Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An honest review of Bi-Plane Brewery

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a chance to visit the grand opening of Bi-Plane Brewery that opened in Post Falls, Idaho. The brewery is a fairly low-key hometown place that has a small sitting area and a few snacks to enjoy while you sample the brews on tap. When I arrived at the brewery there were a few patrons already sitting at the bar indulging in their own sampling of the new breweries offerings. The barmaid seemed to be very friendly and engaging the customers as to the questions they had on brewing malts and styles.

When I asked what they had on tap, I thought that it was sort of surprising to hear that they only had two of their own brews available at their grand opening. I was told of their troubles getting their license from the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Department and she mentioned that they couldn’t brew anything until they had that license, which they just got that morning and is why they only had two of their own brews on tap. When asked if they planned on putting only their brews on tap in the future or featuring other breweries beers, the barmaid said that they were not sure but will likely continue to feature other breweries creations as well.

Once I got my sampler ordered, which included their Sopwith Camel IPA, their Bristol Bulldog Brown Ale, a Tangerine Wheat Ale from another brewery and a porter from another brewery; I began to analyze their creations. I started with the IPA and noticed that it did have a mild hop aroma and an even milder hop flavor, which was sort of surprising to see in a beer that is typically full of hop flavor and aroma. The IPA didn’t really have a mild malty character that would also classify it in the IPA category, but rather had a smooth crisp finish that you would expect in a Pale Ale. When I sampled their Brown Ale, I thought that this beer was a little mild on the malt flavor also, but overall it was a good beer. The other two beers I sampled seemed to have a little bit more flavor than the ones produced by this brewery, which I may go back for in the future.

When I was done sampling the brews, I was invited to have a tour of their brewing setup in the back. They were using a Sabco Brew Magic system that included three kegs, one for the hot liquor, one for the Mash and the third for boiling the sweet wort. I thought that the system wasn’t very far away from what I am slowly acquiring supplies to make, which is a Three Tiers to Beer system. One of the things I saw at the brewery was the large exhaust hood that they had over their system, which I thought would be a great idea to incorporate into my own home brewery if I wanted to move my setup to indoor brewing. The other thing that they had was a large temperature controlled walk in refrigerator, which I don’t think I will be able to incorporate into my home brewery any time soon, but would love to get later in life.

My overall thoughts of this brewery were that they need to work on honing their own recipes and eventually feature more than two of them on tap. I would recommend using a little more bold of an approach and go real hoppy, real strong or start incorporating spices that could boost their brews overall impressions.

I do have to pay my respect to this brewery though. They sure are doing a revolutionary thing for the area and for home brewers, which is starting a nano-brewery with a simple home brew setup.

Visit the brewery and tell me what you thought:

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1 comment:

  1. Bill, They have started to add a few more of their own brews to the taps.

    We were in there yesterday and they had three, (we had just missed the Pale Ale as they had run out of it yesterday or there would have been 4). I am with you on their brews: IPA needs way more hops for my taste and the Brown was passable, but they need to step out of the box a little.

    Didn't like the Apricot Ale at all, but I am not a big fan of mild ale's or ones with fruit in them, so no surprise there.

    Currently this would be a good place to take someone you were just introducing to craft beer, but wouldn't recommend taking a true craft beer enthusiast too until they get a bit more adventurous:)