Originally Posted by Beernip
Did you end up going?? That place is about 30 minutes from me so interested in hearing your opinions.
Yes, we went and had fun.
The bartenders were exceptionally friendly and cool to talk with etc.
Later in the evening I introduced myself to the owner (Ted) and I have to say he is one of the most down-to-earth and easy-going guys you'll ever meet. The next thing I know my girlfriend and I are in getting a tour of the brewery (which is nothing fancy at all and very small, but it made me smile because it's proof that it's about the beer not the equipment).
His sparge arm was made from a sprinkler head and turned upside down. The kind of brass tube sprinkler head that is about 8 inches long, bent at the tips, has numerous holes along it's length and spins.
Unless I'm heard him wrong, Ted told me that his only ferments for about 4 days (in a big, rectangular, stainless steel fermenter) and then he crash cools it and racks it into these cool firkins made of plastic. When I guessed that it probably conditioned in those for about 3 or 4 weeks, he stated that he only has it in those for about 1 week before they are ready to serve! How can this be?
He told me that he used Dry Nottingham for every single one of his many beers on tap. He uses a "sparkler" or "beer engine" as I've heard it called. Maybe those are two different things, but either way it's fun to watch the bartenders "pull" on the levers three or four times to fill your "true pint" that is marked with a line at the 1/2 pint and full pint levels.
Ted likes that his beer can be tasted at the warmer cellar temps. that he serves it at and that due to the low alcohol volume, they are true session beers. He taught me to take a mouthful with each swig, just like the British.
I'm a little afraid that most folks may be turned off by the temp. of the beer (much warmer than what we are used to). It keeps it's head to the end, but is much less "fizzy" than our craft beers in America. It's very very smooth, but a little flatter than what we are used to.
The food was excellent. A lot of British type stuff. I had Mashers and Brauts (mashed potatoes with sausage gravy and sliced Bratwurst). My girlfriend had an excellent chicken sandwich.
Overall, I would say that due to the lack of a t.v. (that's a good thing) and no music, it made me feel like I was at a great party at someone's house. Everyone was having great conversation and laughing etc. It didn't matter if you knew someone or not, you would just end up "shootin' the ****" with someone nearby. A very casual environment. A bartendar told me that when it's slower they will crank on some tunes and at times they will pop a DVD Movie in and the few that are there will drink and watch a movie. Pretty cool.
I hope he succeeds in this VERY small community because he is one hell of a nice guy. He has a blog if you want to check it out. Just google Brewers Union Local 180 Blog or follow the link from their website.
If you live in the area, please stop by, have a pint or two and help Ted succeed. I know I will drive up there whenever possible.