THANK YOU, Guys!

Help from Kip Barnes and Mike Freeman (John Rockwell, not pictured). THANK YOU, Guys!

Our glycol chiller arrived. Porter built a platform on the roof and Purple Crane lifted the condenser and chiller into place.

I think this will be a common occurrence in our brewery. Too sweet!

I think this will be a common occurrence in our brewery. Too sweet!

Dave, our electrician extraordinaire

Dave, our electrician extraordinaire

Compressor for the walk-in. GOING UP!

Compressor for the walk-in. GOING UP!

Glycol Chiller

Glycol Chiller

Now that all of the pieces are in place, we have begun tying them together. The plumbers are plumbing the brewhouse and the mixing stations, our electrician is wiring the glycol and the cold storage, Porter’s finishing up the glycol runs and our other electricians are running electricity to the tanks and finishing up various odds and ends.

This feels like the final stretch. Next comes routing through the city inspectors and we’ll see what nuts and bolts we’ve overlooked. Hopefully, our diligence will lead to a painless passage through to Official Occupancy! We can’t wait to get brewing and have the construction phase behind us. Wish us luck and get ready to visit us at the brewery taproom.

We’re curious, what do you think should be our first brew in the new facility?!

CHEERS!