Austin the Awesome

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Nanette here! I love that Bellingham hosts an Art Walk every month. I love even more when Aslan’s Art Walk is presented by an Aslan employee. This month, our brewpub is lined with the art of the mastermind behind the Aslan logo, Austin Martin.

He moved to Washington years ago and was working at a small start up in Bellingham when he found out that some guys needed help with a logo for a brewpub. So he met with current CEO Jack and was asked to come up with something that incorporated beer and a lion. At first he had the idea of putting hops and a lion next to each other.

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One day he was drawing lions and hops and realized that their outlines were really similar. So he drew the hop head as the lion’s mane and out birthed the idea of the logo. But the lion’s face originally had wide eyes. Jack requested the lion looked as though it had already killed its prey and was now just hanging out because he knew no one would f*#% with him. So Austin drew the eyes more relaxed and gave him somewhat of a smirk.

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I asked him if it was weird to see people wearing the logo he’d created and he admitted it was at first.

“I’ve kind of become numb to it because it’s so much more than my logo now,” he said.

It was funny too because when we were talking about it at my house, one of my roommates came out and introduced himself to Austin in an Aslan t-shirt.

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Besides being the brain behind the logo, he does a lot of art in his free time. He has two distinct styles of art that he does: minimalistic and psychedelic. He has a site for his minimal art and a site for his psychedelic art, choosing to keep them seperate. I’ve been sifting through his websites for the past hour and I’m honestly blown away by how much he’s done. Does anyone else ever wonder what’s going on inside the minds of talented artists?

The works that he currently has on the walls of Aslan are a mix between the two styles - something he’s never done before. You’ve also got some art that’s mixed with his photography. Besides working for hours on his art pieces, he’s also really into photography and that shows if you take a peak at any of his work.

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When I was asking him what fueled his art, he talked about attention to detail. Something he loves about big art is that there’s so much room for detail in every space of the art. I highly recommend taking a real good look at his pieces because you could look at them for hours and notice something new.

When asked to describe his style Austin simply said, “less is more.”

Come in and peep Austin’s art. I advise you to give yourself some time to really look at it though. It’ll be worth your while.

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NOW ON TAP - Frances Farmer (Brett Saison)

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Frances Farmer (Brett Saison)

6.3% ABV // 24 IBU // 1.048 OG

medium body + peach notes + dry

A rustic farmhouse ale aged four months in a french oak foeder with four varieties of Brettanomyces yeast. Brewed with raw wheat, pilsner, and vienna malts along with hops from the Alsace region of France. This delicate saison carries elegant notes of ripe peaches and aromas of sweet hay, leaving a complex and rewarding aftertaste.

HOPS:
Malling, Premiant, Strisselspalt
MALT:
Pilsner, Raw Wheat, Vienna

NOW ON TAP - Piranha Bath (Dry Hopped Sour)

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Piranha Bath (Dry Hopped Sour)

4.5% ABV // 21 IBU // 1.052 OG

light body + floral sun brewed tea + tart

If this was anything other than beer, it would be sun brewed tea. Overtones of hibiscus and rose both dominate the flavor and aroma, finishing quite tart and very dry. As a kettle soured ale, its tartness was formed quickly and in a controlled manner. It was then dry hopped with a massive charge of Idaho grown Cascade hops, adding a sharp floral character. The final product was then filtered, granting it a beautiful ruby hue.

HOPS:
Bravo, Cascade
MALT:
2-Row Pale, C-120, Carafa, Carahel, Caramunich, Chocolate, Munich

NOW TAP - Export Festbier

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Export Festbier

5.4% ABV // 27 IBU // 1.051 OG

light body + malt forward + dry

Our version of this famous seasonal lager is brewed in the modern method, with a less conventional technique. We use only Vienna malt in this exceptional beer and hop it with both Saaz and Hallertau Mittlefruh for a crisp and classically balanced bitterness. The malt is the showcase, however, and exudes bright notes of fresh toasted bread that finishes smooth, crisp, and dry.

