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We recently decided to tackle the challenge of designing and building a better AERONAUT website. Our main goals were to increase the amount and accessibility of useful information, and to improve the overall experience for customers who may choose to visit us from the comfort of their own home, place of employment, land transport vehicle, or wherever else they may find themselves suddenly curious about what’s happening over here. The launch page we hacked together in a few hours a year ago just wasn’t cutting it anymore—too much information was scattered or wholly unavailable.

Mobile-friendly event listings

Gather close, dear reader, and let me tell you a tale of our latest saga: the makings of our first ever production batch of Lagerfeuer, a smoked butternut squash rauchbier. Though we brewed this beer in September of this year, the story really starts back in September 2013.

Construction hadn’t even begun on Aeronaut Brewing Co., but we were hard at work planning recipes.  The whole team was sitting in a coffee shop, griping about how we were so overwhelmed by all of the pumpkin beers that had proliferated in recent years. We all wanted a nice autumn...

O brave new world that has such berries in it! Our beer experimentation has taken us to strange new places. This weekend, we are introducing our sumac beer, which we’ve named “Field Day” for reasons that should become apparent. The concept for sumac beer came about around a year ago, back when we were still prototyping beers in the backyard, sans brewery. The summer was ending, and we were looking for seasonal fruits to add to our beers. During our long drives through central and western Mass., we’d pass endless rows of sumac plants, with their drupes of berries pointing skyward like...

Making a fresh-hopped beer is in many ways like performing an organ transplant (except lower stakes). It’s all about timing and coordination. The whole object is to get the hops harvested and into a beer in as short a time as possible, while handling them ever so gently. We decided to make an IPA featuring Centennial hops freshly harvested from nearby Four Star Farms.

The hops are rolling in!

Four Star awesomely invited us, along with a bunch of local brewers, to check out the farm and observe the hop harvest. They’ve got this...

It’s that time of year! Hops are getting heavy on the bine and need to be cut loose. Hops are widely known to be one of the four classic beer ingredients (along with yeast, barley malt and water), but are still probably the most mysterious to many beer drinkers. I believe the reason is that hops do not typically appear in other everyday items (except maybe my all-natural deodorant). In contrast, everyone deals with water, most people have used yeast for bread, and many have probably eaten barley as a whole grain. Hops are kind of odd, but also wonderful. Hops give beer...

drafts1 To serve our beer in its freshest state, we decided to put our draft lines right into the side of our cold storage box. It ended up being a fun project for us, which we’ve now done twice–one for each set of draft lines. Here are some photos of the process.

As many new breweries are wont to do, we at Aeronaut have taken a page from the homebrewing world and incorporated it into our brewery. I’m talking about a movable draft fridge that had its beginnings as a sort of kegerator (or ‘keezer’ as they are sometimes called).

Back when we were prototyping around 12 recipes per month, we started to need lots of space for storage and dispense of those homebrews. This led to us building a cool fridge that would double as a bar. It was a modest amount of woodworking ,  but it came out...

As a brewery with a taproom, we have lots of draft lines and they need to stay clean for the beer to taste right. We have spent some time putting together a simple line cleaning system and we figured we’d share our efforts for the homebrewers among you who are wishing to maintain a similar level of quality on draft lines.

The basic idea here is to have caustic line cleaning solutions running through the draft lines continuously for 15 minutes or so,  in order to clean out any sticky stuff in the tubing or faucets. Then,...

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