Dorchester Brewing

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All About Quality Control (And Fred!)

As part of our “Meet the Team” series, we’ve been introducing you to members on our team that make it all happen! Today, we’re excited to get to the down and dirty of actually making the beer…good beer at that. In fact, the best. We’re extremely proud of the steps we put in place to ensure the highest quality beer production for all of our beers including our house beers as well as our brewing partners. To that end…have ya met Fred?

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Fred Hamp, DBco’s Lab & Quality Assurance Manager became involved with DBco from his old friend Todd, our Head Brewer, from their days at Harpoon. Fred had been a stay at home dad for a few years and the timing was right for him to re-emerge into the craft beer scene at Boston’s newest startup. Fred has been with us since our building was a bit of a construction zone and he helped us design our QA program from the ground up (literally from the dirt floor!).

Fred’s love affair with brewing started long ago, fresh out of college. He hounded every brewpub and brewery in the Buffalo area until finally Tim Herzog of Flying Bison Brewery took pity on a him and let him clean kegs and access his brewing library. While there, Fred became committed to brewing professionally and saved his pennies to pay for the Master Brewers Program at University California Davis. After graduating, he took a job with Harpoon and did pretty much every job in the business until finding his passion for Quality Assurance and Control. After working with Todd at Harpoon, the rest was history!

When we tasked Fred with developing our lab and QA program, we told him to go big or go home.  As Fred mentioned, “The lab and QA program at DBco is state of the art for a brewery even 5 times our size. We place the quality of our brews on a pretty high pedestal.” When pulling it all together, he purchased the best equipment out there to ensure a high quality end product including: A Haffmans combined CO2/02 meter with piercing station for cans/bottles, a laminar flow hood that is PCR ready for micro work, a pharmaceutical grade spectrophotomer, a microscope for quantification of yeast, an autoclave, incubator, and more! We’ve got quite the science lab in the middle of the brewery.

When he’s not elbows up in beer, Fred loves to immerse himself in the craft beer culture. When we asked him his favorite beer, he said, “
I think choice is incredibly important. As an example, who wants to listen to the same album over and over again?  Sometimes you want speed metal, other times EDM, funk or classic rock. When I drink beer, I usually let the season/ time of year influence me. My favorite DBco beer right now is the soon to be released Baltic Porter.  It is incredibly balanced and complex… a real treat.”
And, as a last word from Fred, he believes”Beer is culture.  People come together over beer and this allows an environment for ideas and beliefs to swirl together.  The diversity of the community in Dorchester makes this dynamic even more exciting.”

By in Brew Blog 0

Fall Beer Profiles and Oktoberfest

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Now that we’re into September, you’ve been seeing a change on tap at your favorite bar and liquor stores. To really get into the spirit of fall beer, we thought we’d talk about fall beer flavor profiles and what exactly it is about fall beer that makes it so…..fall. And what you can expect for the next month at DBco.

When you’re looking at a traditional fall beer flavor profile, there are some obvious differences then summer beers – no matter what type of beer drinker you are from novice to expert. Fall beers typically have a maltier profile than summer beers, which are often dry and quenching. Traditionally, the German Fest beer and Austrian Vienna Lager are the go-to styles for Fall. Both have smooth, lasting malt flavors accompanied by the herbal and spicy hop notes that German hops are known for. For Fall, our Head Brewer, Todd Charbonneau thinks of darker, sweeter malt profiles with generally more substance than Summer beers, so that’s what you’ll be tasting. Todd and the rest of our team over here love to transition into a deeper beer with these flavors with a lasting, smooth finish. But, not too early! We waited until post-Labor day for a reason. Don’t rush it – just enjoy it. Fall never tasted so sweet.

Where exactly does all of this Oktoberfest come from? If you want a little mini history lesson, the original October fest or Marzen style was typically brewed in March (Marzen). Then, they cellared it in cool caves throughout the warm German Summer to drink in the fall. The original Munich Oktoberfest was held in October of 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese. Today, Munich continues to celebrate annual every mid-September through early October, known as Oktoberfest. Us Americans, as we typically do, latched on to have our own celebration!

To kick things off, TODAY we are releasing our very own Oktoberfest beer called Dorchester Festbier. It’s our version of the German Fall classic that is fully bright and deep golden. It’s brewed with Vienna and Pilsner malts with malty sweetness throughout. The 6.3 ABV beer is well balanced by a single addition of German Hallertauer Tradition hops with a long and satisfying finish. Try it today with one of the bgood pretzels and brats!

We’re also super excited to announce our very own Oktoberfest event, taking place the same time as Munich’s kickoff on Saturday, September 17th. We’ll be celebrating all day from 11:30am-11pm with lots going on including food specials from our food vendors, a traditional German band, and lots of fun Oktoberfest themed surroundings (just wait!). Get more info here.