HOPS:
Mittlefruh, Premiant, Saaz
MALT:
Vienna

NOW ON TAP - Alligator Suitcase (Double IPA)

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Alligator Suitcase (Double IPA)

7.5% ABV // 60 IBU // 1.070 OG

medium body + ripe melon notes + fruity

Alligator Suitcase graces your palate with pungent notes of ripe honeydew and cantaloupe. Brewed with a heavy dose of Amarillo hops and a small portion of Cascade and Hallertau Blanc, this beer is a one way ticket to hop heaven. It features a very large portion of Vienna and oat malts, which hold up and accentuate the ripe melon flavors from the hops. Possibly the dankest IPA we have released to date.

HOPS:
Amarillo, Bravo, Cascade, Hallertau Blanc
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Oats, Vienna

NOW ON TAP - I Stand IPA (Fresh Hop)

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I Stand IPA (Fresh Hop)

5.4% ABV // 78 IBU // 1.054 OG

medium body + pine & blueberry notes + balanced

In partnership with Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood, this special release IPA was brewed with freshly picked, still wet, centennial hops. Further dry hopped with additional centennial and a touch of mosaic, the flavor is a balance of fresh pine needles and blueberries with a slight earthy dankness. Aromatics are strongly reminiscent of ripe pears. 5% of this beer's sales will be donated to Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood.

HOPS:
Bravo, Centennial, Mosaic
MALT:
2 Row Pale, Carahell, Oats

Why Aslan Stands With PP

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The reactions Aslan has received in wake of the impending I Stand IPA release have been both wonderful and overwhelming. In late April a decision was made by the Aslan team to reach out to Mount Baker Planned Parenthood in hopes of sparking a partnership. This decision to do so was a result of weeks of deliberation, and one we did not take lightly. Ultimately, reaching out to MBPP seemed right. We were all well aware of the reactions, good and bad, that would result from this decision. But the weight of the partnership seemed too great to pass up. Given the current political climate and changes in federal leadership we found ourselves in a unique position to throw our support towards an organization that our staff unanimously believes in.

By highlighting MBPP’s importance to the community, our aim was to not engage in political discourse, but provide facts:

Simply put, thousands of local residents with lower than average income need MBPP and their low cost services. 

Using Aslan’s public reach we could give MBPP a platform to dispel misinformation and also promote what we believe are essential health service needs. While raising money for MBPP is an added bonus, the gesture of support goes much further. Providing customers the option to purchase an I Stand IPA will give everyone the opportunity to support MBPP financially, but also stand with them.

Jack Lamb, CEO of Aslan, says it clearly: “Aslan will always make a stand for human rights and quality healthcare, simple as that, which is why this collaboration is a great fit. Together, we hope to bolster the conversation surrounding sexual health, raise funds for local MBPP locations, and have some fun while we do it!”

NOW ON TAP - The Cranberries (IPA)

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The Cranberries (IPA)

6.3% ABV // 54 IBU // 1.060 OG

medium body + cold pressed cranberries + tart

This special release recipe comes from award winning home brewer, Jenn Tadder. Jenn won her second Home Brewer of the Year award from the Bellingham Homebrewers Guild and got the opportunity to brew with Aslan for consecutive years. It's a wheat based IPA, hopped with Ahtanum, Chinook, and Simcoe, then conditioned with cold pressed organic cranberries from fellow B Corp Starvation Alley Farms. A moderate dry hop continues to add to the layers of fruit present. The wheat base in this beer supports the cranberries, without letting them overpower with too much tartness.

HOPS:
Ahtanum, Chinook, Simcoe
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Caramunich, Wheat

The Beehive

Nanette again, back to talk about food! Growing up I was told to be weary of lazily using the word “need” because there are few things that we truly need. Water, food, air, temperature and sun. Those are the things I found that all living organisms need to survive. It’s funny working in a restaurant because it’s like working in a beehive. Everyone is coming in and out to collect what they “need” and we’re there to give it to them.

