My First Canning Line

monkish canning line

Our in-house canning line has arrived!

In an effort to have more control over the quality and consistency of our canned beer, we have purchased our very own canning line and we are installing it this week! For all past releases, we have used a mobile canning company who comes to the brewery and packages our beer in cans for us. They have done a great job, but there are some challenges that we hope this installation will help us to overcome.

We believe the canning line will give us even better control over quality assurance, along with being able to schedule canning days and release days more frequently. It also relieves us of having to schedule months in advance the packaging days with the mobile canning company. Now we are able to package beers in cans immediately when they are ready.  This also brings us to a point of releasing beers during the week and not just on Saturdays.

 

Here are some possible questions you may ask and the best answers we have right now:

Does this mean you can make more beer? 

Short answer: Sort of.  We are still a small brewery. For the most part, we like being a small brewery and the connection we have with every batch of beer, and our customers. We still have a small number of fermentation and packaging tanks as before (having added a new fermenter recently), hence the small amount of cans for releases. We are striving to be able to make more beer, and we should be able to run a better schedule with the line here!

 

When will be the next can release?

Since we are installing and commissioning the canning line this week, we will also be releasing two beers! This will be the first weekday release for us, so there are a few things to work out:

1.     Parking – Please be mindful as we have neighboring businesses that will be open during weekday afternoons and evenings. The parking lot will have limited spots available to our patrons, please pay attention to the cones and/or park on the streets surrounding the brewery.

2.     Lines – We would like to minimize long lines during can release days so we will be experimenting with different ways of keeping them controlled.

3.     Tasting Room Hours – We will still be opening at 4pm, but plan to stay open until 10pm if the cans are not sold out by 9pm.  If cans are still available, we will sell to everyone in line by 10pm, no later. We want to allow as many people to buy on the day of release as possible J

4.     Live Updates – We’ll have updates for these releases live on Twitter, including at start selling time, mid release check in, and sold out time.

5.     Limits – These are set per person, per day.

 

Thank you all, again, for the support and excitement surrounding our cans releases! We are so grateful for all of you and love you!

 

Beer. Hope. Love.

Adriana, Henry, and the Monkish Crew

No can release

Bad news!

We are canceling tomorrow's can release. It's been a tough decision for us today/tonight. Yes we did package the beer in cans, but after tasting many cans all night we realized that there are certain aspects of the beer that we find to be lacking in what we want from our IPAs. So we are NOT releasing it. We taste the beers throughout the brewing process and we hoped and thought that after canning it would find its stride -- which is often the case. In this case we feel it isn't where we want it to be. These IPAs we make are full of experimenting with different parameters with the larger goal of making the best IPAs that we are excited about. This was a very hard decision -- and a costly lesson for us.

We are sorry for the inconvenience. We know you are excited about the beers and are willing to wait in lines for our beers, so we want to respect that. Until the next can release....

And yes we realize there is irony in the beer being named More Props and Stunts :/

 

 

We're Hiring: Tasting Room Servers

We’re looking to hire 1-2 enthusiastic and qualified people to join our Monkish team as tasting room servers.

Primary responsibilities include:

    •    Serving beer to and interacting with customers.

    •    Educating customers on Monkish’s history, brewery, philosophy, and beers.

    •    Bussing and assuring clean facilities and keg lines.

    •    Organizing and stocking beer and merchandise inventory.

    •    Working to maintain a friendly and welcoming atmosphere at Monkish.

    •    Other customer service and tasting room related tasks as required.

Required experience & skills:

    •    Must love Monkish beers!

    •    Previous relevant experience in a fast-paced service industry with preference to a brewery retail environment.  

    •    Exceptional communication and customer service skills.

    •    Attention to detail.

    •    Team player.

    •    Passion for and knowledge of beer.

    •    An educated palate.

    •    Must be able to work long hours on your feet and be able to lift 50 lbs.

    •    Able to work 32-40 hours a week within the following days and timeframe:  Tuesday/Wednesday/

Thursday 3p-10p, Friday 1p-11p, Saturday 9a-11p, Sunday 12p-9p. (May include holidays.)

If you are interested in applying, please email a resume and cover letter to jobs@monkishbrewing.com with the following subject title: “Tasting Room Server — (First & Last Name)”.

