Big Things A-Brewin’ at Triskelion Brewing Company
***Some breaking news and a beer named after an angel’s body part
While talking with Triskelion Brewing co-owners Jonathan and Becky Ayers recently, I filled up seven pages of notes about their glorious brewing plans. And trust me, with the seemingly endless supply of new breweries and breweries in the works, it is easy to get underwhelmed. I mean what can be new or different anymore? I quickly found out with Triskelion there is plenty ‘new’ and ‘different’ to discuss.
“Everything down to the last detail in this brewing project has been planned from the get go. When you build two structures – the brewhouse and the taproom from the ground up you have that luxury,” Jonathan explains. “The brewhouse is about as automated as you can get. The computer automation will save me countless hours of guesswork and grunt work, allowing me to spend my time developing and refining recipes.” As Jonathan takes me on a tour of the brewhouse he points to where the 7-barrrel fermenters will go. Along with the 3½ barrel mash tun, he’ll be able to produce up to 14 barrels of beer each day. “I had the whole system custom designed and built by Deutsche Beverage Technology out of Charlotte. It is essentially a plug and play system that allows for major expansions down the road. I’ll admit having something made to order takes longer, but should be well worth it in the future.”
I can see with 2,400 square feet dedicated to the brewhouse and lab there is plenty of room for growth. Jonathan then leads me to the future lab. This room like the brewhouse looks nearly complete save the equipment. “I wanted to have a full lab here for cell testing, yeast propagation, consistency, quality control, and to test for contamination. These are all behind the scenes aspects of brewing that can make or break a beer, or brewery,” Jonathan adds. Back in the brewhouse Jonathan sees me look up. “Yep. That’s a real Big Ass fan. I love it! One of our best investments!”
***And now for the breaking news…
“When we changed our original plan of having one combined building for the both brewhouse and taproom, it meant not having a taproom until next spring or even summer. We wanted to make sure the brewhouse was completed first. Since we didn’t want folks to wait that long to enjoy our beers we decided to construct a tasting room right inside the brewhouse.” Jonathan continues by telling me that the tasting room will be temporary until the actual taproom building is complete. It will have 12 taps and all the equipment can be moved across the lot and once the taproom is done. We continue the tour to the future biergarten and taproom which are both in the earliest of construction phases.
Jonathan gets excited when discussing the biergarten. “Like the taproom, we want the biergarten to have a modern look. We want people to feel like they are on a rooftop bar. Plus, we’ll include a large outdoor stage for live music and other events.” The taproom when complete will have two stories with 2,500 square feet on the lower level and additional 1,800 square feet upstairs. Each level will have 30 taps. The tap lines will run from one floor to the next providing for the same exact beers on both levels. The downstairs will be the main public taproom space and include a small stage, while the upstairs will have a separate bar and will provide space for overflow. The upper level will also be available for clubs, civic groups, and private parties to rent for a very small fee.
“We want to keep the second floor available for a very low cost. Nobody in the area is doing that right now. If you want to have a corporate retreat, or a private game watch party with your friends, you’ll be able to do that here. You’ll even have your own private bartender.”We head back to the brewhouse doing our best to avoid the heavy equipment. We are joined by Jonathan’s wife and co-owner Becky, along with Matt Broadway, who is a friend of the Ayers. He also happens to be a published author, and the guy behind most of their social media marketing efforts. Becky and Matt are in the middle of staging an Instagram photo involving a toilet. I ask Becky if she is working full time at the brewery yet. “Very soon. Although I have been very involved since the home brewing days. While my official titles may be Co-owner and CFO, I sometimes feel that I am the controller of shenanigans around here,” Becky adds.
While tempted, I decide to not ask about the toilet photos. Instead I ask Becky and Jonathan about the styles of beer they plan to have onboard. With 30 taps I can’t even guess.
Jonathan quickly responds, “I definitely will be lagering. I respect traditional styles so in addition to the lagers, you’ll see a few IPAs, an ESB, a Scotch Ale, etc., but I really like to dig deep into brewing history, cherry pick some of the old styles, combine them with newer styles, techniques, and ingredients creating all new styles. For example, I have one beer that is a fusion of an old Norwegian style beer with a modern-day IPA. And Becky who has become an excellent brewer over the years, developed a new style that we all love so much we affectionally call it Angel’s Taint!” Becky laughs again and explains that when she made this beer she started off with their basic blonde ale, dry hopped it, and added a raspberry puree to it. When one of their friends tried it for the first time he remarked that it was ‘like drinking from an Angel’s Taint’ and the name stuck.Triskelion’s brewing equipment is due to show up by the end of September. October will be for equipment installation and permits, and they hope to have the brewhouse and tasting room open by late November or early December. They are looking at late spring to early summer for the separate taproom opening. You can connect with and follow Triskelion’s progress (thanks to Matt Broadway) on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.