What I learned today is that there is no way to fully appreciate where our food is coming from. Do you think about how the veggies in your food were grown locally and picked up to be added to your dish? Or how the kitchen glazes every single tofu kabob before they send it out for you to enjoy. Kitchen shifts last around 10-12 hours everyday and each position does something different, but they’re all vital to the process of getting your food to the table in a timely manner. First, you’ve got the prep crew who comes in around 7:30 a.m. to start prepping food for it to be ready in time for opening. Then you’ve got the line cooks, all working together to cook and plate the food so that it comes out in a way that’s “soigne” and in good time.  

Chris Sterley, Sous Chef, has been with Aslan long enough to know how the kitchen works. Each of his work days starts with a flood of people telling him what they’re out of and what they need in the kitchen. But in between all the order sheets, late trucks of produce, and managing employees, one of his newfound favorite parts of his job is the relationships he has with local vendors. He described how nice it was to be able to call Annie at Joe’s Garden when he needed something right away. And how sometimes he’d leave the garden with a juicy peach in hand. We order from over a dozen local vendors a week. And although it takes more time and effort to have to order separately, it’s worth it for the connections because they last a lifetime. We have to order more food from more vendors every other day to keep up with the demand of the restaurant. It's nuts!

On the line, you’ve got some awesome and eccentric characters working in the kitchen. Colton, one of the lead line cooks, is one of the most level-headed people I know (maybe why he’s perfect for the job). He told me to write that he’s “22, single and ready to mingle.” In all seriousness, Colton puts his all into what he does everyday. He loves that Aslan is busy because when you’re slow for a 10-hour shift, your body never forgives you. But when it’s busy, your body copes with it and lets the adrenaline move you. He eventually wants to learn more about cooking and expand his knowledge to gourmet foods.

What I’ve discovered about the kitchen is that everyone’s passions are different. Another one of the line cooks, John, said that his real love for the kitchen comes from the energetic atmosphere. He could never have a desk job or do something monotonous because he loves the environment that’s created in the kitchen. Then of course he started naming off his passions as “the open road, freshly rained-on pavement..” and more that sounded like a dating ad.

Seddy, the line cook who’s been in the Aslan kitchen the longest, has a passion for botany. He loves plants! And one of the plants hanging above the door at Aslan came from him nursing a clipping he’d taken from someone’s jasmine plant. Some people call him the silent killer because he always comes to work with few words and kills it at what he does. It’s those type of people who really give value to a place, who add uniqueness. And I appreciate Seddy for that. He keeps people grounded.

Something I’d love to show people is how much time goes into preparing food. Aslan isn’t just a restaurant and it isn’t just a brewery. We are both of those things and more. But we’re always aiming to do better. Like our Brewmaster Frank said in one of the earlier blog posts, and I think it applies to Aslan as a whole, is that “if we thought our beers were perfect, what else would we do?”

In this beehive, there’s so much to be said about the vitality of the kitchen that I can’t sum it up in one post. But next time you watch the line cooks through the kitchen window, try to imagine how much it takes to get your food delivered to you and take note of all the smiles doing it.

NOW ON TAP - Mines of Moria

MINES OF MORIA (DRY HOPPED GRISETTE)

5.5% ABV // 33 IBU // 1.046 OG

light body + lemon & lavender notes + refreshing

An interpretation of a nearly forgotten style, said to once be brewed for the miners from the Hainaut province of Belgium. Similar to a saison, this beer is quite refreshing. It draws upon use of Mistral hops in both the whirlpool and dry hop to create a faint fruitiness reminiscent of sweet lemon peel with herbal notes of lavender. A fascinating farmhouse strain from a tiny brewery in Belgium was employed for fermentation, which gives this beer a distinct, yet balanced farmhouse character.

HOPS:
Mistral, Premiant
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Raw Wheat, Rye

NOW ON TAP - Schweinaversary IPA

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SCHWEINAVERSARY IPA

5.4% ABV // 40 IBU // 1.056 OG

medium body + pear notes + fruity

Brewed for our neighbors at the Schweinhaus Biergarten to celebrate their 3rd anniversary. This IPA expresses dominant notes of pear in flavor and aroma, due in large part to dry hopping with a mixture of Azacca and Mosaic hops. The blend of ale yeasts used for fermentation produce unique esters, resulting in a true, one of a kind, IPA.

