Good Robot Brewing Co.

Month: February 2015

Taproom Construction Update 1: Lofty Ideas

As construction continues unabated and equipment delays abound, we turn our attention to the first draft of our draft room. From day one, we knew the following about taproom construction:

  • The taproom should serve as the heart of the brewery, a place where we can educate and inebriate.
  • The taproom should serve quality beer without pretension, from table d’hote to table d’ancing.
  • Given our former careers as industrial engineers and our current careers as beer barons, we perceive the motif as industrial equipment overgrown with horticulture.
  • We do not want to be a brewpub. We want a food truck in the driveway, the option for patrons to bring in food from other establishments, and small finger foods to pad your stomachs but not our wallets.
  • We want a wrap-around patio overlooking the Robie Street hustle and a grass driveway.
  • The taproom should be a haven for free speech.
  • We will host events reflecting our personalities, including comedy nights, how-to tutorials from local merchants, silent reading and raging parties.
  • The western portion of the taproom will focus on the entrance and stage.
  • The eastern portion of the taproom will focus on the bar and street with small tables to encourage group seating.
  • The upstairs portion of the taproom will be used for washrooms and private events.
Taproom layout at Wrought Iron Brewing Company craft brewery in the North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia

Our original taproom floor plan. Dimensions are imperial, like our pilsner.

We had ideas but lacked focus. Doug wanted classy. Angus wanted cozy. To me, a bar is like a cannonball competition: the divier, the better. We hired Breakhouse to help us organize. They are ridiculously fun to work with, dissecting even the most minute details of our social media to find the underlying personality and childhood trauma. After several meetings, Gord, Vince, Peter and Andrew helped us focus our thoughts and proposed some excellent ideas:

  • Replace the patio with a ground-level beer garden to eliminate the cityscape feel.
  • The western portion of the taproom should focus on washrooms given the limited size.
  • The eastern portion of the taproom should focus on the bar with a small fold-out stage and high-seats to encourage mingling.
  • The upstairs portion of the taproom can be torn out to create a loft overlooking the eastern taproom.
Wrought Iron Brewing Company in North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia Taproom Layout - Breakhouse

Breakhouse: they know what they’re doing.

The taproom design is ongoing but we are excited about the prospects of having a local haunt. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, keep us posted. What do you like in a taproom?

By in Events, Taproom 3

Taproom Event 1: Silent Reading

As we finalize brewery construction and await our delayed equipment arrival, taproom design with the help of Breakhouse continues. Given the abysmal weather, a straight shot of Prozac is in order. Given the limits of our liquor licence, how about an uplifting blog post, instead?

 

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Taproom in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Needs work.

During my time in Seattle, I stumbled upon a cool idea: silent reading parties. For two hours once a month, The Fireside Room went dead-silent as its patrons stuck their noses in books and their tongues in martinis. It was like an imbibing library – an imbibrary – the perfect place for a guy like me with one book, two hours, three cocktails and zero friends. Being forced to remain in silence for two hours also doubled as a bizarre social stimulant: once the event wrapped, people began chatting. A lot. With strangers.

 

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Josh reading book in North End of Halifax, Nova Scotia

After two hours of Old Fashioneds, picture books were necessary.

Wrought Iron Brewing is proud to present the first of our many lofty and plagiarized event ideas, Silent Knights. For two hours once per month, we will shut down everything at the taproom except the taps, opening up the space for mixing Yeats with yeast. The North End will now have a haunt for those who are unsure whether they want to read a beer or drink a book. And if your idea of a good time doesn’t involve sitting silently in a room for two hours, fear not: more events are to follow. Check Our Events Calendar for other updates.

By in Construction 5

Brewery Construction Update 2: The Nightmare After Christmas

Ever have one of those months where your plumber concusses himself on your driveway, your trench drain sinks into the ground, your floors warp and your walls melt? Yeah, us too.

We’ve accomplished a lot since our first construction update. Myriad brewers warned us that the trench drain is the most crucial element of brewery construction; that no matter what, we should hire professionals and have it installed the proper way. Naturally, we installed it ourselves. End result? The grading is warped and little pools of liquid pile up. We can only hope gravity adjusts to our needs.

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Trench Drain 1

There’s the right way and the Wrought Iron way.

Digging the trench ourselves left us feeling elated, though that may have been the methane fumes from the gas-fired concrete saw.

 

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Concrete Saw Angus Construction

Burning gas indoors? What can go wrong?

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Angus Concrete Saw Construction Trench Drain

No, we did not find Fonda.

Wrought Iron Brewing Company Trench Drain Construction

Another Christmas in the trenches.

If you’ve never installed a trench drain yourself, the basic steps are:

  1. Don’t install a trench drain yourself.
  2. Call a professional.

Thankfully, we did have a professional: our buddy Alex, yet another friend we wouldn’t be here without. He helped install the trench drain and doors, plus hooked us up with Blake of Action Plumbing, who took a mean spill in our driveway, concussing himself and requiring an ambulance site visit. In his dizzied state, Blake still managed to fix our dripping hydronic lines and connect the trench to the existing sanitary line. What a beauty.

 

Alex and Angus install the trench drain at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Alex (left) and Angus.

Alex pouring concrete for trench drain at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

A concrete pun would be in pour taste.

Alex, Angus and Doug pouring concrete for trench drain during construction at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Insane in the trench drain.

Alex, Josh, Doug and Angus napping at trench drain construction at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

The Alex Burns Memorial Drain. Alex isn’t dead… yet.

The drain was a pain to construct. The rebar kept sinking into the soft soil. The individual lengths wouldn’t line up. Liquid continues to pile up just before the sanitary outlet. Still, the drain functions, which allowed us to move on to demolition, room framing and door mounting. The doors had to be installed, re-installed, and re-re-installed on account of improper sizing and orientation. Again, the fun of homegrown construction.

 

Alex, Angus and Doug installing doors during construction at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Of the seven doors, these were the only two that fit as planned.

With the meat and potatoes constructed, it was time to put lipstick on the pig. Justin of New Wave Painting took care of the walls. He did an awesome job, but Halifax received a record amount of precipitation that day, causing the paint to drip and the entire warehouse to look like a scene from Suspiria. Stoncor tackled the floor prep. They did amazing work – including nights and weekends – but when we chose the colour scheme, we forgot that we’re opening a brewery and not a daycare.

 

Trench drain construction montage at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia

If you look closely, you can see that we should have hired a contractor.

In spite of everything, including:

  • methane highs,
  • improper floors,
  • improper doors,
  • drain pains,
  • re-re-re-installations,
  • paint drip,
  • plumber slip,
  • colour scheme from hell, and
  • an inch of concrete dust in our apartments,

we’re very proud of our construction. There’s a certain satisfaction to do-it-yourself that I’m not sure we’d have otherwise. Plus, with electrical and HVAC upgrades to go, there is ample room for more mayhem before our equipment arrives in two weeks and we begin upscaling our recipes. And to think: at this time last year, we were still writing the business plan.

 

Move-in day warehouse construction at Wrought Iron Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia PANO_20150203_114028

 

Got any good construction nightmare stories? Or for that matter, any good nightmare stories? How about tips regarding what we should have done? Do you have questions regarding construction at your business that we may be able to help with? Share it all in the comments section. We could use a good laugh.