Cheers!

Adriana and Henry

Can release: April 2016

We are NOT having a can release this Sat 4/30. Sorry for any inconvenience.

We did brew a beer destined to be canned and released this week, but it didn't necessarily play out the way we had hoped. It's a sessionable IPA using a new strain of yeast and after tasting it, we don't think the yeast fermentation character fits the profile we are after for our canned IPAs.

For this batch we tried out a new strain (one that's used by east coast breweries for IPAs!) but its fermentation profile was different than the other yeast strains/blends we have used thus far. It took the beer in a different direction. Overall we drank it and it was good! Yes, the beer is good. A very drinkable, crushable session IPA. BUT, dare we say, the beer leaned too much towards a west coast style. Quickly we are realizing certain characteristics we want in our IPAs. So we would like to stay the course.

As mentioned before, we are experimenting with different parameters of these hoppy beers and we are looking for what works for us.

Next canning run is scheduled for Sat 5/14 and it will be larger, double batch of a juicy Monkish IPA :)

I.P.A.

*** Next release: Sat 5/28 12pm

I to the P to the A...

Monkish is making IPAs!! Actually we have snuck in a couple of "IPAs" recently but we didn't label them as such. So what's the deal?

Since many of you have asked us that question, I should take the time to share some thoughts on it. This might be a bit long winded for some, so skip to end if you just want to know how often we will be canning IPAs :)

The days of No IPA.

People like to draw attention to the sign ("NO MSG, NO IPA") that we hung up for a while in our Tasting Room. I like to refer to that sign as the "NO MSG sign". Well that sign was put up at a time when we, as a young brewery, wanted to focus on making Belgian-inspired,-styled beers and to push that limit. We didn't have anything against IPAs, porters, stouts etc. We were just intentional about being focused. As more breweries opened around us in Torrance, more vistitors hopping from one brewery to the next visited and many assumed that we would have an IPA (or many IPAs) on tap. And after many, many explanations of why we don't make an IPA as a belgian-focused brewery, we put that sign up as a joke -- in the sense, that like MSG, we didn't add any "IPA additives" to our beer. But we didn't anticpate the number of people who didn't take it as a joke. (It's funny that not many people took issue with the MSG part of the sign.) It has been 6 months since we took down the sign. The biggest reasoning behind that move was that one day, Adriana (chief boss of Monkish) – who never liked that the sign spoke in the negative tone – and I had another debate over the sign and I threw a hissy fit and took it down!

We knew we would make IPAs someday.

When Monkish opened we didn't have any contracts for the hops we needed to brew the more cool, hop-forward beers. So it was another reason why we focused on Belgian only beers. After getting hop contracts and waiting for them to take effect a couple years later, we added hoppy options to our Belgian-focused lineup -- Belgian Pale Ales. This gave us the chance to make single-hop Belgain pales so that we could learn about and become familiar with the nuances of different hops like Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic, Citra, Nelson, etc...

Year Five. We just celebrated our 4-year anniversary and moving into our milestone 5th year we saw this as a good time to start making IPAs. We made a few IPAs and have been exploring different yeasts -- with Off the Record being the first hoppy beer that we felt worthy to be a Monkish IPA. Shortly after brewing Off the Record, our friends from Other Half Brewing came by to collaborate on a beer with us (we in fact brewed two beers -- barrel-fermented Brett beer and an IPA). So it was a great opportunity to use this to launch our "IPA program" (a term we've been using since breweries like to talk about how they are starting a "barrel-aging program"). And if the timing was already good for us to release our first canned IPA, we were able to announe it on April Fool's Day! Perfect!

Monkish IPAs

IPAs comes in all different sizes and shapes. We knew that if we were going to make an IPA, it would be a style that would jive with our identity. For some time now we've been enjoying more (North)East Coast style IPAs – which are generally charcterized as juicy, hazy, with a soft mouthfeel; and we have spent lots of time drinking, studying, and becoming familiar with them. So we leaned toward this style that is more yeast driven. At Monkish, we love yeast-expressive beers - especially those fruity esters. So this "easty" style of juicy IPAs made sense and it's what we hope to be focusing on with our new IPA program!

