Calibrating the Beer Wall

is it beer in the milk jug

We have six serving tanks and six keg lines, each with its own beer line. Each beer line requires calibration to ensure that each ounce of beer registered by the system is precisely one ounce of beer poured. To calibrate the self-serve beer wall, you need beer. Well, obviously you need beer – right?

Rick Weber of Table Tap, said, “We will be ready to calibrate the beer wall tomorrow and we will need cold beer”. The question on our minds was- what happens to uncalibrated beer?

The answer: it goes through the system and then drains into a bucket, milk jug, or other receptacle. It was then further clarified that we needed a half barrel keg full of beer that we were, more than likely, never going to drink.

16 gallons is a lot of beer to sacrifice for calibration. After all, we currently have so few kegs of Athentic Beer*, and it was a struggle to think of “my precious” going into a bucket and then down a drain.

Weber must have seen the anguish in the situation and quickly stated, “any beer will do. Go get a half barrel keg of the cheapest beer you can find and bring ice. It will need to be chilled.”

So off Paul Skinner went to the Five Points Bottle Shop. Skinner promptly went up to the counter and said emphatically, “I will take a half barrel keg of the cheapest beer you have”. It was said with so much gusto and enthusiasm that the young lady that was working seemed to think he was asking for the best beer they had available. She started to show me the list of premium keg beers, when he said again, “I will have a half barrel keg of the cheapest beer you have!” She quickly exchanged the list she had just given me with a new one, entitled “Discount Keg Beer”. Now we were talking…

Two discount kegs caught my eye; one for $39 and another for $45. Wow – now that is some cheap beer. Considering that the keg deposit by itself was $75. You can only find gems like this in a college town. The $39 keg was nowhere to be found (bummer- someone else must be either calibrating a system or there might have just been a huge football game in town), so we ended up with the slightly more expensive one.

The lady that was helping Skinner to fill out the required paperwork for the keg deposit asked if he would be drinking the beer at the same address as listed on the driver’s license. Skinner gave her a perplexed look and said, “Drinking the beer? No, I am actually going to pour it down the drain.” Well – that statement caught the attention of everyone standing within earshot at Five Points. Apparently, this is not something that you hear every day in a package store.

He went on to explain how we needed to the beer for calibration of our self-serve beer wall at the Athentic Brewing Company and she seemed much happier, knowing that he was not some kind of crazy prohibitionist.

As he was transporting the keg of beer back across town to the Athentic brewery, he got to thinking that the first beer to be poured in our new craft brewery was going to be a cheap macro beer and started chuckling.

*Note: Athentic Beer was previously brewed at the Akademia Brewing Company

Athentic Alliance

A membership card to Athentic Brewing Company allows you to skip the line when you come into the brewery and start your beer experience faster and more efficiently. Your card is already registered to your account and money can be preloaded. Permanent cards are free but limited in what they do. An Alliance card allows for more freedom.  Purchase here!

We are offering a special membership package for $25. While the permanent card is free, this paid package allows you to get a few perks prior to opening and allows you to set up your account early so that you can be ready to go day one. This will give the card owner:
– One free, limited edition shirt (mailed to you prior to opening or it may be picked up after opening in person)
– Invitation to our opening reception the night before our grand opening
– One sticker
– Introductory newsletter
– 10% discount on all merchandise bought with card
– Invitations to member only events (to occur once a quarter)
– Ability to pre-buy tickets (up to 2) for ticketed events
– The ability to be personally greeted by the beer wall with the name, or alter ego, of your choice

You may be wondering what these special member only events are. Well, these events change dates and styles but the first one is planned for October 2. This event will include:
– Industry expert to give a talk on beer
– Nibbles and beer provided by the brewery
– Light music
Other member only events will be similar in that there will be nibbles and beer but might be special beer release parties, shows, or other similar things. The point of this is to give back to our members and create a community of like minded individuals.

The Beer Wall

It’s ok to be self serving.

It’s a pretty freeing concept once you decide to take the plunge. When it comes to beer, you should be in control what you want to try, how much you want, and when you want to drink it. By being self serving, you control all these aspects. Once you start, it will be hard to go back to any other way of drinking.

The concept is pretty straightforward: you hand over your credit card (much like opening a tab), get a card with a chip that keeps track of how much beer you’ve poured, and then make your way over to the wall of taps to see what looks appealing. Screens above the taps list what’s being poured at each one, and you can touch the screen to reveal a description of the beer, ABV, and price per ounce. You can pour as much or as little as you like. There are glass rinsing stations on each end of the set of taps so you can refresh your glass between beers or beer styles. As you pour, you can see how many ounces you’ve got and the cost for that beer, along with your total. After 32 ounces you’re cut off until you check in with a host, a measure to prevent over serving inebriated patrons.

At Athentic Brewing Company, we also have another method called the “Athentic Alliance.” This is a free membership club that allows you to have a permanent card that is registered to your account. This allows you to pre load the card with any amount of money and use it at the beer wall and for merchandise in the store. Membership also allows you to skip the line when you walk in and go straight to the ID check station. Members receive additional perks such as member only events, discounts on ticketed events and merchandise, and more. To learn more about the card, you can go here.

And, if you are afraid of missing the interaction with the bartender- don’t worry. There are Beer Ambassadors present that are available to talk beer with you and help you find the right beer for your tastes and mood. They are also available to help you with the pouring, the transactions, and any problems that might occur since they won’t be trying to pour perfect pints at the same time.

Pouring your own beer is pretty fun. The golden liquid pouring down the side of a glass is one of the prettiest things someone can see. Not having to wait in stacked lines hoping to be noticed by a bartender is a thing of beauty.