HOPS:
Azacca, Chinook, Mosaic
MALT:
2 Row Pale, Oats

NOW ON TAP - Tales of Ordinary Madness IPA

TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS (IPA)

7.1% ABV // 60 IBU // 1.068 OG

big body + orange notes + dank

An IPA brewed in collaboration with Reuben's Brews. Hopped heavily with Hallertau Blanc and Citra. This IPA displays an intense resemblance to pulpless orange juice. A large addition of oats were used to further accentuate mouthfeel and add to its juicy character. Expect a smooth, pungent, and expressive IPA.

HOPS:
Citra, Hallertau Blanc, Mosaic, Taiheke
MALT:
2 Row Pale, Carahell, Wheat

Collab Month at Aslan!

At Aslan we have only done a few collaborations in our tenure. Mainly because we have been so wrapped up in what we are doing. Almost equally, however, we have chosen to be very selective in collaborating. The camaraderie within the brewing industry is one of the focal points and without a doubt a cornerstone of craft beer. Brewing with another brewery can, and should be, a very personal thing. I can count the number of collaborations we have done in three years on one hand. In the last month, though, we have worked with two breweries and a close neighbor, all within the span of 10 days. It was quite a whirlwind.

The first collab brew of this three part series happened on Monday the 19th of June, with Adam Robbings from Reuben's Brews (reubensbrews.com). Adam is the co-founder and Head Brewer at Reuben's and is seriously one of the nicest people you will meet (a sentiment echoed throughout the industry). I’ll admit that my personal relationship with Adam was fairly limited, prior to our brewday. My brother, Boe, and him were the ones who struck up the conversation that led to our collab. This particular beer was made specifically for Washington Beer Collaboration Festival. This festival is held in Seattle on August 19th and features pairs of Washington based breweries who brew a beer together. The beer that we made is an IPA that I’m really excited about. I won’t go too far into detail on the recipe, but I can say that it is one of the best IPA’s that we have made, to date. We have respected Reuben's Brews for a long time, so it was a fun opportunity to work with them on a style both breweries enjoy.  

Later that same week, on Thursday the 22nd, we hosted Nick Crandall of Redhook Brewery. Nick is the Head/Innovation Brewer for Redhook and has been an industry friend for quite some time. I’ve leaned on him for advice with production brewing as we have increased our production over the years. As I’m sure you can imagine, he has quite a bit of experience in that realm. It doesn’t stop there though, as he is also responsible for coming up with the new recipes that Redhook puts out as seasonals or one-off brews. Redhook is currently opening a 10-barrel brew pub in Capitol Hill, the Redhook Brewlab (redhook.com/breweries-pubs/capitol-hill), that Nick will be running. He has a pretty awesome job if you ask me! But we all do, if you really want to know. Anyway, Nick collabed with a select few breweries in the region to celebrate the opening of this new brewpub. We happened to be one of the few he reached out to, so of course we said yes. Anytime you can brew with an industry friend, you take that opportunity. After a fair bit of deliberation, we landed on brewing a wheat based IPA. While we do use wheat in a fair number of the IPA’s we brew, we had never made one with this much. For this beer we mashed it at a ratio of 35% wheat, making a truly a wheat-centric brew. This beer turned out great and is one of my favorite hop forward beers we have made. It is called Rhinosaur after a Soundgarden song, and is currently on tap at our brewery.

The final collab beer we did was brewed as a gift and thank you to our neighbors at the Schweinhaus Biergarten. Since Schweinhaus has opened, they have worked hard to create a really awesome place to grab a beer and enjoy some sunshine. When they asked if we would brew their second anniversary beer, we felt honored to say yes. We have been working closely with them, giving guided workshops on beer and brewing knowledge. So it was fun to have them in on the brew day and go through the recipe and have them assist in brewing the beer. Of course, we had to make one more IPA. So you can expect to see our draft board loaded with awesome IPA’s over the next two weeks. This recipe was a spin off of a beer we did last year called Illmatic. While Illmatic was primarily wheat, this rendition is oat based, but hopped in the same fashion. We are excited to see how this one turns out, as it’s off to a great start. It will be tapped on Saturday the 22nd at Schweinhaus and Aslan, just in time for their birthday celebration.

