Monthly Archives: October 2014

Brewing at Gallagher’s in Seattle

I arrive in the evening and the place is busy! It’s fresh hop brew day and lots of people are taking advantage of the recent shipment of fresh whole hops. I did not know that was happening and have not planned on it, so I stick with my original plan to brew a brown ale.

Since this is my first time not brewing on my own equipment I figure there will be a lot to learn, so I decide to simplify the process and brew one of their recipes while I learn the ropes.


The place is really relaxed. There is music playing and they serve beer on tap. There are several tables with chairs for hanging out. People brought their own food. The main room is organized into the “lounge” area, the brewery, the bottling area, and the washing area. Everyone seems to be having a good time.

All of their recipes are extract + specialty grain. I was hoping to do all-grain, but their brewery isn’t setup to do mashes, so that is out of the question. They have a 6-kettle system with shared water supply, heating, and draining. It is pretty cool. I’m used to a direct fire heating method where the kettle is heated from underneath by a flame, but their system heats the wort via steam that runs through the interior walls of the kettle!

Overall everything goes smoothly. I do spill some liquid malt extract early in the night because I am trying to multitask. Fortunately, Chris, the head brewer who is on duty managing the brewery, is cool about it. Apparently this is a newbie mistake that many first-timers make!

Brewing here is way different than brewing on Bushido’s equipment for one simple reason: they do all the cleaning and sanitizing. This really reduces the amount of work I have to do!


When the boil is done I work with Chris to transfer the wort through the heat exchanger and into the fermenter (i.e. I open a valve when he tells me to). After chilling the wort is oxygenated on its way to the fermenter via an O2 tank that is hooked up to the line. What a sweet setup.

The brew night is a success and I can’t wait to taste the final product!

Check out our Facebook page for the full photo gallery.

Becoming a Gypsy Brewery

Last year I decided to become a nomad. Since I no longer had a stable place to live I packed up the brewery, put it in storage in Los Angeles, and stopped brewing. I thought that I would focus on developing Bushido in other ways and simply wouldn’t brew until I had my own place again.

So I haven’t brewed in almost a year.

After returning from Burning Man a few weeks ago I was filled with inspired energy and motivation. It had been too long since I brewed and I wanted to brew again. I thought:

“Home brewing is the prototype version of a typical professional brewery or brewpub. If that’s the case, what is the prototype version of a professional gypsy brewery?”

With that I began researching Brew on Premises (BOP) options.

I had peripheral knowledge of BOP, but hadn’t seriously looked into it or considered it to be an option for Bushido. The only place I knew that offered it was Kiuchi Brewery in Japan. Looking back, I really wish I had done a batch with them when I was living in Tokyo. But I understand why I didn’t. I was busy with so many other things during that time, and had the mistaken limiting belief that BOP was beyond Bushido’s reach. So I didn’t pursue it.

BOP isn’t everywhere, but it does exist in some cities. Thinking about this I realized that it would be a great thing for Bushido Brewery to engage in gypsy BOP for several reasons:

  1. The brewery will continue to produce its core product even while I travel.
  2. Semi-regular brewing will keep my skills sharp.
  3. Working with other brewers and equipment will teach me new and different techniques.
  4. I will gain experience working with larger batches on more professional-grade equipment.

My researched showed me that the next three cities in which I would be living – Seattle, Victoria BC, and Portland – all had a BOP facility I could use.

That settled it. I decided then that Bushido Brewery would resume operations during my nomadic travels as a gypsy brewery! This will be an exciting new chapter in the brewery’s life.