Many tasks have been involved in our preparation for harvest. We recently bought our packaging materials from Impak, constructed two more oasts, and have been in close contact with the businesses that are helping us with production; namely Monday Creations (Label Design), Signs by Tomorrow (Label Printing). Aside from that, we’ve solicited help with the harvest from friends and craft beer enthusiasts (the two aren’t mutually exclusive) and have tossed around distribution/retail ideas with Tom Blaser of Kitchen Wines and Beer Shop.
Harvesting will take place on three separate Saturdays in August, starting in the middle of the month. With a 5 gallon batch of Buck Ridge Brewery’s flagship Iowa Pale Ale available to drink from, we are set up for a great time! I’m sure that with even a small group, this project will be completed quickly.
A large part of our prep work has been making sure we have enough hop drying capacity. As mentioned above, two new Oasts have been constructed, bringing our total number of oasts to three. The design of the new ones is simple and more cost effective than the one built last year. Shelves with screen bottoms sit on top of one another while a box fan attached to the bottom pulls air through the oast. Heat emitting light bulbs are fitted into the top of the box to apply a gentle heat for the last few hours of the drying process. Airflow travels quickly enough through the box to prevent the temperature from rising to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit with the bulbs on.
The harvest season approaches! Soon all of our hard work will pay off! And if we make back more than what we spent on equipment and materials to get us going, I think it’ll be about time for some home brewing equipment! 🙂