Now that the crazy whirlwind of collaborating is behind us, we can sit back and enjoy these awesome beers we just made. We can reflect on the great relationships we have developed with some top notch people. We can’t imagine brewing so many collabs in such a short time again, yet we also cant imagine what this industry would be like if we couldn’t have fun with our “competitors”. As it turns out, we really just consider them our friends. We all have a lot to learn from each other, and that is what collaborating is all about!

NOW ON TAP! - Rhinosaur Wheat IPA

RHINOSAUR (WHEAT IPA)

5.9% ABV // 52 IBU // 1.058 OG

medium body + tropical + smooth

This wheat style IPA was brewed in collaboration with Redhook Brewery, to help them celebrate the opening of their new brewery in Capitol Hill, Seattle. Dry hopped with Mosaic, Citra, and Simcoe, mashed with 35% floor malted wheat. Expect bright, luscious citrus notes, especially grapefruit, along with tropical fruits notes reminiscent of mango!

HOPS:
Bravo, Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Wheat

NOW ON TAP! - Motorcycle Craig APA

MOTORCYCLE CRAIG (AMERICAN PALE ALE)

5.5% ABV // 40 IBU // 1.050 OG

light body + watermelon notes + juicy

Named after an infamous character in one of our family member's lives, this American Pale Ale is hopped exclusively with Hallertau Blanc and Barbe Rouge. These newer European hops are expressing huge aromas of watermelon and strawberry. The fruit aromas and flavors are balanced by a light pungency with a dry finish.

HOPS:
Barbe Rouge, Hallertau Blanc, Premiant
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Dextrose, Oats

NOW ON TAP! - Fraise du Bois (Summer Saison)

FRAISE DU BOIS (SUMMER SAISON)

7.2% ABV // 26 IBU // 1.057 OG

medium body + elegant + dry

Brewed with hops from Austria and France, mashed with raw wheat, oats and rye then fermented with our house saison strain. Conditioned on a very small amount of strawberries and rhubarb grown in Whatcom County for nuanced complexity, which may only be subtlety noticed. The finish is dry with a beautiful minerality.

HOPS:
Premient, Malling, Strisselspalt
MALT:
Oats, Pilsner, Raw Wheat, Rye

Freshie Tuesday

One thing we do around here is make a lot of Batch 15 IPA. I think some have a love/hate relationship with that beer. I, for one, can go from loving it one day, to despising it the next. It’s because I spend so much time with it. I’m admittedly a perfectionist, more for worse than better I suspect. Due to that, I can never leave that beer alone. I want it to be perfect. Depending on the day I could think it’s damn close or far from it. Honestly though, I doubt I’ll ever actually think any beer I make is perfect. But that’s a tangent we won’t get into now.

The point of this discussion is to talk about the frequency of production and the slight changes we make to the recipe each week.

Every Tuesday we package a fresh batch of Batch 15. We have been fortunate enough to see a high demand for that beer. As we get to make this beer every week, sometimes several times a week, we take the opportunity to make slight adjustments to the recipe (I will always be in pursuit of making the perfect IPA). Even if this is a “flagship”, we don’t shy away from making improvements. As a team we get to analyze these improvements each week. It’s fun. But the more I have sat here and drank fresh, new iterations of this beer, the more I’m asking myself, “why the hell are we not telling our customers about this?!” So here we are. We want everyone to know that this is a beer that we love, it’s on tap all the time, but it also changes slightly, week to week. And that is intentional. We are also able to offer it in its intended form, very fresh.

As a side note, I genuinely get disappointed when I see ANY breweries beer getting carelessly mishandled after leaving the brewery. It’s not fair to the brewer who gives a sh*t about the product they work so hard to create. Fresh beer matters, a lot! Even if it’s not super fresh, at least have the respect to keep it cold, damn! But this is another tangent and I’m getting distracted again.

