Final Inspections & Holiday Cheer
Happy Post-Thanksgiving to everyone, and we hope you had a great time with family and friends. As of Friday this past week, we have finished (mostly, still some minor details, but all final inspections passed) with construction and we’re ready (and waiting) to start brewing!
If you have been following our Facebook page you’ve seen some of the final details going into place and our rush to try and finish up on some items. We were trying hard to complete the projects that needed to be done so that we could get final inspections on all of our trades (Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC, and then Fire Safety) so we could then go for a Certificate of Occupancy (CO, or at least even a Temporary CO). Our driving motivation was we really wanted to be a part of Downtown Castle Rock’s 12-Stops of Christmas event they had planned for the 28th of November (yep, last night!). The Merchant’s Association (they are the ones who planned the whole event) had approached us in September about being a part of the event, and of course we said “Sure! Of course we’ll be open by then and we’d love to partake!” Well, little did we know how close of a call that would be – and really we squeaked in.
As you would have seen in our last post, we’d just started receiving equipment and getting things set up and into place. We did finally receive our wandering HLT (Hot Liquor Tank) from Stout. The tank had decided to take the scenic travel route getting here to the brewery. But all is well and it’s now sitting with it’s siblings, heating elements all in place and wired up for our first brew session. Speaking of wandering items, a few days before that massive blizzard that hit the Front Range (on November 16th) we took delivery of our new Taproom furniture order – or at least 3 of the 4 pallets that were supposed to arrive. One of the pallets decided it wanted to go on a longer road trip. From our tracking, we watched it go from Colorado Springs to KC, to St. Louis, then back to Salt Lake City before finally deciding that it was done. So let’s just say that some of the seats and tables you’ll be sitting at may have traveled more than you have in the past year!
We also started getting in some of our other merchandise items like the Men’s and Women’s T-Shirts, and then our glassware for our inaugural CRBC Fat Mug Beer Club memberships! Our first 2 T-shirt designs came out awesomely from eGrandstand and the shirt material is exactly what we wanted. And then there are our Mug Club glasses! So Sexy! Seeing as that we’re a British-style brewery, we really wanted to have something special that really stood out as a traditional British item. All of our normal glassware is the standard Nonic-shaped pints, but we still wanted something more. Then we found the old-school British Dimple Mug! We had to have it! And you want to talk about history, this Mug has been a staple in British pubs going all the way back into the 1940s, and we thought it would be perfect for our Mug Club.
Once we’d cleared out some space and got the brewery area basically setup, it was time to put in our first ingredient order with Country Malt Group so we could have everything we needed to be ready to brew when the Federal Government says ‘Yes’! Ordering could not have been easier for newbs like us and we quickly took delivery of an actual full ton of malt (2200lbs!!) and almost 60lbs of hops. Now, aside from getting some yeast and picking up our cleaning chemicals we’re ready to go.
During all this fun we had contractors finishing up work and getting the last of the items that had been ordered into place. We got all of our sinks and wash basins set and into place, installed the filter media in our water filtration system and called in our inspection for our Final Plumbing! Passed with flying colors! Next on the list: the Mechanical Final and the voodoo art of air balancing a system. With our furnace up and fully functional our HVAC contractor calls in the ‘Air Balance Guy’ to take all the measurements and make adjustments to flow restrictions and such. Very interesting to watch, and some of the equipment used to test these things is exceedingly expensive (or so we were told!). But in the end, our system’s numbers were what the engineers had designed, and we just need to get the final ‘wet-stamped’ paperwork from the ‘Air Balance Guy’ and turn it into to the town. Having done that our HVAC is all done and only waiting on one part for our walk-in cooler to get it up and fully running (kind of a separate item from HVAC, though done by the same team).
