Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cheers to a New Year

Progress - Community - Craft - Commitment

Alright, I'm coming clean.  It's been an embarrassingly long time since the last blog update was posted.  It's fairly evident that the Bravery Crew, myself included, has been very busy this year, but as much as I'd like that to be a valid excuse for not keeping up with the blog, it simply is not.  Bravery Brewing has several resolutions for the coming new year, and maintaining our blog is one of them.

Being so busy, we have made a great deal of progress at Bravery Brewing since the last update:

-Our additional fermenters and brite tank have been online for the better half of the year
-Our barrel program has grown to 20+ barrels and counting
-We had the pleasure of celebrating our One-Year Anniversary with family and friends
-We sponsored and participated in Field of Drafts, Lancaster's first ever beer festival
-We've had the honor of hosting birthdays, retirements, promotions, baby showers, fundraisers, and even a wedding
-And of course, our first round of bottled beer was finally released

Some of you might remember coming into the Tasting Room earlier this year and only seeing 5 or 6 different draft beers available.  Now with our additional fermentation capacity we've been able to keep a steady 12+ draft beers available.  With the new year we will continue to release new and exciting beers as well as return to a few past favorites.  We will also start releasing cask offerings of our different beers throughout the year.  We're particularly excited about plunging into the world of cask ales since many of our current English-Style ales will lend themselves very well to this format.  Brighton ESB, Old Rat, and Smoking Gun, with the possible additions of various fruits, spices, and hops are just the beginning of this story.

If you've been by the Tasting Room during the month of December you've probably noticed the display case filled with Meritorious bottles:

Getting everything sussed out for bottling was definitely a challenge (to put it lightly).  Designing the labels, dealing with the various aspects of Label Approval, piecing together the equipment for our manual bottle filler, and then finally getting the beer itself into the bottle were all unique challenges.  Having cleared all these hurdles, we're very proud of our accomplishment and all that we learned in the process.  In 2014 you can expect to see many more bottle releases of different Bravery Brewing beers, including barrel-aged batches of our more robust offerings.

Looking back to 2011, I recall my intentions for Bravery Brewing being much narrower and more single-tracked than they are now.  When the brewery was first being dreamt up, my one and only goal was to brew the best beer I could possibly brew.  Early in 2011 there were no breweries and no real outlets for craft beer lovers in the Antelope Valley.  It was practically impossible to gauge the demand, support, and strength of the craft beer community in our valley.  Despite having a lack of knowledge for the demand for our future product, we pushed forward with our plans.  When we opened the Tasting Room to the public in 2012 we were absolutely astonished.  I never anticipated the turn-out that we had.  The brewery was completely jam-packed with hundreds of thirsty craft beer enthusiasts, and that's when I realized that our valley was indeed ready for craft beer.

Bravery's opening not only expanded my awareness of the demand for craft beer, but also expanded my goals and vision for the brewery.  While brewing the best beer possible is still of utmost importance to me, the principles of community, collaboration, and support have all come to the forefront of my intentions.  I feel tremendously grateful to be a part of such a supportive and enthusiastic community.  I couldn't begin to count the number of friendships, significant moments, and major life events that I've been involved with through Bravery Brewing.  There are many exciting aspects of running a micro-brewery, but being directly connected to the community is the most rewarding of them all.

Speaking of the growth of the brewery and underestimating demand; it has been very laborious for us to move forward in terms of production volume.  Imagine cycling uphill and the gradient is becoming steeper and steeper.  To ease the physical demand of the climb you go to shift gears, but it's then that you realize you only have the first gear.  I use this metaphor to describe the very small batches of beer that Bravery Brewing produces.  Brewing on a 3 barrel brewhouse (93 gallons) comes with the benefit of being able to fearlessly brew small batches of new and exciting beers, but it also comes with the downfall of having to brew several times in order to keep up with the demand of sought after beers.  This of course poses as a challenge for us, but it also is forcing us to think of unique ways to continue our steady and natural growth.
I suppose Bravery Brewing's New Year's Resolution for 2014 is to further our commitment to all that has made us what we are today.  Our commitment to brewing the best beers we possibly can, our commitment to the community that has embraced us from day one, and our commitment to keep raising the bar for ourselves as we push towards bigger and greater things.  Thank you for taking the time to read this update, I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year and I look forward to moving onward with all of you as a brewer and as a friend.



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