The point here is that we are releasing a new batch to our draft and can supply for the brewery every week, on Tuesday. This means that showing up and snagging a 6-pack when we open at 11AM on Tuesday, means your beer is a matter of hours old. You can also be guaranteed that the beer you just bought is at worst, a week old (if bought the following Monday). We are not going to join the ranks of breweries turning out stickered 16 oz silvers, our can releases happen in a different way. Fresh Batch 15, released to our taproom every Tuesday from here on out. If there is stock from the previous week, we replace it with the new inventory. Our taps will change over as well. The draft you are drinking will match up with the cans we are selling.

Learn the nuances from week to week and embrace the change. If you like last week’s batch better, let us know. Either way, cheers to fresh beer!

NOW ON TAP! - Simcoe Slice

SIMCOE SLICE (IPA)

7.7% ABV // 22 IBU // 1.068 OG

medium body + dank pine + heady fruit

This double dry hopped IPA is an expression of the dank piney character of the Simcoe hop. Further accentuated with fruity notes of strawberries, lychee and guava from the contribution of Taiheke hops. Brewed with oats for added mouthfeel. This beer is intense, yet balanced.

HOPS:
Bravo, Chinook, Simcoe, Taiheke
MALT:
2-Row Pale, Oats, Raw Wheat

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

If you're a frequent flyer at Aslan, chances are you've noticed the obscure black and white art hanging on some of the walls. Most of the characters in the art are indistinguishable of sex. Some see them as female-identifying, while some see them as more male-identifying.

I remember one of the first months I worked at Aslan, a woman came up to me at the hostess stand and told me how upset the art made her. She felt like it was was playing with the idea that women are monsters (because it's hard to tell what sex the characters are). I assured her that that was not the intention of the artist, because even though Connor McPherson is almost 7'0", he is one of the most gentle and caring souls you'll ever meet. His smile stretches from cheek to cheek and is loved by so many people because he's just so warm. He met the owners of Aslan on the Fourth of July almost four years ago and they all bonded over how vibrant the fireworks were that year. Since the opening, he's been one of Aslan's main artists and has designed art for the building's insides and outsides. And his art will soon be featured on the labels of Aslan’s new bottle series.

But today's blog post is about the mural in the men's bathroom. What's unique about this mural is that it hasn't always been there. The bathroom used to be lined with Connor's framed artwork, just like the women's. But people started stealing the art from the walls. In attempt to stop the thieves, we nailed the frames to the walls so that they couldn't be lifted out or bent. But surprisingly the nails and bolts didn't stop the thieves and the art continued to go missing! And I'm talkin' people were bending nails and ripping frames from the walls to steal his art... can you believe that?

Obviously we couldn't keep his art in there anymore, so Connor decided to paint a mural of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves on the wall. He said he isn't totally happy with the mural because he didn't get to work on it as long as he intended to, but it's truly a masterpiece. And a clever one at that. I looked up the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves and it's a tale of revenge.

A couple of months ago, another one of Connor's pieces went missing in the women's bathroom. In place of the stolen art you'll notice a sweet haiku directed at the thieves, written by some of Aslan's finest poets Celina and Elle. We understand that theft is one of the costs of being a business open to the public. No matter how many good people are out there, it only takes a couple bad cookies to ruin it for the rest of 'em.

If you really love someone's art enough to bend nails, support them! Everyone's got to eat! If you're curious about Connor's art, find it @illustrativewest on Instagram. He's in Australia right now finding new inspirations, but we'll see him again soon!

Until next time,

Nanette
 

The Brothers Trosset

This week's topic is beer. Aslan Brewing Company would not be Aslan Brewing Company without beer. It is the heart of what we do and it’s kind of ironic that it takes place in the center of our facility. If you didn’t know this already, two of the four owners of Aslan are brothers. And the two of them together work to make sure that our heart is healthy. There’s no room for bullshitting when it comes to production and the advantage of having two brothers work closely together is that you eliminate the possibility of nonsense.

