Menu Close

Five Bloggers Walk into a Bar…

By: Steph Ferrari at Bog Iron Brewing

If you know us here at Bog Iron Brewing, you know we appreciate good food. That’s why we reached out to Dan Whalen, author of The Food in My Beard, to introduce him to our beers. We had an instant connection with Dan. On December 3rd, he came into the brewery with four other fantastic people/bloggers and we had ourselves a day.

First and foremost, if you haven’t tried Dan’s recipes yet, we suggest you get on that. His creative twists on comfort food are dazzling. One of our founders Matt tried one of Dan’s mac-n-cheese recipes and it’s now becoming a regular in the Menard household.

We also had the pleasure of sharing the day with Matthew Simko, men’s style expert, blogger and host, his partner Dave Sawyer who was #1 at telling jokes (aside from Brian obviously), Georgina Castellucci, author of A Noted Life and founder of Boston Content Strategy, and Dan’s sister Joanna.

We started the day with a tour of the brewery. Two of our founders, Brian and Matt, led the tour and brought the group down memory lane. We started in the room where it all began and moved on to the larger brewing room where we now do most of our work.

After the tour, we enjoyed some light snacks and…. you guessed it…a lot of beer. The beers were very popular, and we’re pretty sure we tried ALL of them. The Devil’s Footprint was especially an instant hit with the group. And at the end of the day, we decided to pull some beer straight out of the rum and bourbon barrels because we all really needed that after several hours of drinking.

We don’t remember much, naturally. But here are our top five favorite things we do remember from our Bog Iron blogger beer bonanza (say that five times fast). We loved….

  1. When Brian served bowls of THE best chicken wings you’ve ever had. (Even the food experts agreed.)
  2. When we tried two different barrel aged beers separately and then blended them together. This was a great way to show how brewers and cooks work in similar ways.
  3. How one of our regulars took it upon himself to go home, get his bottle of Viskey Sour he had been saving, and bring it back so the group could sample it. That’s true generosity right there.
  4. When Georgina said “Why are you FRANKING him?!” (Inside joke…but necessary).
  5. How the taproom was covered corner to corner in Christmas lights and that there were two dogs at the bar…adding to the true feeling of community that was impossible to miss. Our new friends fit right in.

And now a BIG thank you to our staff for dealing with our thousands of requests for more sample glasses and more and more beer! And another BIG thank you to Dan, Georgina, Matt, Dave, and Joanna for making the trip to Norton to party with us. Come back soon!

 

Got Growlers?

We’ll take them!

Hi All,

fb_v1

Thanks to a very constructive conversation on Twitter, we recently began to appreciate a problem facing MA beer consumers. MA state law mandates that breweries only fill their own growlers. For this reason, folks are collecting huge piles of growlers that can only be used at one particular brewery. Up until that back-and-forth with customers, we didn’t realize the extent of the problem.

This law helps small breweries like ours maintain control over our brand. Please understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with “trying to make money off of growlers”. Bog Iron Brewing makes almost nothing on the bottle. The overwhelming reason we support this law is to protect our ability to manage our own brand and reputation through the use of our own packaging.

If customers don’t want to keep spending a material amount of money on growlers that are just going to be added to a growing pile…and we want to maintain control of our brand and packaging…how do we fix this problem? We don’t know if we have the perfect solution but we have an idea we would like to test for two weeks starting Saturday, November 5th.

From Saturday the 5th through Saturday the 19th, if you visit our brewery during usual tap room hours, with a growler that the law prohibits us from filling, we’ll recycle that growler and replace it with one of ours for only $1- the usual price is $4. The way we look at it, we would rather lose a couple dollars on the actual growler bottles than lose control of our own brand.

We’ll see how it goes for the two-week pilot and decide whether or not this is something we will carry on. See you at the tap room!

Cheers!
Brian, Frank & Matt

Bog Iron Brewing

A Look Back at 2015…

As 2016 opens up we can’t help but take a look back at the year that was. While we accomplished a lot in 2015, we have even bigger plans for the coming year.

First and foremost we increased our footprint in the building we occupy. While we are still a small brewery we’ve grown significantly over the past few years now have a significant portion of the building, which has enabled us to do a lot more and expand some existing and add new ones.

By far, the biggest enhancement is the installation of our new custom built 15BBL 3-vessel brewhouse. This system will allow us to produce 5-times the amount of beer per batch that we currently do and, as we add fermentation capacity, it will allow us to produce many times the amount of beer per year than we currently can. This means that we’ll likely see increased taproom hours, distribution, and general availability of our beer.

