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We Can Taste It!!

Over the last few weeks, we've wrapped up work in the taproom. We're so close to launching that we can taste it! This most recent weekend, we hosted a couple of friendly groups to help us get our sea legs under us.

Below are Paul, Ken and Andrew goofing around in the taproom entryway this most recent Saturday night.

In the last post, we'd poured the concrete bar countertop and started to clad the bar in the acid-etched hot-rolled steel. We then moved to clad the entry way wall in barnwood.

Our tables arrived from Hilltop Wood Shop and they're absolutely gorgeous. We'll have another post on their construction soon.

Try as we could, we couldn't finish the taproom in time for the HALF Homebrew Club's Q1 Competition. Even so, it was exciting to be able to show off our progress to our friends. Congrats to Josh Evans for taking the Q1 title with an excellent Farmhouse Ale that underwent a decoction during the mash. Josh used to brew professionally and it definitely shows.

Based on our progress, we hadn't planned to sell anything (especially beer), but Jaime bought a Vicious Fishes magnet, which was our first dollar earned. Thanks, Jaime!!

After the crowd left, the next step was to put a coat of food grade epoxy on the bar to seal it. Cris from Metal Supermarkets in Raleigh also came out and drew out in chalk the layout and materials needed for our bar's foot rail. She had recently helped set up Brice's Brewing in nearby Garner and her counsel in what we needed was invaluable.

It's time to get our taps installed. First, we glued the hot rolled steel backsplash to the wall. Then, we had to locate the center of each tap and drill through. I was nervous about making a mistake that would ruin the backsplash and send us back to the drawing board. I drilled a pilot hole for each tap through the backsplash from the rear while in the walk-in cooler. We then eye-balled each to make sure they were centered and then drilled holes back through from the front. After a lot of walking back and forth between the inside of the walk-in cooler and the tap room, all the holes were cut.

With the holes ready for our taps, I broke all the faucets and shanks down and cleaned and sanitized them before assembly.

They look awesome once installed!

With the taps in place, it's time to get the co2 regulators connected. The box that the shanks are drilled through was fabricated for us by the team at Steel Works & Supply. We're neighbors just a few buildings apart and Jeff donated the shadowbox to help us get off the ground. We really appreciate their support.

We first installed the regulators on the cooler's wall.

And then connected them to our co2 supply. Fortunately, we had the benefit of being able to see how the Bond Brothers Beer Co co2 supply had been professionally set up, so doing it ourselves was feasible and saved us thousands of dollars. We can't thank Paul, Whit, Jeremy and Jay enough for all the advice and support they've provided along the way. They're all awesome guys in addition to being acclaimed the best new brewery in the country, according to USA Today.

Next, it was time to install barnwood around the backsplash. We wanted to integrate the taproom's entry and the bar together and the use of barnwood seemed like a good approach.

Halfway there!

About this time, our roll-up garage door arrived from where it was being manufactured in Texas and the guys at our neighbor Passport Doors installed it. We previously wrote about wanting to create a sense of openness between the taproom and brewhouse and the glass panels in the garage door were just the ticket.

I snuck out to the brewery for a few hours on Easter. Here's the barnwood surround all in place and ready for a couple of TVs to be hung.

When the concrete for our patio was poured, George Llanes' team plumbed in for gas to be delivered into a future fire pit. Here it is being built. The vertical blocks are a cool design element that George came up with.

Here's the biergarten staged with fire pit, picnic tables and a few chairs.

Next, Alex installed cables between the posts so we could hang lights. We might even plant hops to grow up the posts and along the cables.

Here's the bar foot rail getting installed. Next time you're in, be sure to ask Alex how much fun it is to hammer drill into concrete.