What's Next

So where are we at? We're experimenting with different facets of brewing these beers: trying out different yeast strains and blends, different fermentation approaches, different hops and amounts for dry hopping, different types and amounts of bitterness, etc... until we find our way with them. So enjoy the ride with us!

We will continue to can these IPAs consistently. And they will only be sold through the Tasting Room (no distro). Starting off in April we will do smaller amounts of cans. But starting in May we are looking at tripling the amount of beer being released and hoping to do it every two weeks.

Thank for the wonderful response with our first canned-IPA release, First Things First. We didn't know if people would come and stand in line for a Monkish-made IPA. But you did! With about 150+ of you in line at opening, we sold out in an hour!

Thanks for reading, and enjoying our beers.

... And please, please DRINK them FRESH!!!

List of Canned Beers

  • First Things First (collab with Other Half) IPA
  • Run the Pigeon IPA
  • Foggy Window DIPA
  • One Life. One Love. Session IPA
  • Supa Dupa Fly IPA

haiku de saison

Haiku de Saison is a lovely beer and we're excited to share it with you! It's a mixed-fermentation saison that aged in our French oak foudres (large 1400gal wine vats) with our house mixed culture of wild yeast and souring bacteria. For over 20 years these foudres aged Sauvignon Blanc; as a result this tart, earthy, complex saison has layering notes of white wine and oak. This tart saison will continue to evolve with age. This is the first beer from our foudres that we're releasing. 6.3% ABV (750ml corked & caged champagne-style bottles).

Bottle Release is Sat, Nov. 7, but online presale begins Thurs, Oct 29 through eventbrite.com.

 

Click >>HERE<< for ordering details.

Cheers!

 

rara avis

We are excited to introduce our newest beer, Rara Avis. "Rara Avis" is a Latin idiomatic phrase for an English idiomatic expression "rare bird." This blended saison was brewed exclusively for The Rare Club and is only available through The Rare Beer Club and through our Tasting Room. So for sure it will not be brewed again :)

The beer which was brewed on Christmas Eve 2014 is a blend of two separate brett saisons: a rye-based saison and a spelt-based saison. Both were fermented with a mixed culture of saison yeast (two strains of brettanomyces, and two strains of lactobacillus) for layers of tropical fruitiness, slight tartness, and earthy funk. After it was blended we decided to dry hop it gently with Amarillo and Galaxy hops (why not?!) to accent the notes of juicy tropical fruits.

The beer will continue to evolve in the bottle so cellar some of this bottle-conditioned "rare bird" :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

foudres.

It's been a long time since our last blog post. But we wanted to write briefly about the recent additions to the brewery -- five oak foudres (French for large, oak barrel). We purchased them used from Markham Vineyards in Napa, which used them for aging its Sauvignon Blanc. Four of these 1400gal French oak foudres are uprights, while the other one is oval shaped.

The foudres will be dedicated to wild and sour beers. We haven't decided on how we will approach all five vessels. We know it could take quite, quite some time before sour beer will be ready out of these foudres. So we would like to initiate them by devoting a couple foudres for long-haul beers, and a couple for not-too-long-ish sour beer aging. And for the oval we are planning primary fermenting and conditioning 100% brettanomyces beers.

Given our modest business model and funds, we couldn't afford barrel-aging beers at the outset as desired. Aging beers take extra-invested money, time, and real estate. But now having made it past our 2-year mark we have embarked on what we always wanted to do with Monkish -- create sour beers. So we've bought and filled dozens of wine barrels, and we couldn't resist buying these foudres.

Why buy foudres over stainless steel tanks or typical-sized (59gal) oak barrels? Why not :) At Monkish, we try to be focused in what we do and want to do. We're fairly comfortable with the amount of stainless steel fermentation capacity. This year we have invested more money in oak barrels and will continue to do so. But compared to oak barrels, with these foudres we hope we'll better be able to control things related to our brewing process and conditions. And of course, we love their aesthetic quality and storied history in beer- and wine-making! And doesn't the necessitated characteristics of foudre beers - time, patience, and mystery - jive with the virtues of being "Monkish"?!

update 3.16

so i lied about trying to update the blog more. i know that there are many out there who read this with interests in starting a brewery and/or interested about our equipment. so i probably should try to add more posts.

it has now been a year since we first opened our doors to the public. first batch brewed was on 2.12.12 but the first day of sale (which we also use as our anniversary date) was 3.9.12. Much has happened over the year. Perhaps I can find time at some point to reflect on different aspects of our first year...

this merely serves as a quick update to make sure the blog is up to date. photos will be added soon...

