As our whole team has stressed before, thank you. We’ve done our best to express gratitude for the pints and flights shared since opening, but have been searching for a way to *really* give back. A way to actively engage with our neighborhood, our city, and, most importantly, you cool cats. We’ve received a ton of requests to do just that, but haven’t been able to meet demand without stretching ourselves thin.
Oh boy. According to the calendar it’s March, and that means the last few months just absolutely disappeared. And accordingly to our blog, my last post was in November. Whoops. Hello again!
Things have been absolutely amazing and crazy and wonderful and stressful these last few months since opening. We are completely flattered by the turnout to the taproom, and absolutely amazed every time we talk to someone who has had our beer on tap, purchased our cans, or trekked to the taproom in the snow just to get a growler.
Whether you've followed this project from the start (hi mom!), or just picked up on it a few weeks ago, you've probably gathered that our timeline is always way too optimistic, and we've been delayed more times than would be appropriate to count. However, the construction is just about over, and I can confidently say that the taproom will open soon. Like very very soon.
Holy hops - what an amazing last month it's been!
First of all, a huge thank you to everybody who has come to the growler counter, visited our booth at a festival, or sat at a bar and ordered a pint of Lamplighter - it's the most amazing feeling in the world to have the opportunity to (finally!) share our beer with the neighborhood and beyond, and we cannot say enough thank you's to everyone who has supported us so far.
It's certainly been a whirlwind few weeks, complete with many late nights brewing, cleaning, painting, and eagerly awaiting that first time we can share kegs and growlers. The space is starting to look spiffy (yes - it's still a construction site - but we're getting there!), and we're happy to have six beers crashed, carbed, and raring to go (and more beer on the way). Here's the official line-up that you can expect to see on tap around Cambridge and at our growler counter when we open!
This has been a three year roller coaster ride of good fortune, ridiculous road bumps (I’m looking at you underground oil tanks), and a lot of time spent waiting on some sort of license, some sort of variance, or some sort of inspection. We’ve had a laundry list of odd side jobs to keep the bills paid, quite a few moments where we wondered if this would ever actually happen, and quite a few more where we thought we were on track and then something screwed our timeline.
Construction marches on as we enter the final stretch of brewery side renovations! Here's the status (with some very precise percentages to mark completion): Steam: 50% (boiler install is in progress - should be done early next week), Ingredients: 50% (orders for malt, hops, and yeast are all lined up - we just have to pull the trigger and apologize to our credit card), Walls: 55% (framing is up, sheetrock and drywall goes up this week), Glycol: 62.3% (piping is in the works, chiller is awaiting its move to the roof)
After our first few months of demo and renovations at 284 Broadway, we thought construction was destined to be a very slow and painful process, and we had resigned ourselves to opening someday, but probably not any point soon. However, the last few weeks have proved that very serious and very quick construction progress is actually possible for a brewery (and here we give a big shout out to the fantastic plumbers, framers, electricians, HVAC guys, masons, and welders who have been busting their butts to help us open), and we are shockingly not too far away from firing up the pilot system.
What’s the only beverage that may be as good as beer? This isn’t a trick question. Clearly it’s coffee.
And what’s the best way to enjoy coffee? Again, not a trick. Clearly it’s in a brewery taproom, while munching a pastry and deciding what beer you’re going to order when the clock strikes noon.
See where I’m going with this? A few months ago, our friend Alisha approached us with a business idea – she wanted to open a coffee and pastry shop, and she wanted to do it in the Lamplighter taproom. Obviously we said yes.
Things continue to press forward at 284 Broadway, and, after five months of demo, ceiling repair, and under-slab work, we are now ready to start building walls, hooking up tanks, and making the final steps towards brewing!
Though I hesitate to toss out the word "timeline" and "projected date" based on our inaccurate track record, I just can't resist. Our last big equipment delivery arrives Friday, and our floors will be sealed next Wednesday, so we are a hop, skip, and a jump away from standing the equipment upright, passivating the tanks, and doing some real, honest to goodness brewing
Just about everyone we’ve talked to, emailed, called, Skyped, Facebook messaged, tweeted, etc. etc. has asked us what in the world is taking so long. We’re asking the same question. You’re preaching to the choir folks, preaching to the choir.
So for full transparency, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to the hiccups, the woes, the hurdles, the speed bumps, and the overall ridiculousness that has been this brewery construction.
Month 4 of reno is complete! (and we even got an extra day due to leap year! How exciting!)
We started to see some serious changes in the building this month – mostly because massive holes were cut into the floor to allow for trench drains and plumbing. And things are right on track as we enter March. As the plumbing wizards prep the trenches in anticipation of laying lots of fancy pipes, we’ve started to prep the floor to be sloped and sealed, and assist as equipment rolls through the door
We’ve talked about beer, and equipment, and renovations, and licenses, and all the good stuff that goes into making a magical little brewery in downtown Cambridge. But we haven’t talked even a bit about our taproom, and the plans we’re putting into motion to create a beer haven at 284 Broadway.
But the time has come to discuss, and its mostly because the good folks of the Cambridge License Commission granted our Pouring Permit, Common Victualer’s License, and Entertainment License last night.
January marked the end of ceiling repair (can we get a “thank goodness!”), and the beginning of our actual brewery renovations. And with that in mind, things are still moving forward on schedule; we plan on dedicating February to getting the brewery side of 284 Broadway ready for some sexy stainless steel tanks, and we expect our various pieces of equipment (brewhouse, cellar tanks, glycol unit, boiler, air compressor, cold room panels, etc.) to show up in early March.
Over the course of our test batching days, we’ve made almost everything. “Juice Bomb” American IPA’s, infinitely drinkable Belgian styles, fruit beers, dark beers… if it exists in the American Craft Brewer’s repertoire somewhere in the US, we’ve tried our hands at it.
It’s one of the great joys of craft businesses like brewing, or baking, or owning a restaurant – we have the freedom to create and explore and try new things, and then to be surprised, pleasantly (or not, sometimes!) at the outcome.
Although we’re already deep into month 3 of renovations, I figured it was time to recap all the exciting things that happened throughout December. There was additional demo! There was power washing! There were even more dumpsters of debris that rolled out of the building! And most of the month was dedicated to addressing the water damaged concrete on the ceiling, and we're glad to announce that the building is only 3-4 days away from being water-damage free.
So, slowly but surely, 284 Broadway is feeling more and more like a brewery, and less and less like a car garage/concrete box.
Haven't you always wanted to read our thrilling start-up story (leases! LLC's! loans! oh my!) in comic strip form?
We figured as much. And so, in honor of an absolutely wonderful 2015 and in anticipation of an even better 2016, we present to you:
Lamplighter Brewing Co.: The Start-Up Story Comic Strip
The building started as an auto repair shop, and is (somewhat) gracefully transforming into the beautiful brick and concrete industrial space of our brewing dreams. Ripping down the insulation has exposed gorgeous high ceilings, skylights, and a bit more water damage throughout the structural beams than we would have liked. Tearing down the haphazard interior cinder block walls has opened up the floor plan, made room for the tasting area and bathrooms, and made us sincerely question building codes from 40 years ago.