Things are starting to heat up for Hawthorne’s first brewery, Los Angeles Ale Works. Perhaps “starting” is a little misleading because it’s really been gradually getting more intense since our building procurement in February. For me, it’s been a serious battle in the time management department. Work life, personal life, beer-social life, and Los Angeles Ale Works — it’s a balancing act where I often feel like a Wiley Coyote who hasn’t yet looked down before making his signature descent. <poof!> Has it been rewarding? Yes! Do I know what I’m doing? No!
Gifts from China
Back to things heating up: yesterday it was quite literally heating up in the back of the Chinese shipping container full of our shiny, new Ss Brew Tech tanks. It was exciting to crawl around unbolting thousand-pound tanks, and this marks another milestone in the LAAW saga. Each bead of sweat was earned and honored. Luckily, I wasn’t doing it alone. Jon Carpenter, of Alchemy & Science, lent his incredibly generous rigging hands to help us offload and place our tanks. This is now the second time Jon has come to LAAW’s rescue. If you’ve been on the LAAW ship since the beginning you may remember 2013 pictures of Carpenter at Ohana helping us stand up and place our shiny new 15BBL practical fusion tank. Thank you Jon Carpenter. You are a beautiful and generous human being.
Additionally, my partners in crime Andrew Fowler and Lloyd Johnson, IV were there to help out. In the end we completely offloaded in a little under 4 hours. The tanks now sit in our warehouse anxiously awaiting a wort deposit. Our brewhouse is slated to be delivered in a few weeks, so I’ll be sure to update when we get it.
This is probably a good time to talk about staffing and the cool people I get to work with. I’ve mentioned my partners Andrew Fowler and Jeff Szafarski before, but I haven’t yet mentioned the new additions to the team, Brian Holter and Lloyd Johnson IV. Both Brian and Lloyd are Pacific Gravity members, Brian being the former president and Lloyd being the current one. I couldn’t be more tickled about the chance to work with these two talented individuals. Holter will be heading up our barrel program, and if you’ve had his beers, you’ll know why this is an awesome announcement. His frequent competition wins, pro-ams, and general industry participation make him a serious boon to LAAW. Holter will also be helping out in the non-barrel beer department and may give me back rubs. Lloyd Johnson IV, the great and powerful, will be manning the brew system with me. Lloyd, also a talented brewer, recently brewed a pro-am batch with Art’s District Brewing, which should be coming out next month. I couldn’t be more excited for these guys joining the team.
Unlike many breweries in the area, we are not avidly searching for a rockstar pro-brewer to join the team. While we all value the skill and knowledge they can bring to the table, it’s a luxury we can’t afford. We may very well grab some consulting hours from some seasoned pros, but I’m confident we can figure things out fine. We’ll be taking advantage of brewing school courses currently available to further our collective knowledge, and in fact, I’m signed up for one in December up at UC Davis. Not that a short class will give me everything I need to know, but it’ll definitely help. Doing what you love should be a non-stop journey — an exploration in self-improvement.
In terms of the general status of the building, we’re running into a few road blocks for our building permits. As soon as we get these details ironed out, we’ll be able to start the real work on the building. Plumbing and concrete slab modification are the most pivotal line items on my short list. I was hoping these would be completed prior to receiving the tanks and brewhouse, but we do what we can do with what we have.
My plan? To write more and produce more frequent updates. I’m not 100 percent positive that this is a realistic goal for the short-term, but I’m going to do my best. Please feel free to reach out, schedule a visit, and ask me questions if you want to know how things are going because radio-silence could very well be a good thing.
Cheers and Follow the LAAW!