That’s a weird title, I know… but most of our names are weird, so….
It’s been way too long since our last blog post. It’s something we promise to be better at from now on. That said, we currently have a great reason to do one… so here goes…
We are blessed to have a ton of regulars we now call friends and many of those friends, as you would expect, live in pretty close proximity to the brewery. Since they live close, they can attest to the fact that our great little town’s water supply is, to put it politely, a challenge. Norton water is actually fantastic except for ONE issue. Our iron/manganese levels are off the charts (as is the case with many communities in this part of the state). Iron and Manganese are NOT among the minerals you want for brewing.
Ever since starting the brewery, we have aggressively filtered our water and got those levels down to a much more manageable level. Even with all of the various filtering efforts we went through, it was never possible to get our water 100% dead on perfect and as consistent as we wanted so we continued to try different filtration methods regularly.
Even with us struggling to get our water 100% perfect, we’ve been very proud of our beers. We’ve been able to build a strong reputation and early this year earned an invitation to put our beers on the shelves of the various Craft Beer Cellars around the state. We were elated given the respect we have for that business, its owners, and its reputation. We brewed and bottled one of our standards (Jump Back). We then made one of the dumbest moves we’ve made since opening the brewery. We didn’t taste the beer. That’s “quality control 101” and something we are constantly doing on every beer. We were so excited about the opportunity that we lost our minds, didn’t try it, bottled it, and ran it up to Craft Beer Cellar as fast as we could.
Absolute disaster struck.
The beer was undrinkable. We got a call, thankfully, from the folks at CBC telling us there was a problem and we immediately pulled every bottle from the chain. We were absolutely devastated and, somewhat more urgent, stumped as to what could have possibly gone wrong. Among the three of us, we have been brewing for over 55 years and this was a horrible off-flavor that none of us had encountered or could figure out as to what had caused it.
After losing that batch of beer (and another one), we looked at absolutely everything that touches our beer. Long story slightly shorter, it turns out the town had a contamination scare in one of its wells and as a result, treated the well with massive amounts of chlorine. The amounts were large enough that it overwhelmed our filtration system, and ruined the beer. That was the final straw.
As soon as that problem hit, we began talking to a number of water treatment companies about our options and, as many of our regulars have been hearing about, we have made a very significant investment in a pretty hard-core treatment and filtration system that WILL , without a doubt, eliminate any issues going forward…. COMPLETELY.
After installation of the new system, we’ve sent multiple samples off to different laboratories for analysis and we’re psyched that Iron, Manganese, and Chlorine came back “undetectable” in all reports. We’ve now been brewing with our perfect water for about a month and our first beers are now rolling out of the fermenters. We’ve been cautiously optimistic about the results but… now that we are trying the beers… to say we’re excited is a gross understatement.
We wanted to get a long blog post out to people for two reasons. The first is that we wanted to simply give folks an update that we’re really excited about. All of the beers that have come out of the fermenter so far (Jump Back, Kiss M’self, Burly Blonde, and Stung) are all much cleaner, sharper, and we think… will turn a few heads. The second reason is a sincere thank you. I know it is cliché for businesses to thank their customers but that doesn’t mean it’s not sincere. Our folks are amazing supportive and, stating the obvious… we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our customers.
We’re looking at this “new water” situation as a very real “fresh new start” for us and we feel like we’re going to be serving those supporters even better from now on!
Thank you so much.
Frank, Brian, & Matt.
PS. Sign up for the Zero!!