The brewing process begins with malted barley—we use northwestern 2-row pale malt and specialties from the US, UK, Belgium and Germany. The malt is passed through a mill, which crushes the grain, exposing the inner starchy material while maintaining the integrity of the husk, which will later aid in clarification.
The crushed malt is then combined with hot water and steeped as mash. This process awakens dormant enzymes which convert complex sugars and carbohydrates to fermentable sugars. The resulting sweet liquor, called wort, is drawn off and collected in the kettle.
The sweet wort is boiled with hops, which contribute a balancing bitterness, as well as flavor and aroma. During the boil the wort is sterilized, caramelized and concentrated
The finished wort is whirlpooled either in the kettle or a separate vessel, where the swirling action of transfer and subsequent settling leave behind spent hop material and coagulated proteins.
After cooling, the wort is transferred to a fermentation vessel, where yeast is added to convert the sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide. After a few days (longer for lagers, as they have a slower, cooler and steadier fermentation) the fermenter is capped to retain the last CO2 generated as natural carbonation. Once fermentation is complete, the tank is chilled to allow yeast to settle (it is then re-used in subsequent batches, up to 30 times).
The fermented beer is transferred to a cold-conditioning, or lager, tank for aging and clarification.
Cold conditioning beer is transferred to a finishing tank using a centrifuge which spins the beer at thousands of revolutions per minute to settle out yeast solids and unwanted protein complexes to further clarify the beer. We do not filter our beer for a number of reasons, mostly to keep in as much flavor as possible. As a result, some beers will throw a haze. Nothing to fear, it’s mostly hops!
The finished beer is then bottled, kegged or poured at the bar directly from the tank.