We also added a bottling capability to our repertoire. While we are far from packaging large quantities of our beer in bottles or cans, we do now have the capacity to package our beer in a variety of bottle formats and we have plans for that capability.

Our barrel aging program was expanded significantly this year. In addition to the traditional lambic-style beer aging in chardonnay barrels and the Flanders red-style beer aging in Madeira barrels we added a pale braggot aged in Mezcal barrels and a light ale aging in chardonnay barrels on white grape must. While some of these beers won’t see the light of day for a number of years, the fruits of our barrel program were realized this year in the form of Devil’s Footprint, the Mezcal barrel aged braggot. We packaged Devil’s Footprint in 16oz bottles, which makes it our first barrel aged beer and released it for sale in our taproom.

in 2016….

A lot of you have been asking for a format other than growlers for our beer for awhile now and we’ve been listening and working toward that end. 2016 might see some different packaging options for some of our beers. We’re working toward offering a limited supply of some of our more popular beers in 16oz bottles. We’ll stop short of giving a time frame for that, but we are trying to make our beer more available and in various packaging formats to satisfy demand.

We also have plans to further expanding our barrel program. Stepping away from the standard bourbon barrel aged stuff, we’ve been working with Madeira, chardonnay, and Mezcal barrels, as mention previously. Expanding on that, we just brewed a big Baltic porter and stuffed it in Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels to finish fermenting and age a bit. We’re also considering doing a beer aged in Sauternes barrels, and, potentially more Devil’s Footprint (Mezcal barrels are notoriously difficult to source reliably).

2016 promises to be fun filled with a number of exciting things going on throughout the year. Stay tuned…

Devil’s Footprint

Well, the time has finally arrived. After months of dealing with a seemingly never ending stream of roadblocks and red tape, we are finally able to release our Mezcal barrel aged braggot that we’re calling Devil’s Footprint!

For the uninitiated, a braggot is a hybrid of beer and mead. Our version started as a light ale to which we added a large addition of honey. The resulting braggot clocks in at 10.5% ABV and is very pale in color and was aged for several months in Mexican Mezcal barrels, giving it a complex yet very distinct tequila-like flavor with a hint of smokiness and wood. After conditioning, the beer packaged in 16oz capped bottles and will be available for retail sale in our taproom starting today (Wed. 12/16/2015). A very limited amount of Devil’s Footprint was produced and we expect it to sell very swiftly… and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Devil’s Footprint is very lightly carbonated and should be served chilled, but not ice cold.

BIB_DF_Label_Front

Where to Start…

Yeah, we are really horrible at keeping the blog up to date and we sincerely apologize for that.

So what’s been going on at the Bog lately? Well to be honest, lots of stuff! Most importantly our new 15 BBL brewhouse is finally installed! The only thing we are waiting on is getting the gas company to swap the gas meters around. Once that’s done, we can fire that baby up and get to brewing batches over 5 times the size we brew now. It’s starting to look like a “real” brewery back there.
Bog Iron 15 BBL Brewhouse

Along with a new 15 BBL Mash Tun and Brew Kettle and 30 BBL Hot Liquor Tank, we picked up 2 15 BBL Fermenters. Unlike the brewhouse, which was 3 months late and (unbeknownst to us,) coming directly from China rather than Connecticut (as we were led to believe.) The fermenters came out of Oregon and were delivered in under two weeks. The fermenters will be fitted with carbonation stones, so we’ll use them as unitanks. So, the beer will ferment in the tanks. We’ll drop the temperature on them, remove the yeast and carbonate the beer directly in the fermenter. This way we won’t need separate Brite Tanks.

But with only two big fermenters, we’ll be brewing on both the 3 BBL system and the 15 BBL system for the foreseeable future. After we write the final checks on the new brewhouse build out, we’ll see if there’s any money left for additional fermenters. If so, awesome! But we’ll likely need 6 or 8 big fermenters to be able to stop brewing on the 3 BBL system. As we save up profits, we’ll keep buying fermenters until we reach our goal of 10 or 12 big fermenters.

On a different subject, we took delivery of a small semi-automated bottling line. The first order of business for that is to bottle our Devil’s Footprint, a Mezcal Barrel Aged Braggot. This is going into 16 oz bottles, which should be available for sale out of the taproom and selected local liquor stores. The addition of the bottling line will allow us the flexibility of bottling batches, when we think it’s appropriate.

BOG IRON 2015 0.0K ROAD RACE DETAILS!!!

