The past few days have been of fun research and test batch brewing. Friday evening we enjoyed a night of “researching” several tasty beers, served in tiny glasses, at Winterfest. The event was held at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. All of the breweries and brewpubs of the Minnesota Craft Guild shared their brew to raise money for charity.
We ran into the former president of James Page Brewing, who agreed to take a look at our business plan and promises to tear-it-up real good. I look forward to his professional criticism and advice, so I can hopefully not run into similar pitfalls that he experienced in the start-up of James Page. I’m glad my wife had enough beer in her to forget his wise advice of how to keep a brewery running, “Have a working wife who is willing to keep putting money into it.”
Saturday was a test batch day. An English Northern Brown, which I split in two and pitched a different yeast strain in each half. It was a brewing day of Zen. Everything just went the way it should have and the results turned out better than expected. The plan is to keep the half batch that turns out best clean and funk-up the other half in some experimental manner. I have a few plans of attack, but will wait to see which to choose when the primary fermentation is done and a sample is tasted.
The rest of my time has been spent working on the business plan. Last week I attended a “Starting a Business in Minnesota” class, a free resource to assist business planning sponsored by the Small Business Association (SBA) and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The class was basic, but a great resource for additional contacts for reviewing the business plan. So far this week has been contacting various suppliers to confirm ingredient prices. I was pleasantly surprised with the predicted 2010 hop prices, however my surprise was quickly squelched by the news that English varieties will still be hard to get.