NW Peaks Brewery

New (to us) chest freezer and food banks

So it’s been a while since we’ve written. We’ve been spending our time troubleshooting and fixing things instead of writing about it. One extremely important thing in the brewery is temperature control. This is true for both fermentation and serving/conditioning. Taking care of the latter is the easiest since all you really need is a cold room or refrigerator. The story of the latter and our chest freezer and trip to the food bank after the break.

The new chest freezer (not too exciting). It obviously freezes (exciting), and all the food in bags (NOT to be confused with dead body parts in bags)

We had the notion that a 25 cubic chest freezer would suffice for the refrigeration at the brewery. We were just going to use the one that I had as a kegerator in my basement. I coordinated 4 helpers (it was quite heavy) and moved it to the brewery. When we plugged it in, it started up, but would cool to only ~10 degrees below ambient temperature.

Perusing craigslist and estate sales, we just found a suitable (i.e. affordable) replacement to tie us over until we get an official cold room. The great (if you want to call it that) thing is that when I opened it and checked to see that it was working (it was – and obviously had not been defrosted in decades) it was full of food, and the guy running the estate sale said “and it comes with all the food! … There is a dumpster in the back to dump it all on your way out.” And so we unloaded the food into garbage bags and took the freezer away to the brewery for a couple of days of defrosting.

Food post sorting. I can't believe they were promoting "to the dumster." As much as possible will go to the food bank. Please do your part for the hungry as well.

But about the food … the cost of the food was probably triple what I spent on the freezer: Probably 50 containers of freshly picked fruit/jam, turkey breasts, frozen meals, etc etc. Why would we waste so much food!?!?! So we decided to load the food into the truck as well and took it to the brewery. We wanted to just donate it to a food bank, but the food could not be donated because it was all frozen foods (i.e. not canned non-perishables). After searching, we found that the Volunteers of America will be accepting frozen and fresh foods the week of thanksgiving. Unfortunately the opened containers and fruit won’t be accepted. So we spent a few cold hours separating everything into donation (whatever we could donate), keep (“non-donatables”), and “other” piles.

So the question: do we try to brew something with the raspberries, rhubarb, blueberries, or strawberries? A rhubarb wheat beer? I’d say unlikely, but would love to hear suggestions. … Or are there other donation options for the fruit?

So back to the food bank. We will be donating 3 turkey breasts, a ton of frozen veggies, pumpkin pie, cranberries, and odds and ends. Not a bad bonus from the chest freezer! If you want to contribute but don’t want to coordinate with the food bank, drop things off at the brewery and we’ll deliver it for you (they have limited hours, and they only accept the week of thanksgiving). It’s another great reason to stop in and see the progress at the brewery.

Food aside, at least we have some refrigeration and are now carbonating and chilling our first batches of beer!

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