Grüß Gott! I'm Nate Olewine, the lead brewer at the Devils Backbone Outpost brewery in Lexington, VA. With construction efforts in full swing, I recently had a chance to visit Bavaria and see first hand what we're all feverishly making preparations for...the arrival of our brewing equipment.
Upon arrival in Munich, I was picked up by a representative of Rolec and driven to Chieming, a town nestled closely to the Bavarian Alps. Uwe Janssen, part of Rolec's Sales and Marketing department, did not initially strike me as a Formula One driver. However, he quickly put that notion to bed, as we screamed down the Autobahn towards Chieming at speeds in excess of 160 mph. He reassured us these were typical speeds, and kindly joked about pale-faced customers and their first trips on the Autobahn. I laughed off the notion immediately, while discreetly checking my skin tones in the side view mirror. Ahhh, flush as can be. Virginia could use one of these....
Arriving in Chieming, we made a quick trip into Rolec to meet the rest of the team. We were greeted with two Bavarian specialties: Weißwurst and Weißbier. For those that know me well, I can enjoy a deliciously cooked sausage and beer at perhaps any time of the day, so this was a welcomed surprise. Its also a comforting fact, being a brewer, to see how beer is a part of everyday Germany, it's a part of their culture, their identity. It is typical for people to enjoy a beer at most meals (including lunch), and there's a sense of pride in drinking and supporting the local product. This is certainly an idea we're trying to foster not only at Devils Backbone, but in America as a whole. Good beer can be enjoyed locally.
Following the meet and greet, we headed out for a quick and totally unnecessary bite of schnitzel (I would later go on to try every type of schnitzel Germany has to offer) before making our way to the fabrication facility. The shop is owned and operated by Pöschl, the stainless steel fabricators employed by Rolec to construct the various brewing and fermentation vessels we purchased. As the garage doors ascended we were given our first glance at the heart of our new brewery. The stainless glistened in the late afternoon sun, and as any brewer can tell you, the sight of finely polished stainless steel is a beautiful thing. Seeing in person what has only been on paper for the past few months was a gratifying experience. The welders and fabricators take great pride in their work, and the craftsmanship is evident from the beginning and second to none. Like a kid in a candy store, I walked alongside Karl Lechner, one of the two founders of Rolec (Wolfgang Roth being the other founder), as we discussed the finepoints of each vessel. The attention to detail was staggering, no stone was left unturned. I left knowning Rolec and Pöschl have truly put together a showcase brewery for the Outpost, something we'll be proud to call our own.
Within the next month, all of the brewing equipment will have made the journey across the Atlantic and have arrived in Lexington. We look forward to its arrival and installation, we hope you do to...