Well, there has been some excitement going on since I last posted. Tony and I drove over to Destin last Friday and spent the day with Brew Master Gary. I called the store on Tuesday and asked if it were alright to pay a visit and the rest is history. Gary has been brewing professionally since 1995 and it turns out he is a long lost friend of Wayne Wambles of Cigar City Brewing. I know Wayne because he was brewing in my hometown at a brew pub named Poplar Head Mule Company. I still have a t-shirt. But Gary hired Wayne at Buckhead Brewing in Tallahassee after the Poplar Head gig.
When we arrived at the store, Gary welcomed us and gave us a super quick tour of the brewery and we got down to business. This particular day, we were making McGuire's Stout. And it is a wonderful stout. As we ripped open bags of grain, we started the brew day with some "That's what she said" jokes. And some were pretty funny.
This was not one of those situations where we sat around and watched what was happening, NO Sir! After we added the right amount of grains, I offered recommendations on changes, then we did what any brewer would do. We drank beer. Tony and I brought over some of our homebrews. So many, we didn't even get to all of them. Gary, if you are reading, we forgot to give you one. I guess we ran out of time. We also sampled lots of McGuire's beers.
After mashing the grain, we sparged it just like any other brew. This is where the grains are rinsed to harvest all the sugars that were converted during the mash. This is the part of the beer that is brewed. As you can see in the picture, the grains look a little dark. That is because of all the dark grains that were used. The darker the grains you use the darker the beer is going to be.
But is wasn't just sit around and watch the water flow all day. There was plenty of labor to be done. This is what happens to all the grains that are left behind. I usually just toss mine in the yard, but McGuire's has different ways to dispose of their waste. Their grain goes to the farm. About noon, a man shows up and takes all of the grain to his farm to feed his horses. That is a great idea! There are several breweries that give their grains to farms, such as Highland Brewing Company. This helps with their disposal footprint and helps out the local farmers.
During the brewing process, Gary gave us instruction of when to add the additions. We added two different hop additions, then added some anti-coagulant stuff to help the beer clear during fermentation. This is what Tony is doing now. This is a little off topic, but do you remember those old 1950's commercials where the man was so happy to be doing anything. I think that man was who Tony was shooting for, even with those Big Ass Pork Chop Sideburns. Great Photo!
Here is a little photo of me playing in the Mash Tun. Actually I am not playing, I was scrubbing the sides with a scrubber. I took the time out of my busy job for a photo. This was really a great day a we both had a fun time brewing with Gary. Tony and I both agree that this was pretty much like homebrewing, but add larger equipment and a couple of pumps. We both also agree that we only saw one side of what Gary does everyday. Besides brewing, you have to think about moving the beer to secondary fermentation, kegging and cleaning of all the equipment that is involved. There is actually tons more that is involved, but we didn't get to see. Maybe we were there on a slow day, it was Friday.
We had a very fun and eventful day. My hat goes off the The Brewer and all that he does. Brewing is full of adventure and creativity that mixes well with culture and diversity. We were told that our stout will be on tap at McGuire's in about 10 days. I say you stop on by and try it out. If it sucks, it's not our fault. We just did what we were told. Just kidding, I bet it will be the best stout ever served at McGuire's. See you there!
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