Well, the big day has arrived for Braxton Brewing. They officially open the doors at 5 PM today. It’s been a very long road for the Rouse family and all of the people who’ve made it happen. There’s no purpose in trying to present ourselves as impartial on this. We’ve known many of the people involved for a very long time. We couldn’t be happier for them.
Back around the time they found their building, Tom pitched the idea of capturing a time lapse of the construction. We came up with three GoPros between Braxton, Dave Dixon and Tom and picked out the spots to hang them. There wound up being some unexpected technical issues, but the video below is the result and definitely shows what kind of effort goes into building a brewery from scratch.
There was just under a month of construction left when we stopped the cameras. The transformation in that month has been nothing short of amazing. Wednesday night we attended a preview/soft-opening event and got to experience the space in the way it was intended.
There are four beers available, but two of them are available on either CO2 or Nitro. All four beers are dead-on solid (as you would expect from this group of brewers). Our belief is that the Storm Golden Cream Ale may be a beer that blows up for them in the marketplace. It’s accessible to the casual beer drinker but complex enough to bear repeated (and yes, even critical) drinking. At 4.8 ABV it’s close to that session range we’re really digging lately. The Blown Gasket Robust Porter is a roasty, inky-black brew that’s perfect for this time of year when the weather can’t decide whether to be warm or cold. Sparky Hoppy Wheat Ale will really come into its own as the weather warms up. It’s a hop-forward wheat that avoids the trap of trying to be an IPA. That’s because they also have Crank Shaft IPA. They have to have an IPA or the Brewer’s Association would call in airstrikes. There are a lot of great IPAs in town, and now there’s another one. Let the religious wars begin! The Storm and Blown Gasket are the two available on CO2 or nitro. Do yourself a favor, try them both ways.
If you’re planning to go to the opening tonight, don’t be surprised if you don’t see the idyllic scene below. Last time we looked there were more than 1800 Facebook RSVPs to the event invitation. Some percentage won’t show up, of course, but there are also people who aren’t on Facebook either. The taproom is rated for 300 people from what I was told, so there’s a good chance you’ll be outside. That’s OK. There will be food trucks and nearly 2000 of your closest friends. Get there early. Plan to be patient. Tomorrow probably won’t be as bad. Next week will be better. They’re not going anywhere. There’s plenty of time to check them out.
Now that they’re opening, Tom can quit referring to the taproom as the “Taproom in the Future” instead of the “Taproom of the Future.” Part of the future is apparently to be able to use a card embedded with an RFID chip to pour your own beer from one of four special taps. The flow is metered and you’re charged by the ounce. It’s pretty cool to see operate. An app has been submitted to Apple that will allow you to order food in from local restaurants and even order beers. It’s an iOS app for now with Android to follow.
There are video games because … brewery tap room.
The mural behind the bar is really something. It’s done by the folks at the omnipresent Neltner Small Batch company, and it’s really a sight to behold. It represents the history of the brewery from the days when Greg and Evan brewed in their garage on Braxton Street to the opening of the brewery. The pictures below show some of the detail, but taking it in all at once is the best way to see it. There is a time lapse video of the painting of the mural that Neltner Small Batch put together and we’ll link to it as soon as it’s online.
So there’s our first look at Braxton Brewing. Get down there to see it for yourself. They’ve done a heck of a job.