Today, we celebrate our 1-year anniversary. With it being the last day of the year, it is only fitting for us to do a bit of a year in review to mark our amazing journey this year. Below are some of the highlights by month over the past year.
January - Our first month open can best be described as beer famine. We were overwhelmed by the fantastic show of support we received from Sacramento at our opening and we were pretty much out of beer. On Jan 1, we were out of everything but Daylight Amber and Soulman Stout. Two weeks later, it was one stout weekend as that was all we had left in stock. But you guys came out and supported us any way. It was surreal to see the entire brewery with Soulman Stout in hand.
February - Was a very big month for us. We rolled out our growlers, the first full batch of our Trein Wrak Belgian IPA and we got to celebrate Sacramento Beer Week with all of you peeps. It was awesome seeing T7 shirts at the opening brew fest even though we had been open less than two months. Beer Week saw events at the brewery, such as Steal the Glass Night, Show Your T7 Love, Pub Trivia and Pints for Sacramento Children’s Home. February also welcomed the arrival of our dishwasher. Before that, all that barware was hand washed. Ugh!! We also moved our first three kegs out of the brewery to off-site accounts at Dads, Pangaea and the Shack.
March - March was finally a month where we were allowed to take a little breather from the chaos of the start-up, but that did last too long. We had a few events at the brewery, including a two-for-one stout night on St. Patrick’s Day.
April - We rolled our our Riot Act Rye Pale Ale to great fan fare. It was so well-received that we will be bringing it back in 2013 as our spring seasonal beer. You can expect to see it again April through June next year.
May - Trein Wrak was re-released due to positive demand and lack of both an IPA and a Pale Ale at the brewery. What brewery in CA opens with out either of these West Coast staples? We’ll get to that later. In May, we also ordered our keg washer and two 15 bbl tanks that were supposed to arrive by July but didn’t make it until November. May also marked West Coast Brew Fest and a third place finish for our Riot Act Rye Pale Ale at the brewery competition. That was our first award received for a T7 beer quickly followed by our second award – Best Brewpub on the KCRA A-List. The organizers of the voting clearly don’t understand what constitutes a brew pub, but we appreciate all the support and advocacy our loyal patrons expressed on our behalf. After being open only five months, this was really awesome.
June - Other than Ryan earning his Southwest A- List status, there wasn’t anything terribly notable that happened in June. Geoff, Becca, Jeanna forgive me if I forgot something here.
July - It started to get really hot in the brewery. We are very thankful to those of your that stuck with us through the heat at the brewery this year. Yes, we will be making climate control measures to reduce the heat inside the brewery by next summer. Trust us, we didn’t like working in our little slice of Florida any more than you enjoyed sitting in it
August - Panic! Yep, we finally rolled out our IPA. It was never intended to become a main release of ours. But the first 7 bbls sold in 2 wks and the numerous requests for more of it, prompted us to re-brew it in September and finally commit to it full time in November. It is quickly becoming our number 1 beer, running neck and neck with Daylight Amber. September was also our first of many beer trains to come. We road the rails with the Sacramento Railroad Museum at the Ales for Rails event. Ryan and Jeanna also left the comfort of SoCal and the airport commute lifestyle for Sacramento, relocating to Hollywood Park. Bye, Bye paper cuts, hello severed fingers and bad back. Ryan became the first full time employee at Track 7. Jeanna also wrapped up her gig teaching kindergartners to become the first part-time employee at Track 7 with the tasks of managing accounts receivable, payroll and on-site events.
September - This was one crazy month. We had never had eight beers on tap before September. But for one weekend, we did it. September releases included more Panic IPA, Galaxy Pale Ale and Tracktoberfest. Speaking of Tracktoberfest, that was one super fun event and we can’t wait till next year. Knee Deep Brewmaster, Jeremy Warren won our first stein-holding contest in a spirited 7:30 minute showdown! The Galaxy Pale Ale was also a beer that was never intended to be. The only reason it was brewed was because of a fresh hop screw-up by Ryan. He wound up sending 40# of fresh hops to his old address in SoCal. He didn’t realize that till the UPS truck didn’t show and the batch of intended beer was already in production. So, he pulled out a box of Australian Galaxy hops that were being saved for a rainy day. Fortunately, the beer came out so well that it will be our 2013 Summer seasonal release. You can expect it July – Sept 2013.
October – Geoff and Ryan traveled to their first GABF as tourists. It was kinda sad, but we were too old (or too tired) to get crazy, but did manage to come into two Sierra Nevada Beer Camp tickets. We did also manage to make it to Oskar Blues and Left Hand Brewing while in CO. Track 7 also released its Belgian Dubbel. This was our first beer that was brewed, intended for a different purpose. Four months earlier, a rather spirited conversation involving a bottle room at Pangaea, Craig from Revolution Wine and Pliny the Younger (Yes, this isn’t a typo. Thank you Rob!) determined that the best use of some previously used Port Barrels would be a Belgian Dubbel. So once the heat subsided and barrels could sit in the brewery at a steady temp, we brewed the Dubbel and racked a portion into Port barrels. The barrel version finally is released tonight, and it doesn’t disappoint. We are extremely proud of our first barrel release!
November - November added our second part-time employee with Becca in a more routine and regular capacity. She left the water world for the beer world and we could be happier that she did! Geoff and Ryan went to a Gold Country Brewer’s Guild Meeting and were convinced to re-brew Trein Wrak. After brewing it again, it was decided to keep it on draft until March as the Winter Seasonal. Finally, our new 15BBL tanks arrived! They sat in the back for a couple weeks until we could put them into service, but they look so much bigger than our little 7BBL tanks that kept us afloat all year. November is also when we released the Almost-Bottomless Growler Club to help subsidize the buildout of our second unit. We at Track 7 Brewing would like to say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to all the members that joined for 2013.
December - We also celebrated with the Sacramento Bartender’s Guild and Templeton Rye at what will hopefully be one of many BBQ and Horseshoe tossing events in Sacramento. Dan Rafferty became our first non-T7 family employee and is easing into his new role very nicely. We stayed really busy trying to keep up with regular production, putting our new tanks into service and building out unit two. While we didn’t get everything we wanted finished in unit 2 on time, we did get the bar and 1 bathroom mostly finished in time for our 1 Year Anniversary. Can’t wait for tonight and the introduction of Left Eye, Right Eye Double IPA, Chocolate Soul Stout and Port Barrel Dubbel. You will not be disappointed.
I apologize for my ramblings, but last night as Geoff and I sat back and sampled a little Left Eye, Right Eye, I couldn’t help but get nostalgic. It’s been a wild and crazy year for us. Faster and bigger in many ways and slower and more arduous than expected in others. Things we thought would take longer to address wound up being finished quicker (e.g. the second unit). Things we thought would be quick and easy to address (e.g. bottle labels) took much longer than envisioned. But, I don’t think any one of us expected to be where we are today so quickly. If not for you Curtis Park, Land Park, Hollywood Park, City Farms specifically and Sacramento more generally, we wouldn’t be. We have the best fans we could have ever asked for!
Being the hard working, never satisfied brewers we are, we have an amazing 2013 lined up for you. Bottles will be released; a collaboration with Knee Deep is days away from being brewed; more special releases, including a Smoked Porter in January just in time for Bacon Week; casks and barrel-aged products too; more collaborations with RevWine and more places to drink our beer outside of Track 7. 2013 will be an even better year and we can’t wait to continue making our own beer history with you. Cheers!