Ok, we have left folks in suspense long enough… and it’s getting to that time where we gotta get going on this. So… here we go:

When: Sunday, June 14, 2015 from Noon until 5:00pm
Where:  Trinity Bar & Restaurant, 184 W. Main St. Norton, Ma

 

What is this all about???

Last year we were looking for a fun event we could host and use the proceeds to donate to charity. We wanted to do a 5K road race but quickly realized that we just didn’t have the hours to handle the administration that came with such an event. We were kind of bummed out about it and thought, “uggg… it would be so much easier to plan if we could just get rid of the whole running part.”

BOOM!!!

The Bog Iron 0.0K Road Race was born.

We get an awesome DJ, Trinity opens up the patios, sets up grills, and does free burgers, dogs, etc etc… (“cookout stuff”). Bog Iron takes over a pile of taps and pours discounted pints. We get everyone “lined up” to start the race… “on your marks… get set…. GO”. And everyone is then expected to run absolutely nowhere. It’s tremendous.

Last year, folks set a blistering pace and the time will be tough to beat! Once we hit the finish line, the winner (ehh…everyone) gets a first place medal.

All proceeds from this year’s race will be going to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation which supports families fighting cancer. http://joeandruzzifoundation.org/the-foundation/ Please check out their story.

So what do you have to do to get in on this? You need to start thinking about who you want to have on your Team (folks can register as a team or individuals). Think of a team name and get everyone’s t-shirt sizes. Then, next Wednesday, April 15th, we’ll post the link to the online Race Registration page where you can sign up.

Folks can register up to six runners at once. “Full Runner Registration” is $40. Registration will include a runner’s t-shirt (we are thinking a bit retro 70’s style this year), an official racing bib, and the winners get medals. The cost (which was very reasonable last year) for the t-shirt, bib, and medals will come out of the registration fee and 100% of the remaining will go directly to charity.

There is a limit of 200 runners this year and we think, given last year’s success, we’ll sell out reasonably quickly. Registration will be open until May 15th and if we don’t sell out completely, we’ll open the event up to “Spectator Tickets” for $20. These tickets will not include the t-shirt, bib, or medal for the winner and the entire $20 will go directly to charity.

I know folks posted pictures a couple weeks ago of last year’s race, but feel free to post some more to this announcement so Zero rookies can get a feel for it.

Registration opens next Wednesday!!!

Cheers!

New Taproom is OPEN!

taproom

Well, the day has finally arrived. The new taproom is finally open and we couldn’t be happier! I guess we could be a little happier if we had a cooler full of beer to serve in it. Due to our current inventory, we’ll stick to the Wednesday night and Saturday hours, for now. We’ll be brewing like mad men and we’ll slowly start adding hours as we build up our beer supply. Ultimately we’re looking to get up to being open 4 or 5 days total.

We’re still filling/refilling bottles and doing free 2 oz. samples, but now we’ll be serving pints and flights (4 – 4 oz. pours) for $5. And if you happen to get hungry you can grab something from our friends and parking lot neighbors, The Dawg House or run across the street and get some wings from Wendell’s and bring them back to the taproom to enjoy.

Making Progress on New Tap Room

Well, we finally got our building permit for the new tap room about 6 weeks ago. Once completed, we’ll increase our tap room space from the existing 50 square feet to almost 500 square feet. There’ll be a nice bar in the new space, a few high top tables, lots of room to hang out and most excitingly, the ability to serve pints. We’re also working out the details with our good friends, The Dawg House to allow folks to order food have it delivered directly to the tap room, where they’ll be able to enjoy it with a flight of samples or a pint of Bog Iron goodness.

So far, we knocked down a bunch of walls, ripped down a bunch of sheetrock and various layers of paneling and got some nice new sheetrock installed and finished, thanks to Mike Donahoe. A fresh coat of paint got put on the new walls today. Next up is the flooring, which should go down shortly. Once that’s done, our good friend and official Bog Iron plumber Geoff O’Leary will be swinging through to install a few sinks and a dishwasher. After that, comes the new bar, a new ceiling, some new lighting and a bunch of other finishing touches. We hope to get everything in place by the end of April and hopefully debut the new taproom first thing in May. Can’t wait!!!

One Down

Phew, December was a crazy month and we’re just now picking our heads up and taking a breath.

