ZaLabels are on ZaBottles

The Porters will be shipped this weekend. Can't wait to share these with our friends at Zapow in Asheville. I also included a picture of our hops. They are going to be giants this year. Enjoy your Thursday everyone. CHEERS!

Some Catching Up

Please forgive me for the time in between posts, but things have been busy around the brewery these days. From printing labels to redesigning our layout. And of course, brewing. Atomic Donkey was the feature brewery at a party two weeks ago. The party was at the Crooked Oak Brewery location. It was a celebration for a young graduate. Although he was not old enough to partake in the libations, plenty of others were. The beer we served was the new Hoppy as Hell. It went over very well. We were not left with much when the party was over. That's what we like to see. It's always nice to hear positive feedback on a brew that truly is your own. From recipe creation to the actual finished product. This was an experiment that went very well. I've got just a few pictures from before the party started. I was too busy talking beer to take any more.

Atomic Donkey has have been asked to supply some beverages for an upcoming wedding. We of course said yes. Looks like it will be a porter and possibly an IPA. Our Hefe is just in bottles and will not be ready in time. We will fill in the detail blanks as the date gets closer.

The hops are coming in fast. As of a few days ago we have fully formed cones. The 1st years are doing very well. Obviously they will not reach the height or production of the 4th years, but we will have some strong plants in the near future. We threw some fresh homemade compost on them yesterday to help them along. There was a scare a few days ago when some storms rolled through with 70mph winds. Some of the poles came close to going over but managed to hold on. We have now braced them in case of any future challenges Mother Nature may throw at us.

We hope you all have been well. Enjoying life and a few good brews. It's summertime so that means we will have a pilsner brewed up very soon. Perhaps in the next two weeks. And while it sits and conditions, we will be brewing up another porter and our famous Ryed Donkey Ryed Black IPA. Plenty more on the horizon my friends. Enjoy the week ahead. CHEERS!

Some Serious Growth

Finally, a week of summertime like temperatures. That's all the hops needed to really take off. We have been struggling to keep the things pruned back at this point. Two days ago we had the first signs of flowering. Take a look at the pictures to see our little buds. The vines have reached the top and are so heavy that they are pulling down our guide wire and therefore the poles. No harm though. We don't care if it looks pretty, as long as those beautiful little hops are growing we are happy. Can't wait to get our first harvest in. I can smell that delicious lupulin already. CHEERS!

The White Donkey

Memorial Day weekend we were yet again lucky enough to brew on the Crooked Oak property. The goal this time was a simple classic Weissbier (Hefeweizen). Weissbier literally means “white beer" due to the whitish color produced by the pale malted wheat. The common North American name for this style is Hefeweizen which means "yeast wheat". This style is generally unfiltered and therefore has a hazy look to it caused by the yeast remaining in suspension. Hence the name "yeast wheat". There are numerous variations of this style. From darker (Dunkelweizen) to the filtered a crystal clear looking "Kristallweizen". All variations share a common thread in their unique taste. That was a very brief history of a style that's been around for a long time.

What stared as just another brew day quickly turned into a get together with some good folks. Lots of good brew and good food. Mrs. Crooked Oak Brewery was kind enough to prepare some delicious food for everyone that attended. So while the mashing and boiling process were taking place, we enjoyed a gorgeous Memorial Day. One of the attendees also happen to be a Marine. Seemed appropriate. We all said our thanks and shook his hand. And thank you to all the others out there that have served proudly in the military. Also, thank you to their families. They make many sacrifices as well.

The Hefeweizen hit all the marks. Upon returning to Atomic Donkey Brewery with the fermenter in tow, we added our yeast. We produced a starter for this batch. To say that it started quickly and vigorously would be an understatement. Within 2 hours of dumping the starter in we had a very active fermentation. Within 3 hours we were forced to replace the airlock with a blow off tube. Even with the blow off tube we still had a mess to clean up. The jug that the tube was routed to filled up quickly and flowed forth onto the floor. Of course this is a sign of great activity so the clean up was a minor inconvenience.

The started was a half gallon. It had been fermenting for approx. 27 hours when we added it to the brew. The gravity reading will be taken today. This is going to be a great summer time brew. The Hoppy as Hell IPA will be bottled as early as tomorrow and no later than Wednesday. It all depends on the taste of the samples we pull tonight.
I imagine it's pretty close to being ready for bottles. We may keg it, haven't decided yet.

Hope you all had a very nice Memorial Day weekend and have enjoyed life since the last time we posted. To you all the brave men and women who have served and are still serving in our armed forces; especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. You may not be here with us, but your memories always will be. CHEERS to you all!