18 Jan 2012 @ 9:36 PM 

Herein lies one of the things that keeps me up at night.

Now that Mystery lays on the cusp of opening, I find myself faced with an interesting new challenge: the words “highly anticipated” that I keep on seeing pop up in articles and on social media.

On one hand – holy shit that’s awesome. It’s mind-blowingly flattering to know that people are looking forward to the opening of Mystery and to know that people are excited about the beer that we’re going to make. I can’t help but think that it’s at least in part to the fact that we’ve been out and about in the community, sharing samples whenever possible, and generally trying to build buzz.

Here’s the thing that worries me: As soon as we open our doors and roll out onto the market, we graduate from pre-opening buzz. How do you keep that wow? We’re planning on releasing some beers that we’re excited about, but, y’know.. it’s just beer. It’s good beer, but it’s not like we’re releasing gold-plated eaglets bedazzled with elf tears. Will the anticipation built in pre-opening buzz live up to a blonde ale, even if it’s a great one? What if it’s not spectacular enough?

A few months ago, when I participated in a charity event called Cask for a Cure, I found myself in a preview of the situation that I imagine I will find myself in shortly. The event was originally going to be just a cask from Mystery and a cask from Haw River Farmhouse Ales. We were contacted by the organizer of the event saying, “Hey – so, what if we try to get casks from these other people who are starting breweries?” and my first thought was: “Man, I’m not even open yet and I’m already not exciting enough; they need someone newer.” In the end, it worked out great and I met some great new guys who are getting into the industry, but it was initially very intimidating.

It’s a little bit of what I’m worried about in the marketplace, though it’s something that I’ve seen other breweries weather and handle well. It’s exciting to see the spotlight sweep your way, and I kind of wish we could revel in it. I don’t think it’s something you can chase. You run the risk of seeming gimmicky if you’re constantly hitting the market with the most alcoholic beer ever made, or the 1000 IBU beer, or a beer made with live turtles or something like that.

Right now, I think the only thing we can do is just keep on making great beer and hoping that it’s enough to keep us a little corner of the wow and to try, every once in a while, to nudge back into it with a release.

Until we lose that wow, though, I think we’re going to enjoy it. See you on the market soon.

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Tags Categories: brewery, new beer, startup Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 18 Jan 2012 @ 09 36 PM

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Last year about this time I held a beer class – it began as the idea to make a Certified CiceroneTM study group for an upcoming exam, but others wanted to take it to just learn about beer, and it sounded like a great idea. Now, by popular demand, it’s back.

This time, we’ll have the advantage of experience under our belt, and we’ll have a much more focused class. If enough people in the class are interested in the Certified CiceroneTM exam, we will arrange to have an exam offered at the end of it, however the course covers material well above and beyond the CiceroneTM exam. I don’t teach to the test – I want people to understand all aspects of beer.

Here’s a loose syllabus:

Week 1: Intro, Beer Ingredients, How to Taste Beer, style tastings.
Week 2: Hot-side of Brewing (from milling through mashing, boiling and lautering), Off-flavor tasting.
Week 3: Cold-side of Brewing (yeast and fermentation), style tastings.
Week 4: Post-fermentation brewery-side handling (clarification, filtration, souring, and conditioning). Off-flavor tasting.
Week 5: Beer packaging, shipment, storage, and aging. Style tastings.
Week 6: Serving beer: draught systems, casks, bottles, glassware, and the rest. Off-flavor tastings.
Week 7: Style history and tastings.
Week 8: Beer and food. Questions, and review. Style tastings.

The class will run Monday evenings starting at 7PM at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough, NC starting on January 30th. There will be multiple weeks off through the course (when I’m busy). The course will end in April.

Join us! We will have a maximum enrollment of 16 people, the course costs $150. Payment is due on the first day of class.

Pre-Requisites: None, but you’ll probably be happier if you are at least somewhat familiar with beer and are a Certified Beer ServerTM.

Questions? E-mail Mystery Brewing Company.

Use this form to save your seat. Since there are limited seats, please only reserve a seat if you mean to use it.

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Categories: cicerone, Mystery Brewing Company
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 02 Jan 2012 @ 01 20 PM

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