Great Expectations

You may have noticed that I’ve been quieter than usual recently. The reason is pretty simple: we’ve all been working like caffeinated animals to get Modern Times open. The list of things that need to be addressed between now and opening day is almost absurdly long, and all of us have been cranking like crazy to get it finished.

The good news is that we’re remarkably close to being open. The other good news is that this work is actually considerably less stressful than much of the work that came before it. Whereas before, timelines were vague at best and amorphous challenges felt like existential threats to my entire plan, we’re now just trying to kick through the finish.

But with our first batches of beer ambling towards completion, I want to take a moment to talk about what you can expect from us, or rather, what not to expect.

Here’s something not to expect: perfection. Granted, I’m a perfectionist: unabashedly and proudly. It’s that borderline unhealthy drive to make everything just so that allows me to say with confidence that Modern Times will—eventually, if not immediately—make world class beer.

Getting our beer just so will, in almost every case, be a process of refinement. Do not expect our very first batches to be perfect. They will not be perfect. We know this because we’ve been tasting them as they move through the cellar and, along the way, learning a lot about how our brand-new brewing system works (and doesn’t work), how our yeasts perform (and don’t perform), how amazingly and annoyingly efficient our whirlpool is at extracting IBUs, and a million other things.

There is no amount of recipe refinement on the homebrew scale that can prepare you for the changes that take place when a beer is brewed on a commercial scale. So while we’ve done our best to translate the beers as directly as possible, we’ve run into a few surprises along the way.

None of this is to say that our first few batches won’t be good or high quality. I wouldn’t sell anything that was disappointing. I feel very strongly that if I’m going to ask someone to pay for our beer, it better be damn good. And so it will be. But it will also get better each time we brew. I would expect that process of improvement and refinement to continue, in some way, forever.

I’ve given this spiel to just about everyone who has tasted our pilot batches. After tasting the beer, people invariably say something like, “Oh come on! It’s really good!” That’s nice to hear, but without getting overly semantic, “really good” isn’t good enough.

Truly world-class beer is life changing. And I wouldn’t bother with all the hassle of starting a brewery if I didn’t think we could reach that standard. But getting there is a process, and I hope you’ll have some patience with us along the way.

Cheers & thanks,
Jacob McKean

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