I always thought that I would be writing a substantial check for a house or a decent car before a commercial property, but just last Wednesday Transient Artisan Ales purchased the building that will become our first brewery and taproom! We have been building toward this day for almost 2 years, and are incredibly excited/afraid for what is to come. We thought a blog would help document this momentous occasion, and provide a suitable forum for everyone to follow along while sharing in our joy, frustration, and expletive laden rants.
The Space! (Where/What/Why)
Where: Bridgman, Michigan
What: 4600 sq. ft. of blank canvas ready to hold hundreds of funk filled oak barrels, with a large area behind for a future beer garden/cherry orchard/second building.
Why: Aside from its distance from home (Chicago), Bridgman is the ideal location for our intentions, with plenty of room to grow. We will use this space as a base for our spontaneous fermentations and farmhouse ales. For those of you unfamiliar with Belgian Lambics, please read on below for explanation.
Though the space is a fairly open metal building, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to be done. We have carpet to remove, a drop ceiling to take out, concrete to grind and finish, drains to cut, water/gas to run around the building, electrical work, walls to knock out and overhead doors to put in, and that doesn’t even get us to laying out the taproom space or brewhouse… We closed on the property, and within the hour had a pile of drop ceiling remnants already started. After that, we decided to take on the carpet. Whoever put this stuff down apparently thought it should be there forever… Buckley and I did not agree.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who helped get us to this point. If you are reading this, you are most likely in that group. On top of all our great supporters, we would be foolish to overlook the help that One Trick Pony has provided by letting us start our business out of their location and providing guidance in that start-up phase. Although we have since moved production to Aquanaut, without them, we would not be doing any of this. Thank you all very much, and continue to follow our maybe-almost-sometimes weekly updates.
*Lambics are made in Belgium, where brewers send wort (unfermented beer) to chill naturally in a large, shallow, open vessel (Koelship) during the cooler months of the year. While these beers can be made anywhere, they are a direct representation of the environment in which they are created. The same beer made in two different locations should have completely different character due to the wild yeast and bacteria present in the air. Yeast being happiest and most active near sources of sugar, proximity to fruit orchards has a distinct benefit. We will be following in their tradition, producing a product under the same specifications, but out of respect to our Belgian brewing mentors, we will not be calling our product Lambic. Like Champagne, Lambic is a regional term. Maybe someday the Midwest will have it’s own term for their take on the style… I’ll let you know what I come up with.