Alexandria Brewing Company

Brewed in Cincinnati tradition. Proudly made in Kentucky.

 

 

We are going wood crazy

If you follow us on social media, you are not surprised by the title of this blog.  It seems we are posting images of our woodwork daily.  We are sanding old barn wood to repurpose for our bar face and décor.  We also found an old beat up oak table that will become the top of a barrel table.  Another interesting piece you will find is an eight-person high top table that was made of an old freezer door.  It was removed from a convent back in the 1970’s and served as the bar in my parents’ basement for most of my life.  With all of this, I have left out what most would consider the most interesting piece, the bar.

This is the story of this tree as I understand it.  The wood is from a whole Makore tree (tieghemella africana).  It was brought to the United Stated in 1977 and sat at Midwest Woodworking Company until they went out of business in 2014 or 2015 (I get conflicting information).  As when businesses close, there was a liquidation auction and the gentleman we bought our pieces from bought the whole tree at auction.  He has tried to sell it as the whole tree ever since.  Luckily, he reached out to us asking if we were interested.  We were able to negotiate a price for three slabs and now we have a beautiful bar top.

Why do I bring this up?  This species of tree is an “at risk” species from Africa.  I originally wanted a solid slab for our bar top, but the cards were not lining up.  The pieces we found around the Greater Cincinnati area were not stored properly and/or in bad shape.  We found some amazing wood just north of Columbus that was cut into dimensional lumber.  It would have looked great with craftmanship, glue, and finish.  We were set on that until we were contacted by the Makore owner.  We are not for deforesting of any rainforest or harvesting any “at risk” species of tree.  However, this tree is going to start rotting away if it is not used soon.  The gentleman we purchased our pieces from is storing it fairly well, but there are some signs of weather damage.  My thought was it is better to use something this beautiful than have it go to waste.  We are not sure if this was logged or if it was harvested as fallen timber.  There are signs that do point to it being close to the end of its life such as beetle bore holes in the outer layer.  Unfortunately, that is a question we will not get the answer to.  If you happen to be looking for some solid slabs of wood, reach out to us through the contact tab and we will gladly put you in touch with our source.  Again, I do not want to see this tree go to waste.

So, that brings me to the whole point of this blog.  While the education piece is interesting, it is not what I am writing about today.  There is a small internal debate about putting a stain on the Makore or just put the bar top glaze on it.  We will put a poll out on our Twitter feed in the next few days asking your opinion, stain or no stain.  In the meantime, we may test some stains out on a few of our smaller, scrap pieces and post these pictures Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to give you an idea of what the differences can be.  As for now, here are some of the pictures of today’s sanding adventure. 

 

Rocking In The Free World

As always, I feel like I do not do this enough.  First and foremost, we want to thank everyone who was able to make it out to our open house.  The turn out was much higher than we expected.  It is nice to know that so many people wanted to see what we are up to inside the old Skip N Flip.  If you were one of the people that stopped in, we have made some serious improvements since your visit.  Last week we put our walk-in cooler up, clearing away most of the stuff that was taking up the floor space in the back.  We have also finished painting, put new doors on the restrooms, hung our permanent sign, and, as of yesterday, started the concrete polishing and epoxy coat of back overflow and production areas.

Our Sign

 

Yesterday we were able to break away from the construction and head down to Bardstown, KY to visit our new friends at Willett Distilling.   Willett was kind enough to give us a barrel.  The Kentucky Guild of Brewers is hosting its annual Craft Bash in Louisville, KY this coming June.  The plan for these barrels is for the members of the K.G.B. to brew a beer and age it in the Willett barrel, and bring one sixtel of it for the barrel aged tent at the Craft Bash.  Plus we will all have another sixtel at Hopcat in Lexington for a tap takeover a week later.  While we aren’t allowed to fill this barrel until we are licensed, we are focused on keeping it wet and ready to go.  Our first thought with this barrel is to put our Brothers in Arms Russian imperial stout in it, but we have pledged to donate the proceeds of this beer to veteran-based charities.  By having to distribute a portion of this batch, we will be unable to do so.  Our next thought is to make the same beer and call it something else, but in all honesty, I feel like that is not proper branding.  My decision is that this version will just be labeled “Brothers In Arms – Willett.”  Since we will have some sales in our taproom of it after the Craft Bash, we will dedicate $1 of every glass poured to Deep Sea Valkyries.  Deep Sea Valkyries is a veteran-based, veteran ran charity that focuses on healing the unseen wounds of war.  They take veterans on several marine based recreational activities while also working in group counseling sessions.  We do hope to have an Elmer T. Lee and a Knob Creek 15 Year of Brothers In Arms ready for opening.  We will keep them separate for comparison and blend the two as well.  With these three at opening, 100% of the proceeds will go to Deep Sea Valkyries and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Along these lines, we are partnering with a couple other charities and plan to have a charity beer on draft at all times.  With these beers, we plan on $1 of every glass poured going to that charity.   One of the first charities will be the Center for Courageous Kids in Scottsville, KY.  I was fortunate enough to visit their facilities in September.  It is a great place for kids with some serious conditions to get away from their routine and have some fun with kids, get outdoors, go bowling, and do things they never thought they would be able to do.  I know that their pinball machine was down.  So, at least part of what I would like to do is get together with our friends from Walton’s Games and get it fixed.  With the remaining amount, we can sponsor a few kids to attend the camp.  We have a few other charities and we will be sharing more information about them as we get closer to their brew dates.  In the meantime, check out, the Center for Courageous Kids’ website.

On a different note, we have found someone to run the restaurant portion of the brewery.  Four Mile Pig will be our restaurant tenant.  If you are from out here, you know their food is amazing.  Robert Viox and his team make some killer BBQ and we can’t wait to see what he is able to whip up for Alexandria Brewing Company.

We are getting closer and closer to the opening date!  We look forward to seeing you all inside our taproom in early March.  Cheers!