With our second anniversary now behind us, we wanted to take this time to thank everyone so much for their tremendous support since we opened our doors. From our humble beginning on our small 7bbl brewhouse (which we still use), we tried to pump out as much great beer as we could, while trying to get our name out to our local community. At times, we struggled to keep up with inventory, often leaving our accounts and customers wondering where their favourite beer was.
Entering into our third year, it’s going to be very exciting for us and for our community of beer drinkers. We’ve got big plans, which are coming together nicely.
After a long wait and a lot of paperwork, we’ve put the final pen to paper to confirm that Rainhard is expanding. In August we’ll be taking over the unit directly behind ours at 100 Symes Rd., knocking down the wall, and putting in a new 15 BBL brewhouse, along with a handful of 30BBL fermenters!
We’ve been pressed right up against our capacity for a long time – generally we keg on Thursday mornings and ship all those kegs out to licensees in the afternoon, except the few we keep for our taproom – and this summer will be no different. But once we have our new brewhouse up and running in the fall, we’ll be able to take some of the pressure off and bring a few more LCBOs and licensees on board.
THE BARREL PROGRAM
We’ve also been very busy behind the scenes, and anyone who has frequented the Rainhard tap room over the past 4-6 months would have noticed our growing collection of barrels. Red wine barrels, white wine barrels, bourbon barrels… all in effort to grow our barrel program. It’s been festering in our minds for quite some time, and we are really excited for what our future holds with our expanded program. Once we are up and running with the new space and brewhouse, our next priority will be a big one: installing and filling up our two foeders (basically very large 15BBL oak barrels) that are on the way over from Italy! These should be fun, and something that will act as the base for many of our sour beers, while blending with our more experimental small barrels.
We’re currently in the process of developing a house yeast.
If all goes according to plan, our house yeast will be a dual-strain made up of a yeast that throws out a touch more flavor and aroma, and combining it with the power of a neutral new world yeast. We first experimented with our new yeast in our Total Clarity IPA (released for the 2017 Aleyards Spring BBQ), which was actually 100% fermented with the new expressive strain. While it showed promise, it was a touch too yeast-forward, and interfered with our hop profile. We have since followed up by introducing the two strains into a test batch of Kapow (currently on tap at the brewhouse). If the strains get along, we’ll get a little more character and depth in the finished product, and if it complements and enhances the hop profile as planned, we’ll maintain it as our house culture. If not, we’ll go in a different direction to find the specific subtle character we’re looking for, the goal being to be working with our house yeast by the time the new 15 barrel brewhouse goes in.
Here’s to a great 2017 Brew Year!!
Jordan, Derek, Chad, Mat, and Dan