-- in June 2012 we added 2 x 30 bbl fermenters and a 30bbl brite tank

-- in Oct 2012 we leased the adjoining unit.

-- in Jan 2013 we purchased a bottle filler.

-- in Jan 2013 we decided it was time to give up self-distribution. so we signed with Incline Beverages for the SoCal region.

-- last month we started putting beer into oak barrels.

a blog entry a week

new year resolution time...

it has been 9 months since we've been open, and it has been more than hectic; thus the silence on this blog. occassionally i meet and/or hear from people that they have benefited from my blog. not sure why really since i hardly post entries...

but i have learned a lot this past year and i feel i should be jotting down thoughts and reflections and simple Monkish updates here.

so my goal will be to write a blog entry a week. we'll see ...

happy new year!

 

more tanks!

Last week we received our new fermentation and brite tanks from PBST (Pacific Brewery System Technologies). We ordered them just a few weeks ago so we are happy with the quick turn around time. The tanks are 30-barrel tanks which are doubled the size of our initial (15 bbl) fermentation and brite tanks. This will close to tripling our production.

It took just a couple of hours for my uncle and I to unload the three tanks from the 45-foot long sea container. Then we stood them up outside... removed the frames... then with the help from a couple of friends the tanks were moved inside. They are now mounted and anchored in place, and they will be soon be installed and ready for use.

Here are some photos.

 

monk-ish

We have been open for about 3.5 months now. One interesting issue that has come up often is how people refer to us as MonkFISH Brewing. Hmmm... We did not name the brewery after a fish. Here is a bit about why we named it Monkish (Monk-ish).

Hopefully you know what "a monk-" is. And "-ish" is a common suffix denoting that something has qualities or charateristics similar to a noun – in this case being "monk". So the brewery is interested in having qualities similar to monks. But not just any monk. We are giving a hat tip to the monks throughout Belgian beer history who have brewed beer in and sold it through a monastery. Any google search on Benedectine – in particular, Trappist – monks reveals a rich story of monks selling wonderful beers as an act of worship to God and as forms of financial sustenance and charity. More importantly, these monks made renown beers that have inspired the direction of Monkish Brewing Co.

My wife (Adriana) and I (Henry) embrace the Christian tradition and have been involved in and worked at churches and non-profit organizations. I also have a doctorate in Theology (New Testament studies) and have taught the subject at various universities and seminaries.

So since we love Belgian beers – including monastic ones – and with our faith association, we decided to name the brewery in the same vein as the rich brewing traditions of monks in Belgium.

BUT... we are not Belgian... we are not monks... we are not merely copying well-known monastic beers... we are not limited to the same ingredients as such beers... Hence, we are just MONK-ISH.

We are who we are.

 

we're in business...

sorry again for the silence, but it has been a very, very, very busy few months trying to get things ready to 1) start production, and 2) opening the tasting room.

we brewed our first batch on Feb. 12. and since then have brewed a total of 5 batches. batch #1 has been kegged and we have started to sell to accounts.

having batch #1 kegged we frantically opened the tasting room last week. thanks to everyone who stopped by to support us! stay tuned for an official grand opening....

eventually we will have consistent hours, but in the meantime, check out the "TASTING ROOM" page for a current schedule of hours. or follow us on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for updates.

See you at the tasting room soon!

(click here for directions)

quick update: malt mill and auger

we are still moving along in getting the place ready for brewing beer and having people in the tasting room. we are optimistic that we will brew our first batch next month (Janurary 2012).

these past few days I have set up the malt mill in its place. (not the most ideal place, but it works.) The mill crushes the malt which allows the extraction of sugar from the barley.

I also installed the auger system which uses a screw auger in a PVC tube to move the crushed grains to the grist case -- which is a holding tank on top of the mash tun vessel.

until the next update ... happy new year!

the malt mill. looks like it is from World War II. At the bottom is the "boot" of the screw auger.

auger system.view over the grist case and motor for the auger.