By in Meet Our Team 0

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Our Tap Room Manager, Derek Rayner

We started with our Head Brewer a few weeks ago in our newest “Meet the Team” blog series so that you can get to know everyone on team and today we’re checking into the Tap Room! Derek Rayner joined our team early on and Derekhe’s been leading a great team up front for anyone that visits our space. Whether you’re looking to get in touch about a private event or have questions about what’s on tap, Derek’s your man. Here’s 10 things that you may or may not already know about Derek:

 

  1. I grew up in Berlin, NH and studied Communication at Keene State.

2. My love of craft beer started with Longtrail’s Doublebag.  I was hooked.

3. During my free time I love going out to eat with my girlfriend.  We make it a point to go out a few times a week to EAT.

4. Some of my favorite spots to grab a drink and a bite are Trina’s Starlight Lounge, Cambridge Brewing Company, Lonestar Taco Bar, Bisq, The Druid, Picco & Lord Hobo.  Nightshift is also a blast!

5. I can also talk fantasy football all day.

6. Zwickel is my favorite beer style.  It has the flexibility to change depending on how brewer’s perceive the style which is in part what makes it so exciting.

7. My favorite DBco beer has to be the V1 Double IPA.

8. I love the bar industry for it’s flexibility and sociability.  Let’s be real.  I’m surrounded by beer and people who are passionate about beer all day.  It’s a blast.

9. I’ve been in Dorchester for 9 years.  I love the diversity and sense of community.

10. I’m a sucker for sake.

By in Brew Blog 0

5 Things to Consider When Building Your Brewery

Today on our blog, we’ve got a special treat for you! Our friends over at Zajac, who know a thing or two about building out breweries, have put together a few essential things to consider for anyone thinking about building a brewery. Zajac is a leading supplier to the Craft Brewing industry, delivering high quality process piping, custom stainless steel fabrication and complete packaging lines since 1975.  They provide all of the mechanical and electrical services including brewhouse installation, fermentation tank installation, filtration piping, process skids, valve manifolds and CIP systems. They were an incredible partner in helping us build out our space over the past few months, resulting in what you see today!

  1. Plan to plan: Your business plan should have a direct impact on the brewery, cellar, utility and packaging equipment that you are going to invest in. Are you planning on adding additional fermentation down the road to increase capacity? It’s much easier and less expensive in the long run to plan on additional cooling capacity in the initial design than it is to replace the chiller in the future and/or have to increase the size of the distribution system. The bottles you have now are great – but are you looking to add a can line down the road?  Planning for the future significantly impacts not only which equipment to buy, but how equipment will be laid out in the plant and how material flows through your facility. Going through a tough planning stage now will save you substantial time, money, and stress down the road.
  2. Safety first: Your goal is for all your employees to go home safe and happy every day. You can take steps to achieve this goal in the design stage – plan a thorough review of your layout and question everything from a safety perspective. Should the brewers be lifting a heavy bag of grain that high? Is there any chance your platforms and walking surfaces are going to have standing water on them creating a slip hazard? There are a million decisions that need to be reviewed from a safety perspective – take the time now to create a safer place to work for your team.
  3. Pack it in: As many brewers have told us, packaging systems are much more complex than they had ever imagined and is an area they constantly struggle with. Packaging equipment is expensive, difficult to install and commission, and has a large footprint that results in numerous material handling and foot traffic issues. Due to the cost and size, packaging equipment needs to be closely tied to your business plan and should be a driving factor in determining the pace you need for your brewery.
  4. Utilities, utilities, utilities: The beer is the fun stuff – who doesn’t like shopping for a new brewhouse? Utilities aren’t sexy, but they are incredibly important in allowing you to consistently put out a quality product that you can be proud of. The biggest issue we see is under sizing utility systems. Electrical, glycol, steam, water and waste all play an important part in delivering a repeatable product. Designing and installing utility systems that both adequately meet yours process needs and incorporates important safety elements is extremely difficult and should be left to a qualified integrator. Your utilities are also likely subject to unique regional/city codes; it is best to meet with local inspectors/authorities as early as possible in order to determine what permits, licenses, inspections, etc. are required. Steam and electrical are particular utilities to examine closely.
  5. Go with the flow: The flow of product, ingredients, materials, equipment, waste, and people will always be something you have to manage and should be considered before construction begins. Those beautiful, 12’ shiny tanks will look amazing – once you find a way to get them through your 8’ doors. Is there adequate space to move your raw materials from receiving to your process area? Are your forklifts going to be constantly zooming through high foot traffic areas – creating a safety hazard? What is the plan to conduct safe tours of your new brewery while your team is operating the system? All of these flows need to be carefully reviewed to run a safe and efficient operation.

Zajac understands the enormous task ahead of you. They have been working with breweries like Dorchester Brewing Company for over 30 years. Contact them today to discuss your upcoming project!

By in Meet Our Team 0

Meet Our Team: Head Brewer, Todd Charbonneau

In our latest installment of blog series, we’re introducing you to everyone on our team. Get used to us, we’ll be sticking around for quite some time. So, to get started, we’d like to introduce you to the guy responsible for all of that beer you’re drinking. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Todd, he’s one of our co-founders and Head Brewer. You may also know him as the previous Head Brewer at Harpoon. But he’s so much more then that!