First off, Bog Iron Brewing has officially turned 1!  One down and hopefully, many more to go.  While that’s an impressive accomplishment in and of itself, it would not have been possible without the support of all of our incredible fans and customers.  That’s right all of you should bask in the glory of Bog Iron’s first anniversary knowing that you helped, probably more than you know, to create what Bog Iron has become.  It’s our fans and customers that keep us going and have helped us build the brewery over the past year.  I think I speak for Brian and Frank when I say that we owe all of the people who have supported us over the past year a huge “thank you.”  So, thanks.  Kind of anticlimactic.

We also owe a huge thanks and an insurmountable debt of gratitude to our lovely and talented wives, who have spent most of the last year living as widows while we’ve been busy in the brew house making beer.  Courtney, Lisa and Mindy have been great and we couldn’t have possibly ended up here without their love, support, encouragement and understanding.  So, thanks.  Again with the anticlimaticism.  Yeah, that’s right, anticlimaticism.

To celebrate our first anniversary, we took over Trinity Restaurant and Bar in Norton, closed the place down and had a huge party on Friday, January 3rd.  Due to space constraints we couldn’t have as many people as we would have liked and so to make things as fair as possible we sold 200 tickets.  The tickets sold out faster than we ever expected, so if you wanted to go and didn’t get tickets we apologize.  In spite of the foot of snow that was dumped on the area on Thursday night, the party went off great.  The folks at Trinity were excellent, as always, and while there were some hiccups at the very beginning the beer did flow and everyone had a great time.  The bands, Hondo and Punch Drunk Monday, were better than great and they rocked the place until last call a little after 1am.  Whoa.  I think we’ll be doing that again.

Much to the delight of our regulars, our beer lineup is expanding and now includes Slap Happy (a hoppy rye amber), and One Down (our 1st Anniversary beer, a cherry wood smoked robust porter).  Da Honey Stank (a wild yeast fermented pale) will be joining the lineup around the middle of January.  We’ve got a few more beers in the works, so stay tuned.

One last bit of good news is that Bog Iron beer will soon be available at Flynn’s Irish Pub in Mansfield.  We’ll be delivering the first kegs to them shortly and we’ll be on tap there on an occasional basis starting very soon.  If you haven’t been there yet definitely check them out, they are located a 219 North Main St. in Mansfield.  They’ve got 46 craft beers on tap and the food is spot on as well.

That’s all for now.  Cheers!

It’s Been a While…

Sorry we haven’t updated the Bog Blog in a while. We’ve been out straight for the last couple months trying to keep up with the demand of our thirsty fans. We’ve got some things to report, most of it good.

First things first. We finally got our Pouring Permit!!! What’s that mean? Well, free beer of course. We are now legally allowed to give out 2 oz. samples of our beers at the brewery. While we’ll continue to describe our beers and answer any questions you have about them, you no longer have to take our word about what our beers tastes like. You can now find out for yourself.

On the next exciting front, we’re now using our new bigger 3 barrel (BBL) Mash Tun and Boil Kettle and our new 4.25 BBL fermenters. Because of that, we’re essentially going to be able to brew over 2 and a half times the beer we were brewing last week. In a few weeks we should be able to start adding on new accounts. We’ll methodically work our way down the list of local and not so local establishments that have approached us about carrying Bog Iron brews. Our goal all along has been to not disappoint our accounts. We won’t make any promises we can’t keep.

Speaking of upgrades, we’re still working out the details/permitting of the new space next door. Keep your eyes out for some announcements regarding this soon. We’ll likely be asking for help from our friends to get the new space cleaned out and fixed up.

On to the strange/funny/cool portion of this post. You might notice a new name for the beer formally known as Black $team. We’d like introduce our newly renamed beer, “Cease & Desist Black Lager.” We received a polite letter the other day from a law firm representing a certain brewery from San Francisco. This letter was filled with all kinds of lawyer words, like “cease and desist” and “irreparable harm to our trademark,” you know things like that. Don’t get me wrong, as I said, it was polite and non-threatening. There were even some pleases and thank you’s in there as well. Those folks are apparently very serious about their trademark on a certain word, spelled “S”,”T”, “E”, “A”, “M.” We know we’ve really hit the big time, now that lawyers that represent big breweries are taking the time to send us letters.

And finally, some of you might have been lucky enough to try out samples of some test batches that we’re working on. The samples of the Cherry Wood Smoked Strong Porter were well received and we brewed that beer yesterday. This will be available for release to commemorate our 1 year anniversary, coming the beginning of the new year. The samples of the Amber Rye and Hoppy American Wheat also went over well on Saturday. We’ll likely brew the Amber Rye soon, as we’re pretty happy with the latest version. We’ll be tweaking the Wheat a bit more and hope to release that as a summer seasonal.

That’s it for now. Cheers!