Novel Brewing Company

Local Small Batch Brewery and Tasting Room in Oakland, CA. :: Tasting Room open Wed-Fri 4pm-10pm, Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-10pm

The Overcoat :: Chapter 7

And so the adventure continues. As we look ahead along this crazy route we have mapped for ourselves, a turn in the road from what I would have pictured happening just five years ago, I imagine the bumps getting smaller. I hope for the bumps to get smaller. Maybe just some rolling hills to make it interesting?

Read More

Even Cowgirls Get The Blues :: Chapter 5

Another day, another unexpected cost. The good news is that we received our building permit from the city of Oakland--the bad news is they require us to get a private sewer lateral certification. While I applaud the efforts of the municipalities involved to save the bay, when I found out about the requirement for our final inspection, I watched as a dark, lighting-filled cloud rolled slowly over my head. The thunder roared, and I was drenched in sweat.  

"In July 2014, EBMUD, the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Piedmont and Stege Sanitary District agreed to a consent decree with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, state and regional water boards, and two community organizations that gives the cities and districts until 2036 to repair and replace sewer lines, reduce the amount of infiltration and inflow and reduce discharges of partially treated sewage into San Francisco Bay during heavy storms."

Skip to the scene where the plumber is using a camera mounted on a steel cable to capture video of the sewer run. Turns out our PSL is made of clay, is old, cracked, and broken.  It will need to be replaced. In the end, this is probably a blessing in disguise. I can't imagine what horrors would have jumped from the shadows if we began brewery operations without knowing about a broken sewer line. Now, it is only a matter of how to pay for it. Tune in next week, for another episode of "So you want to start a brewery?"

Read More

The World According To Garp :: Chapter 4

What does it take to start a brewery? Granted this post is probably premature, but I've learned a ton since putting our plan into action. Everything you read out there is mostly true. It takes a lot of money, hard work, and time, but I think the thing I had to learn the most was a sense of patience. We live in a city where there are a ton of construction projects mushrooming up due to the current extreme growth of Oakland. This means that the people who need to approve your project are probably overworked, and have a limited bandwidth to listen to how your project is different from others, or don't want to hear that certain new legislation was passed which removes requirements on your plan, or that you made a poor business decision and now you need the city to do something to make things better--faster. No, things move at a constant rate and in a certain order, so fall in line, and wait like the others (of course if you have trillions of dollars, I'm sure these cosmopolitan hurdles do not pertain to you). There have been those compassionate souls who have been willing to listen, and there have been those who take the hard line and do not budge.  Patience costs money, but when working on a large (well, large to us) project, it is important to consider things on the entire scale, and not get bogged down on a single item. Choose your battles. Figure out which road blocks are show stoppers and which are only inconveniences. Here are some other bullet points to consider when starting a brewery:

Read More

Paper Towns :: Chapter 3

When I was a kid, my mom would take my sister and I to downtown St. Louis to pick up my stepdad from work. Sometimes--just sometimes--he would be running late, and we got to go in and explore. This was our little adventure, which often started with a stern warning that we should touch nothing because our legs and arms would be cut off. 

Read More

A Frolic Of His Own :: Chapter 2

A move across the Bay to get some extra space was in the works. After several misses, we found a single-family craftsman in Oakland that had a backyard with apple and fig trees, and best of all—a stellar garage with an unfinished bathroom and a concrete floor and drain. I was sold.  From that moment on, the garage—ah I mean Oakland, became our home.

Read More

The Awakening :: Chapter 1

It started in Seattle Washington in 2006. I was working at a video game company--although maybe you could say it went back to my college days, drinking a growler of Shed Mountain Ale after a long day at Stowe, or Long Trails on the apartment stoop after a serious discussion on DFW--shoot, maybe it was the time I made aspirin in Chem lab at UVM, who knows, but the awakening was probably after the first game launch. About six of us went to the area brew on premise, cracked open the bulky binder of recipes, and collectively brewed a beer in honor of the achievement.

Read More