January is usually a slower month for most microbreweries. It's typically been the time for us to schedule some repairs or upgrade some equipment. Our kettle developed a steam leak last year, and after doing some research I decided it was better to replace it altogether than to try to weld up the leak. So we have a brand new kettle sitting in our back yard, and have been waiting for a good time to install it, hopefully before the old kettle's steam jackets gave out completely. And this is the week I decided to try to install it. We're going to shut down the brewery on Thursday and Friday to try to get the old kettle out and the new kettle in. It's going to be a tight fit, since we have crammed so many tanks into the brewery in the last five years.
We're also launching our beer in Knoxville next week. So the first part of this week has been non-stop bottling and kegging, building the order for our distributor in Knoxville. We're planning on a series of events in Knoxville next week, probably a pub crawl on Tuesday. I'll post more details as we figure out our schedule.
So for all of you hopheads that have been missing the Hop Project series - it's coming back, I swear. We have the hops to do a good bit this year, and after we get through the shutdown to install the new kettle, I plan on brewing a big batch of Hop Project and getting it out around town as well as our taproom. We also plan on bottling a limited run of the Hop Project as the next installment in our Brewmaster's Reserve series.