Our business plan is ready to shop around! We still have a small amount of revising to do, but I don't expect that to change as the fundraising process generates feedback. Jane is taking over the business plan tweaks while I assemble an investment offering. I use the word 'assemble' instead of 'write' because I'll be stealing most of its content from the investment documents of two other breweries.
I haven't bought any hops yet, primarily because most of the ones for sale were grown in 2007. Brewers are selling off their old stashes while the 2008 crop comes in. Properly stored year-old hops would be fine if I needed them right now, but I don't want to be using them next summer. I met with James from Gorst Valley Hops a couple of weeks ago, and it looks promising that I'll be able to buy all of my citrusy American hops from him next fall. At the risk of digressing, he's a horticulturist who's more interested in turning Wisconsin farmers onto hop growing than he is in growing them himself. His main reasons for growing them right now are to prove their worth and to test a mobile processing facility that he's building. It was pretty awesome to show him my beer list and hear him say "I can get you that" almost every time I mentioned a weird ingredient. He even knows some used equipment dealers.
It's been a while since I talked about pilot brewing. First off, my beer fridge is working again! A sloppy moisture control vs. energy efficiency switch is a much better problem to have than a fridge that's actually broken. 'Nuff said. The second mint porter tasted awesome, except when I drank it too cold. Low temperature gave it an unpleasant shaprness - I still believe a hop/mint interaction is involved, and I'll name CO2 as a suspect as well - but the beer is basically a dessert at "cool but not cold" temperatures. Despite it's warm leanings, the beer made an excellent custard float. Much better than the first batch. Reducing the beer on the stove to use as a syrup, however, did not taste good. Holy bitterness! Although I reduced the hops dramatically, the beer wasn't too sweet. I suspect the mint lends its own bitterness, which balances malt sweetness in a similar manner as hops. Next time, I'm gonna brew the beer with no hops whatsoever. I transfered the maple farmhouse ale into its serving keg on Monday, which tasted very nice in its uncarbonated state. I have a batch of pale ale in bottles as well, which will be given away at a Locksley after-party this Friday, and I brewed a batch of Belgian pumpkin ale last week for my brother's wedding. That's about it for now!