I recently visited Geaghan’s Pub and Brewery with my family and a friend who was back in town on spring break; I had gotten in touch with Andy Geaghan the night before and set up a time for a tour of the brewhouse. We showed up early and had a late lunch, the boneless wings and hand cut fries are excellent and of course I had a couple beers. The Captain Kool IPA is one of my favorites over there and I tried the Roundhouse Porter which was nice and roasty, a really easy drinking porter.
If you are sitting in the main dining area you can look through the windows and see the back of the fermenters and possibly head brewer Jason Courtney hard at work. As I stepped into the brewhouse with Andy the first thing that I noticed was the size of the room, roughly 14 feet wide by 27 feet long with a garage door at the far end. Operations like this one really impress me; this brewhouse was designed to be as efficient as possible in a limited amount of space. On the side of the room closest to the garage door was the grain mill,
5 barrel steam jacketed brewing system with plate chiller, and on the other side of the room were four 5 barrel fermenters and one 10 barrel fermenter and their filtration system. Standing in the center of the room with Andy Geaghan and Jason Courtney talking about the brewing system I felt just how tight the room actually was and I get the impression that this setup works well for one or two people to work on, but would be difficult to maneuver with many more people in the room. Listening to Andy talk about the brewing process the same theme kept being repeated from step to step; precision. From the Glycol temperature controlled fermenters that stay within 1 degree of their set fermentation temperatures to the filtration system that produces a crystal clear finished product.
Head Brewer Jason Courtney is definitely a busy guy, brewing a new batch of beer every 3-4 days and spending the time in between cleaning equipment, transferring between tanks, filtering and carbonating finished product. Everything being brewed in the Geaghan’s brewhouse is to support the pub and growler fills. So let’s do the math; 1 Beer Barrel is 31 gallons, Jason is running a 5 Barrel system so producing around 155 gallons of beer every 3 days, just to keep the lines flowing at the pub! I think Jason said it best “Bangor is a very thirsty place”.
The tour then moved out of the brewhouse and into the basement where Andy showed me the grain storage area and the refrigerator where the finished product is held in serving tanks. The serving tanks in the basement refrigerator are feeding the taps upstairs in the pub, there is no extra packaging involved, potential for aeration or contamination are eliminated. The longest step in the Geaghan’s brewing process is the 16 days the beer spends in the fermentation tanks, so when you pull up a barstool and order a pint of Refueler you are consuming a beer that Is guaranteed to be fresh, a beer that just a few weeks prior was sitting in the basement below your feet with bags of grain and boxes of hops.
I really enjoyed this tour; the Geaghan’s have put together a really impressive brewhouse. Next time you are in the restaurant peek in the windows and take a look for yourself, if Jason is hard at work throw him a wave and a thumbs up to let him know you appreciate the quality product he’s brewing. By the way Andy told me that they would be putting on a double IPA this week so now is a good time to stop in for sampler flight and pick up a 64 or 32 oz. growler to take home.