• Russian River new brewhouse equipment New Russian River Brewhouse Sets Sail

    proost blog 11.07.17


    Left Bank Scheldt River, Antwerp, Belgium. October 30-31, 2017

    Big day in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, especially busy last week because the entire new brew house (75 bbl CW) for the Russian River Brewing Company was being transferred from the river barges to the ocean liner at the MCS terminal on the left bank of the river Scheldt in Antwerp. The next phase will be to sail the Atlantic, travel through the Panama Canal and back up the Pacific to the Port of Oakland at San Fransisco Bay.

    In the last six weeks – from the beginning of September to mid October – with all the vessels (mash tun, lauter tun, kettle and whirlpool) ready, the next phase of all pre-piping and pre-wiring was in full swing at the Ziemann plant. It is the goal to have as little welding work as possible done on site in the brew house area. This does mean that a lot of packaging preparations need to be made to make sure that none of the vessels get damaged by salt water or other equipment loaded on the ships. All is supervised by a logistics firm specialized in this type of cargo.

    All the equipment was loaded on a barge at the Ziemann facility in Burgstadt at the River Main. The barge sailed down the River Main, connected on over the Rhine and then took the inter-coastal waterway down to the Port of Antwerp, a trip of a total of 2 days. The ocean liner will take another 4-5 weeks to make it to the West Coast of the US. The pictures show the different vessels within the wooden areas, the entire process piping mounted and ready under the vessels in between the vessel legs.

    The same operation will happen two more times. First, all the Ziemann fermenters will make the trip by the end of the year, barge to Antwerp, ship to Oakland. All the open top fermenters will be inspected at the end of January 2018 and then make the trip by truck to Bremerhaven and then ocean liner to Oakland as well with an estimated arrival time of mid April in California. We keep you posted!


    proost: [noun] “cheers!” in Flemish; usually said when drinking with friends and family.

  • On the Road with Russian River in Germany


    Michaelismesse, Miltenberg, Germany, September 3, 2017

    We have traveled a long way and are a bit jet-legged. Although we are tired we cannot go to sleep. Vinnie & Natalie Cilurzo, owners of Russian River Brewing Company and I are here for the factory acceptance test (FAT) for the new brew house (75 bbl/90 hl Cold Wort) they are building in Windsor, CA. This is an exciting trip that has been a long time coming!

    To try to get us sleepy, Michael Kurzweil, the GM of Ziemann Burgstadt, is taking us to the Michaelismesse in Miltenberg. A 650 year old tradition here, an event not all that different from a county fair in Colorado, except that people are dressed different – traditional Bavarian dress and there is beer everywhere and for everybody. The event is a big market with a huge beer tent. I guess sales people have been getting thirsty for 650 years, hence the purpose of the beer tent. Now, of course, the beer tent is the main attraction with the band and the market is still there, although smaller then before. Only beer brewed in Miltenberg can be served at the fair so since two years only Faust is served. Our friend Cornelius Faust, third generation brew master, and his cousin Johannes Faust, serve us proudly their beer in the one liter glasses. A wonderful classic, but drier and less malty then what I am used to, Festbier (Octoberfest beer) is what they brewed for this year’s festival. They serve 1,000 hl of this beer in the 10-day festival, so needless to say, the beer was more then drinkable. Prost!

    Ziemann Production Facility, Burgstadt, Germany, September 4, 2017

    I slept well. Vinnie did not. Too much excitement for today! It’s not everyday that you see your new, dream brewhouse for the first time. We go to the Ziemann factory and at Hall 6 all the new brewing vessels for the new Russian River brewery are standing proudly, shining in the middle of hundreds of boxes and crates full of parts. The next step is the pre-piping of all the vessels to create a functioning brew house.

    Lots of excitement for a brand new brew house!

    We start with the mash tun for a detailed review of all the piping orientations and workmanship. Really wonderful to see how well these vessels have been made and although we have not made any beer in them the feeling is good. Special are the “star” designs at the bottom of both Whirlpool and Lauter, eliminating the mild steel support structure you see under conventional brew houses. We delve into more details and at the Lauter we decide to also go into the vessels, Vinnie & Natalie lead the charge. A partly assembled racking device is already in place. The false bottom with slotted plates is fully mounted and ready to do it’s job. A detail that turns out really nice is the decision to polish the entire vessel wall (above and below) the main brewing floor.

    We all feel good – real good – and after review of the 3D model and countless details we go back to the Adler Hotel. Time for dinner and a beer from our friends at Faust! Tonight, we drink the Weizen and Bayerische Hell, great beers, also brewed on a new Ziemann brewhouse.

    Thanks Cornelius & Johannes for the great beer! Thanks Michael and Ziemann team for the great looking brewing vessels! Lets get them safe to the U.S. so we can start brewing more Russian River beers.