unloading new 10bbl fermenters
unloading new 10bbl fermenters
Well a lot has been going on lately and we've not really had even a moment to process very much but we do have some big news. Pyro's Prost, Hop Dogma's jalapeno conditioned pilsner beer, just took a gold medal at the California State Fair. This beer has always done well in competitions but the gold has remained elusive until this year. It's safe to say this one has a nice little cult following now. It sounds scary but it's really just delightful!
Even better, our keller pilsner, Ol' Keller, received a bronze medal in the Pale European Lager category. In recent years, we have really grown fond of our lagers and take special pride in making them. This is our pilsner's third overall award at prestigious beer competitions and this one might just be the one we're most proud of. To us, making pilsners and other craft lagers is important work. There is so much banter out there that these beers are inferior and not considered "craft" but that couldn't be farther from the truth as far as we are concerned. We not only love making them but we seriously love drinking them too.
Our new taproom is now open! We cant even begin to describe the amount of relief and excitement we are experiencing seeing all of your faces again and getting back to good times. The taproom has been rocking and we are have been destroying our own sales records and gotten such great feedback on our new space. It's a dream come true to have persevered through all of the drama we went through and come out on the other side with all of your support in-tact and stronger than ever. We are forever grateful for you. You guys make this place work and we couldn't be more thankful.
We still cannot brew on site. We are awaiting our plans to be approved from the County but we are getting closer. For now, we are brewing at our friends' spaces whenever we can sneak a batch in. When this is all said and done, we just might write a book about how this industry came together in support of us through this process. We are a community and although we are technically competitors with one another, we have each others' backs and know that it's good people and their actions that make this industry so special.
That's it for now!
New brewing system from Stout Tanks. Very similar to the one we will be receiving soon. Lots of bells and whistles and capable of making much more beautiful beer!
Hey There Thirsty Friends,
It's crazy how much can change in a couple of weeks. We have been working around the clock to prepare the new digs, brew beer (off site, we'll get to that), and take care of our valued accounts in this chaotic time. It's extremely stressful right now with all of the expenses and unknowns we're facing but I will say that we have made tremendous progress towards opening our new taproom and brewery. Just to be clear with people because there are a lot of questions, we leased two spaces. One will be for brewing and administrative purposes and the other will be for the retail taproom.
We also have great news. Our good friends over at Benoit-Casper in Richmond, CA have done us a HUGE solid. They are allowing us to brew as much as we can over there during our downtime. We are treating this as contract brewing but in this case we get to do the majority of the brewing and cellaring which makes our hearts happy and will help keep your glasses full. We have a couple of our own tanks over there and will also be using some of theirs for the time being. As of right now, we have a hoppy NE style pale ale, rye beer, and witbier in the works that will be hitting the accounts soon!
For the third year in a row, our Alpha Dankopotamus IPA has made it deep into the National India Pale Ale Competition (NIPAC). So far we have faced the intimidating likes of Boneyard, Left Coast, and Rueben's Brews and are still alive! This week we go against Tricksters Brewing and their "JuiceBox" IPA. Please wish us luck as we go forward. It gets harder every week!
We are also still brewing over at Morgan Territory and E.J. Phair and have some awesome releases coming out soon. We have a fresh batch of Alpha Dank coming out soon that is tasting killer! A special batch of Silly Gimmick that's kind of on steroids and the big announcement is we will aslo have the next installment of "We All Grin for Lupulin" coming out very soon too!
Stay tuned for news about opening dates and such. We will let you know as soon as we do!
Hey There Hop Dogma Family,
Welcome to the first blog on our progress of opening up the new brewery and tasting room. Before we go into that though, I'd like to take a moment to share with you some reasoning behind the move.
While I'm not at liberty to discuss every little detail, a situation arose at our previous location that was becoming increasingly problematic and concerning. For the sake of our employees and our own wellness, we made the very difficult decision to move. We loved our cozy little taproom and all of its quirky character. There were even plans to expand our operation there just weeks before making the decision to leave. Let's just say that due to reasons beyond our control we had to leave or we would continue to be victimized and would not be able to support our business much longer anyways.
So, we did some research and found an amazing option just right across the highway that was zoned correctly (there are VERY little options on the coast for producing beer) and offered us a chance to start fresh. While, admittedly, the Harbor Village has struggled at times, we know that we are just the type of business that could thrive here. We acquired a 2200 sq/ft warehouse space for brewing operations and a 1600 sq/ft taproom space with an option to expand in the near future. We are working tirelessly to beautify everything and make this a truly special place. There are also plans to purchase a brand new 10bbl brewing system for onsite brewing. We will still do some contract brewing at our trusted partners facilities to keep bringing you fun canned beer options and get more beer to the masses. There is also some HUGE news coming in the near future about even more delicious Hop Dogma beer coming your way soon.
