The brewery is abuzz with beers being readied for completion. A new release this week and another next, and next, and next. “Ned” Flanders is pacing, wanting to be free for all to enjoy. A new delivery van has joined the ranks of the working at Alpine Beer Company. All the stories you’ve heard about the County’s “Health Department” are true.
Today, Friday, February 12th, “Bad Boy,” our other Double IPA, is available for growler fills. This beer will be competing in the prestigious “World Beer Cup” held this year in Chicago. We don’t bottle this bad boy so growler fills and draught at your favorite “good” craft beer bar are the only way to enjoy the aroma of this 9.25% abv bruiser. Bring your clean growler and we’ll stuff it with as much as it will hold, yum.
We’re working on label art for our latest attempt at a Belgian inspired taste treat. “Ned” a Belgian-style Flanders. These beers are usually amber to dark red and ours is on the dark end. If you like tart, sour malty goodness, then this beer should rock your world. We’ve had to do special blending and carbonation adjusting but we are very pleased with the outcome. We’ll be bottling in 22oz bottles and have the mock-up and label approval to go before you, the thirsty world, get to take a bottle or two home. We should be able to release some for growler fills before then. But, as you’ll see, we may not have tap space to pour any until some beers sell out.
Next week, O’Brien’s IPA will be back. We’re entering this one too. O’Brien’s IPA is a 6.2% abv single IPA that has some malt backbone. Sessionable and more balanced than any of our other IPAs. Growler fills only, no bottles.
The week after next, “Exponential Hoppiness” will be available for growler fills and we’ll even have 22 oz. bottles of this delicious 11.25% abv Triple IPA. Pace yourself and we’ll have time to try all of these special release beers.
We bought a delivery van. We can now deliver kegs and bottles and not have to steal my truck, yahoo. Custom alterations are underway with a new rollup door and a liftgate. Saving our backs for better brewing.
The following is an explanation of why our pub isn’t open. It’s another one of those Health Department horror stories so if you want to stop reading now I’ll understand.
So, trying to be a good, law abiding citizen I called the Health Department to get the ball rolling. I was told where to navigate on the web to their application form. The nice young lady warned me about the 14 items on page 2 that must accompany the application. I was told to mark the box “consultation” on the application. Those 14 items included “plans.” Now, we didn’t do any work that required permits or plans so plans had to be created. I e-mailed back indicating we were merely re-opening a functioning restaurant. I was informed their records showed a license withdrawal in 2003, that’s the last time they think there was a restaurant there.
Some background: This was an operating restaurant until very late 2008. There was a Health Department letter in the window. The Health Department shut all the restaurants down when Alpine experienced a water main break that contaminated the water, this one too.
So, when I showed up to deliver the application and plans I was charged for plan checks to the tune of $980 and was not offer a consultation, even though I asked. The plans came back with 35 items that they didn’t like about the plans. Some corrections involved how we drew the plans, some were corrections to the features in the pub and some were unbelievable. The corrections listed a “Technical Assistance” number to call with questions. The biggest question was the one about having to have natural gas instead of propane, something I had never heard of as a fireman. So, I called the number and after a couple of missed calls I finally spoke with the technical expert. I asked where to find the ordinance that required natural gas instead of propane. I was told he “he did not know of any such ordinance.” I had to ask why he thought I was told otherwise. He indicated how the use of propane was dangerous and the plans would require highly detailed engineered plans “because of the danger of explosion from improper installation of propane appliances that happen all the time.” I ignored the obvious ignorance and thanked him for his time. He indicated any further questions about that particular subject would have to be directed toward the supervisor, the one that corrected our plans. But, the next day that same technician called back. Thinking he may be being helpful and had some more information for me on the subject, I called him right back. Then I learned he was just confused with the previous day’s messages and called by mistake. But, he started talking about the need for detailed plans due to the danger of explosions that happen all the time. I could no longer stand the fabrication of facts. I informed the gentleman of my lengthy career as a fireman and my extensive knowledge of flammable and combustible gases. I said”if you don’t know, that’s Ok, but when you start making stuff up you lose all credibility with me.” I then thanked him for his time and wished him a nice day. The next day, a gentleman entered our brewery, and identified himself as a “Health Department Officer,” a first. He indicated he did not know there was a brewery in Alpine. He asked to see our license and asked if he could write down information from our license. I asked him if he needed a pen.
Does it appear they are being helpful or spiteful? Do you believe their record keeping is accurate? Sorry, but I’m totally on guard, and have been. So, at the rate the Health Department has us submitting ridiculous requirements the only answer we hope is accurate to the question “When will the pub open?” We can only hope it’s this year.
That’s enough for now. Remember to wear your seat belts, properly. Don’t talk with your mouth full of beer. Treat others as you want to be treated. Keep a safer following distance. Peace, what a concept.
The Alpine Brew Crew –Pat, Val, Shawn, Steve, Kevin, Natalie and Danielle.