Our final Electrical inspection took a bit longer to get to, and not for lack of trying by our contractor. The brewery side was done and we were really only waiting on a few GFI breakers and some supply couplers for our track-lighting system. Not too bad, right? Wrong! The GFI breakers had been ordered some 8 weeks prior, and we still didn’t have them yet. The contractor had to special order them from the manufacturer itself, and of course they had yet to show up. It’s a GFI breaker! Aren’t those in stock on a shelf somewhere? Nope – and it was as frustrating for our contractor as it was for us! And the same thing happened with some parts for our track-lighting system in the taproom. You’d think these normal parts would be available, but there wasn’t a set West of the Mississippi River (and we’re not sure there were any East of it either!). Did they have to be hand-made by chipmunks somewhere off the coast of Greenland? We had no idea, but it seemed like it sometimes for certain parts we’d order from places. With all items finally in hand, we got everything installed and called in the Final Electrical inspection for Wednesday last week (the day before Thanksgiving).
Our Final Fire Safety inspection could not have gone better or been easier to deal with. The Castle Rock Fire Department has been awesome to deal with, and always available to provide some insight on to certain items they wanted us to watch for. The biggest of these was encouraging the new door to be installed (which is really nice to have anyways). As a part of this inspection we also need to provide them with the MSDS sheets for the chemicals we use in brewing and cleaning so that they have an idea of what might be in our facility in the event of an emergency! That process for us was different, but not hard at all. The fact that their system had never had a few of them before in the database was slightly amusing, but we got them all uploaded appropriately and squared away & approved. So Fire was done, Plumbing finished, HVAC all good, and Electrical approved – all before Thanksgiving day (given, a lot later than the plan we had in our heads way back in September when we broke ground; But delays are an everyday reality in construction – and we were not spared on that front.).
Our final Building inspection was scheduled for Friday morning, and we rushed to get some other items installed in anticipation of quickly passing that and prepping for the Downtown Castle Rock event on Saturday.
*’Bump in the Road’*
Wait, we are missing a few items? Shoot! We needed to make-up a quick platform step outside the new door (since we hadn’t yet done the concrete for that – it had been a bit cold). We needed to get some standard display items & stickers for our interior door and such. And we needed to get the Town some drawings for our new door (which wasn’t on the original plans). No problem! We put together a platform on the new door and back filled with rock until we can get concrete. We ran to the locksmith down the street to get the needed signage & stickers – CLOSED! NO!!! (It was the day after Thanksgiving.) Ok, to Home Depot – they don’t carry them. To Lowes – not there either! Can we do something temporary until we can get them on Monday? Yes? We Can? Thank You! And we have a few days to get the plans on the new door – they just need them before giving us a full CO! YAY! We had a TCO!
Again, it was about this time (if you were following us on Facebook) that you would have seen us quickly put up the Event on Saturday and that we would be open with cookies, hot cocoa, and merchandise – but no beer! Talk about squeaking in – at about 3:30pm on Friday we would now officially be able to open our doors briefly for an event we agreed to in September.
As I write this on a Sunday afternoon – we’re still a bit wiped out from working away late into the night all week leading up to a great ‘Open-House’ event last night! Thank you to everyone who made it out last night to chat with us and get a bit of a peek at what we’d been up to for so long! It was great meeting everyone, and we are sorry we didn’t have any beer to share with you guys yet. For those of you who may have been out of town or didn’t have a chance to stop in, please don’t worry. As you can see from our tale, until late Friday we weren’t even sure we’d make it. Once we’re able to fully open our doors and start the flow of beer we’ll be super excited to meet & chat with all of you!
So, that brings me to our current status: We’re waiting on the US Federal Government (specifically the TTB) to finalize our application and issue our Brewer’s License (we have the ones from the State of Colorado). It’s a process that takes time, and we don’t have any real indication as to when we’ll receive it (though we hope it’ll be very soon!). Once we have it in hand we’ll be able to start brewing and our opening date will be a short time away. Until then we still have some minor touch-ups and details to attend to (like finalizing our Bar Top!).
What a whirlwind it’s been so far – and we can’t wait to share our beers with everyone.