The new space is already proving to be much better in terms of space, utilities, resources, etc. Also, there are many food options right in the area and even a new pizza and Peruvian fusion joint going into the mall area itself called Lama's Pizza! They were giving free samples out last weekend and I kid you not these were some of the best Peruvian dishes I've had outside of Peru (and I lived in Peru!). They are also doing Mexican style street tacos that blew us away. We look forward to partnering with them and other vendors to bring the community closer and create a special environment on the coastside just like we did at the previous location, only on a much greater scale.
Of course, there are a lot of hurdles to get over here. Moving a brewery is akin to starting over again in many ways. We had to file new paperwork with the TTB and ABC. Approvals can take months so we are crossing our fingers that it does not. We have construction crews working very hard to make the new space a beautiful, functional, and cozy place to enjoy one another's company and special brews.
On the beer front, we recently did some collaborations that we are really stoked about! We teamed up with Morgan Territory Brewing Company out of Tracy, CA and Benoit-Casper Brewing out of Richmond, CA. Both these breweries are ones we truly look up to in many ways. We did a hazy IPA collab with all three of us called "The Dog Ate My Finings". It's the clearest beer you will ever see! Actually, no, it's not. It's a hazy little sucker that is the juiciest thing we've ever made or possibly even tasted! We also collaborated with Benoit-Casper at their space making a fun new beer called "Bloody Ripper" with all southern hemisphere hops including Nelson, galaxy, and Enigma! Finally, yesterday we went down to Alvarado Street Brewing Co's Salinas location and worked with them, Discretion Brewing, and Humble Sea Brewing Co. This was to make a tribute beer to one of our favorite beer drinking spots in not only Santa Cruz but the world, Beer Thirty! We had such a blast and Alvarado was the most gracious hosts imaginable. Stay tuned for details on that one because it's going to be a sexy beast of a beer!
Stand by for more updates. We will soon be adding lots of progress pictures and more.
Well 2017 is upon us and we are stoked to say it's off to an amazing start. Our Alpha Dankopotamus cans were a huge success and we sold through 20bbls worth way too quickly! We will be without cans for about two weeks here but fear not, we have made arrangements to ensure we always have more canned goodness for y'all in the future.
We are thrilled to announce that we won a gold medal for our Rockbiter Roggenbier at the Best of Craft Brewing Awards! We also picked up a bronze for our Pyro's Prost Chili Beer. We enter a lot of contests because we like the feedback from the judges but it always feels good to take home some new hardware.
Finally, San Francisco Beer Week is almost upon us! We have a very busy week planned. Here is a list of the events we are participating in:
Opening Night Gala- Friday, February 10th
Bistro Double IPA Festival- Saturday, February 11th@ the Bistro in downtown Hayward
Baby Brewery Night- Wednesday, February 15th@ Pacific Standard Taproom in Berkeley
Tap Takeover - Wednesday, February 15th@ Ocean Ale House - Ocean St, San Francisco
Tap Takeover- Friday, February 17th@ The Beer Hall w/Alpha Acid & Hop Dogma, The Beer Hall, San Francisco
Tap Takeover/Food Pairing- Saturday Feb. 18th w/HMB Brewing Co@ Hop Water, San Francisco
Meet the Brewers Fest- Saturday February 18th, Hermitage Brewing Co, San Jose
Well looks like we completed another trip around the sun! Wow was 2016 a crazy year. I thought it would be a good exercise for me to do a year in review, as it truly was a year to remember for us. There was good, bad, ugly, and just about everything else. I’ll spare you the “Bad” and “Ugly” stuff. I’m just proud to say that we got through it, grew from it, and are in a better space today because of it. That’s how we like to look at it.
So the “Good” you ask? 2016 was full of amazing accomplishments, growth, and joy for our humble little brewery. We won seven awards at professional beer competitions this year including a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival and a 2nd place ribbon at the California State Fair! As brewers, we are often our own worst critics and work incredibly hard to become better at what we do. Placing at these competitions in an increasingly competitive industry really validated our efforts and I can honestly say the GABF medal was one of the greatest days of my life.
2016 saw Hop Dogma grow in every respect. From production to retail and expansion, we pushed our boundaries and worked tirelessly to expand our footprint and make our company a healthier and more sustainable business. We gutted our garage brewery and did some simple repairs, shuffled some things around, and actually ended up being able to double our in-house fermentation capacity! So more good beer coming your way! We still can only self distribute at this time, but we were able to get our beer as far south as San Diego and Redondo Beach and up to Sacramento, Sonoma, and beyond. On the coastside, we continue to make wonderful relationships with our fellow local business owners and our beer is popping up in more and more places all the time, which brings joy to our hearts. It has been so gratifying to work with our friends and neighbors in such a wonderful place.
