After several weeks of planning, building and brewing, the first Danger Shed “Free Beer Friday” event kicked off last night with great success. Check out the work we did to get there!
Building the Bar
While we make heavy use of the taps built into “Tortuga” (our draftbox/gas system), we wanted to get that “brewery” feel of ordering your beer from across a bar. The Shed is far too small and crowded for an inside bar, so we decided that an outside bar and draft system was the best (and coolest) choice. John headed up refurbishing an old standing desk, adding a beautiful dark-stained and glossy look to the now official Danger Shed bar. He matched the look of the tap back board giving the bar a (relatively) professional look and feel.
As John headed up the woodwork, Patrick started getting things together for the draft system. Holes were drilled through the back board, shed wall, and support board on the inside of the shed. The beer shanks (the heavy metal tubes that beer faucets attach to) went through all three layers and added the support for the whole contraption. With the shanks and boards in place, we ran the draft lines through three newly drilled holes in the back of Tortuga. Wrapping the lines in insulation helps prevent foamy beer from the faucets.
A drip tray and tube added the finishing touch to the system. With the bar complete, we can now pour three different 5-gallon kegs of beer or mead with enough room for people to hang around the bar and chill in the backyard.
Brewing the Beer and Mead
The first Free Beer Friday draft list included two ales and a mead. Since mead does well with a little bit of aging, we brewed that first. Mead is a honey wine – but unlike traditional grape wine mead has a relatively large alcohol content range. We decided to go “light” and brew a session mead (low ABV). The recipe included 10 pounds of local Louisiana honey – and since we are Danger Shed Ales & Mead, we decided to throw in a “beer” twist by adding hops and fermenting the mead with beer yeast. The result was a pleasantly dry, crisp and refreshing mead with only a hint of honey sweetness.
After the mead we brewed two batches of beer, both from the same parent recipe that we are currently developing. The beer is a session American Pale Ale – low ABV, slight hop bitterness, and a light copper color. Both batches used the same grains but differed in the hop choice and fermentation temperatures.
Free Beer Friday
With the bar built and the beer and mead brewed, we spent the day of the event prepping. Philip took charge on cleaning up the yard and helped Patrick keep a close eye on the two pork butts we had in the smoker. The weather was typical of south Louisiana in July – hot, humid and rainy. Fortunately, the weather cleared up just in time for 6 o’clock when we started pouring beer.
We kept the invite list small (given the current situation) but still hit our max capacity of 10 guests who swung by throughout the evening. Everybody seemed impressed by the project overall and enjoyed trying what we were pouring from the three taps. The 9:30 last call came soon and we quickly cleaned up before being carried away by mosquitoes.
Our tentative plan is to do “Free Beer Friday’s” every three months. That conveniently puts the next one in October (Danger Shed Oktoberfest, anyone?!) If you are reading this and were at Free Beer Friday, thank you for coming out and supporting this project. We appreciate the feedback, donations, and enthusiasm everyone has shared.
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