Todd’s background in beer started by walking into one of Boston’s premiere breweries 15 years ago and he landed a job on the bottling line. He worked hard, and his dedication paid off becoming Head Brewer for over ten years at Harpoon Brewery. Todd’s not one to brag about himself (or super wordy as you can tell!), so we did a little Q&A so that you could get to know him better.

Todd, how did you get into craft beer?
A friend was a beginner homebrewer and invited me along on a couple of brews in his kitchen. From then on out, I was hooked.
What do you do when you’re not drinking and brewing beer?
During the summer I enjoy spending time with my family at our lake house. Lots of boating and fishing, swimming, etc.
I hear you’re also in a band…
I am in a band called The Winter Project, which began as just that. However we are still practicing and writing well into mid summer!
What is your favorite type of beer to both brew and also to drink?
I really try to be a student of style. When I’m developing a new recipe a lot of thought goes into the history of the style, ingredients used by those that developed the style. Of course I am a huge fan of American-style IPAs and love to brew them.
Do you have any advice for brewers just starting out?
Read as many books as you can. Practice makes perfect. You want to do a lot of brewing on a small scale, volunteer at your local brewery, and keep it fun. Make incremental changes to your recipes to determine how these changes affect your batches of beer.
What do you have in mind for the next few DBco beers?
Will be continuing in the hoppy beer vein with Mass Ave IPA and V1 double IPA. Also in the queue are a Berliner vice, a German Roggenbier, Pilsner, and in late summer, our Oktoberfest!

Want to pick his brain even more? We’re hosting a Meet the Brewer Night every month on the last Thursday of the month! Todd will be on hand to chat about all things beer on Thursday, July 28th from 5pm-8pm. More info at:  //www.dorchesterbrewing.com/events/event/meet-brewer-night/
By in News 0

Thank You and Grand Opening Announcement

As we move towards our grand opening, we’ve started to think about all of the people and groups that helped us get to this point. For those that might not know, Dorchester Brewing Company started with a vision from our Co-Founders about 2 years ago and our team has worked tirelessly to make our dream a reality. There have been a few setbacks and delays as startups always have, but we’ve been extremely fortunate to get where we are today and that’s all due to the people around us.  So, as we look towards our opening, we also want to take a moment to reflect on everyone who helped get us there.

First and foremost, we want to take a moment to recognize the city of Boston and Mayor Martin J. Walsh. Their support and continued backing of the project has been instrumental in the development of our building construction process and financial patronage. Witnessing their commitment to innovation and development in Dorchester has been a true inspiration and we’re thrilled to be able to give back to Boston and Dorchester and help further the economic development of the area.  Specifically, we’d like to thank John Barros and Adalberto Teixeira at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Rafael Carbonell, John Lynch and Keith Hunt at the city of Boston’s Office of Business Development, Steve Rumpler at Boston’s ReStore Program, Bill Nickerson at the Boston Local Development Corporation and Sheila Dillon at the Department of Neighborhood Development.

In addition, we would like to recognize the Mass Office of Small Business Development and the Mass Growth Capital Corporation for providing financial support to the project. Special thanks to Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of Business Development at The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing & and Economic Development, as well as Larry Andrews, Neil Martin and Rob Williams at Mass Growth Capital Corp for working  tirelessly with us to move the project forward.

Furthermore, many thanks to Beth Chea at Wells Fargo Bank and Eric Bancroft at Northeast Bank who were instrumental in helping DBco gain access to a significant amount of private debt capital, without which the project would not have moved forward.

We also want to thank all of our partners in the project and everyone involved in helping us get to where we are including RODE Architects, Zajac, Thomas Reale Photography, Salmon Studios (signage), College Hype Apparel, Pulp + Wire (website design), All Temp Systems Mechanical, Clean Beer (tap system), Macaran, Edelstein (accounting), Bowditch & Dewey (legal), Gary Barsomian-dietrich (finish carpentry), Roscoe Studio, Outkast Electrical, Allen and Sons (general construction), EH Marchant (plumbing), VFrancis Mechanical, Metro Equipment (site contactor), Galway Interiors (rough carpentry), LVR Corp. (engineering)  and many others who helped play different roles in the development of Dorchester Brewing Company. Also, to our family and friends. You guys have been amazing for putting up with us throughout these last two years as you supported us in our vision.

And lastly, thank you a million times to everyone in the Dorchester community. We are speechless over the countless people who have taken time out of their daily lives to lend a helping hand, voice their support, show up when we asked and overall, just provide continued encouragement over our project.  The pride in the community really stands for itself and at DBco, we promise to give back to the community and continue to celebrate where we live.

For our first step in our Grand Opening announcement, we’ll be hosting a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Mayor Martin J. Walsh tomorrow on Wednesday, July 20th to celebrate the opening of our facility.

And for all of you future craft beer drinkers, we are thrilled to announce that we will officially open our Taproom on Thursday, July 21st at 11:30am – 11pm and will continue the grand opening festivities throughout our normal business hours on Friday –  Sat  11:30am – 11pm and Sunday 11:30am – 9pm. Stay tuned for more details on our website!

Cheers and looking forward to seeing you soon,

Matt, Todd, Travis and Holly