This year we had to make some major changes that involved some very difficult decisions. We are saying goodbye to some core brands for a bit. Our A-Frame IPA and Beaudacious DIPA will be retired in bottle form. Before anyone gets too upset we will be doing draft only in-house from time to time. We just decided that these hoppy beers that we contract (gypsy) brewed just were not holding up well enough or representing us in a way that we felt good about. The brands were suffering, tired, and we truly believe that the beers that we are designing and making right now are our best. We know that some of you love these beers so that made the decision that much harder. All we can say is that we feel confident that we can make these beers in house at a higher quality level. As professionals we know that quality needs to always be priority number one. If we are going to become the brewery that we aspire to be, we can’t have products out on the market that we can’t stand by. So we have decided to cut back, expand our in-house brewing abilities as best we can, and focus on quality and the customer experience. We will still do a small amount of contract brewing now out of E.J. Phair. They have been doing a wonderful job for us and the relationship we have built with them is really helping us expand our distribution abilities. For example, we are proud to announce our first canned product will be released January 4th! It will be our beloved Alpha Dankopotamus IPA! The can, we truly believe is a superior option for our hoppy beers so we are making the shift. Look out for the release information but you will be able to get it out of our taproom and many locations throughout the Bay Area.
In 2017, we hope to accomplish many things. We are still looking for a suitable production space. We’d like to expand our retail space as well. This is a little easier said then done but we’ll see. Very shortly, we plan to do a little reimagining of our taproom. We’ll be upgrading the chairs and tables, paint, bar, whole nine yards. So that is exciting for us as we want our customers to be comfortable when enjoying our beers and each others’ company.
Lastly, we just want to say thank you for your love and support. We could never be doing this without it. Our patrons have proven time and time again that they are incredibly supportive, funny, honest, caring, and incredibly people. Have a safe and awesome New Year and we can’t wait to do 2017 with ya!
Howdy there. I'm taking a little much appreciated moment to do a blog since there is not much else I can be doing right now. The last few days we have not spent brewing. In fact, we've completely removed the brewing system and all fermenters, glycol chiller, sinks, etc out of our garage to do some much needed repair work. Over the last few years we have really done a number on the poor concrete floors of this building. It was getting so bad that we decided to remove the brewing equipment, have the concrete torn out, reset, and then will be adding epoxy afterwards to ensure this doesn't happen again.
We will also be investing in a new garage door that will allow us to upgrade a couple of our fermenters to a bigger size. When it is all said and done we should be able to brew about 70% more beer right out of our El Granada brewhouse. Even more exciting is that we will be starting up the barrel program again so we will be able to push some beers through a bit quicker and transfer to barrels directly after primary fermentation which should also increase our brewing speed and capacity.
It's all very exciting but stressful. Being down for the count and offline is terrifying. We just hope it goes smoothly. Pics to come soon!
We are thrilled and honored to have been lucky enough to take home the silver medal in the rye beer category at the Great American Beer Festival! Our Rock-Biter Roggenbier is a beer we've always been proud of and it was so exciting to see it honored at GABF! We know that It will probably never be a top seller or rate particularly high on untapped or anything like that. However, it's a style that has nearly all but disappeared but we've always liked it and wanted to do our best to keep it relevant. It's not an IPA. It's not a huge adjunct stout or sexy sour. It is, however, a beautiful beer with it's own unique and enjoyable character. We love the delicate weizen yeast character and almost pumpernickel bread quality. We love how creamy and dense the beer feels. It is unique and beautiful in it's own special way.
When I decided to brew this beer for GABF it is because I really felt that I could do this style much better justice than in the past. I wanted a really delicate and not overwhelming clove and banana quality so I carefully researched my yeast options and found one I thought would be best suited. Then, I upped the rye percentage to around 54% and added loads of other specialty malts to help distinguish the flavors I wanted. Roggenbier is typically pretty cloudy, so I hardly fined the beer at all. I did a ramp up from 128 degrees to about 158 in the mash as well. Brewing this beer is never easy. Rye is notoriously difficult to brew with. Often "gumming" up in the mash tun and sticking. It is a real challenge and that is truly part of the fun for me.
Now that the dust has settled from GABF and I've had time to think a bit I just feel so proud. I'm so proud of what we've been able to accomplish in our little garage "brewery". We don't have any floor drains or bright tanks. Own only a three barrel system. The list goes on and on. We've taken a less than ideal situation and been able to make the best of it. However, it just clarifies and motivates us. We now know that we have to take the leap of faith and expand. We owe it to ourselves. In order to make the best beer that we are capable of, we need to do this. We need to do this the right way. I'm not sure how, this stuff isn't cheap or easy to do but we are more determined than ever now. Huge thanks to all of you who have supported us along the way. Cheers!
Dan and the Hop Dogma Team
Greetings! Welcome to the new website. We are excited to move to a new format here that makes it easier for us to keep in touch with our patrons. 2016 has been a whirlwind type of year for us as we have had some tremendous ups and downs along the way. All in all though, we couldn't be happier about the direction we are headed. We are still searching for the ideal future brew-house. In the meantime, we will continue to make as much beer in house here and expand this space as we can. We will continue to "Gypsy Brew" wherever we can find the opportunity to help us keep up with demand. Most importantly, we will continue to develop our relationships with the wonderful people in this community and profession and strive to expand our brewing knowledge along the way. Please check back often as we plan to blog much more frequently and keep you all up to speed with the beers and projects we have going on. Cheers!