Boe is a man consumed by wanderlust and Frank is consumed, well, by beer. Frank is the head brewer and original founder of Aslan. Boe deals with production, inventory, sales and financial health. In other words, he makes sure that we have enough beer to go around.

Let’s talk about Boe for a second. In the beginning of this business, Boe was one of the carpenters that helped physically build this place. Then right as they were about to open, they put him on sales management.

The reason why he wasn’t one of the spear heads of the company was because he was out of the country living the traveling dream. He’s probably been to more countries than all of us combined and is the epitome of our employee wellness program. It’s a given that on his days off he’s shreddin' some waves somewhere or going on an epic road trip in his sprinter van.

As a Kinesiology major with little sales experience, Boe said that it’s amazing how much Google can teach you. Since then, he’s organized the production line of the beer that comes in and out of here. As well as created one of the most organized Excel spreadsheets I’ve ever seen in my life.

Boe is also the person who sits down with distributors to let them know how much inventory we have. On his spreadsheets, he has a conversion on how much is available in distributor talk (amount in cases) and in brewer talk (amount in barrels) so that he can seamlessly communicate between both sides.

So to make it a little easier, here’s a simple diagram made by our wonderful Austin Martin. It’s to illustrate how production, inventory, sales and financial health all affect each other. So you have to set up each one out on this constantly moving conveyer belt. How much we’re making on certain beers will affect how much people are ordering which then affects how much inventory we have. The cycle continues with being ahead of packaging and brewing so that we have enough beer to distribute. On top of that, there’s a difference in ingredients cost for each beer. And the list goes on. Let me tell you, his job is by no means easy, but he’s killin’ it.

In order to step into Frank’s world, you have to climb stairs onto a brew deck that sits about 15 feet off the ground. When I was standing on the brew deck and was looking into these tanks, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. Frank thinks it might’ve been because it’s 95 degrees up there but what I described was this feeling of seeing something so much bigger, up close. It felt like I’d taken a ship and was viewing the Earth as a bouncy ball.

This beer is the veins of Aslan and I was watching it in it’s most vulnerable stages, boiling in these huge vessels. It hadn’t even been fermented yet but I knew that in two weeks time, it’d be consumed by the plethora of people that visit this place. And to think that it starts on this 6 x 25 foot deck. Also, I’m serious about it being 95 degrees up there. It is so damn hot that I feel like it cleansed my body of all it’s toxins. I swear that’s why Frank has such amazing skin.

This brew deck acts as a studio for Frank’s art. He said that brewing beer is his artistic expression and this is where he expresses himself. He spends most of his 10-hour work days on this deck, creating a system to boil malt that induces level-headed wort (sugar water) that’s then boiled to it’s final stage - the addition of hops and other flavors. From there, it gets sent to the fermenters, but of course these processes are so much more complex than that.

Today he had a double batch of Batch 15 going, which means he was brewing two batches of Batch 15 back-to-back. So in two weeks we’ll have roughly 120 barrels of Batch 15. Two batches produces 60 barrels of beer which equals 1,860 gallons of beer. Isn’t that crazy?! So whenever Frank is brewing he can’t leave the brew deck. It’s like having pots on the stove and having to monitor each pot to make sure they don’t burn.

What’s funny is that Frank started out brewing beer in his parent’s basement. He spoke about how he literally had no experience but he knew that he wanted to brew and that’s what he did. He taught himself most of what he knows now. He researched, asked questions, and just did it.  

When I explained how this beer was the heart of Aslan, he didn’t want to accept credit to being that huge of a contributor to what Aslan is now. He said that what really propels Aslan forward is the eighty people who are all pulling in the same direction. You need all of the people that compose this place to make it work efficiently.

“One person could never create something like this on their own,” he said. And it’s funny that he says that because when it really comes down to it, Frank started Aslan Brewing Co. He was the person who founded the LLC with Jack as a co-member contingent on Frank’s ability to prove he was a serious brewer. Granted, it only took a few weeks for Jack to see Frank’s work ethic and drive, so they became official business partners and the rest is history.

Something that Frank feels prideful of in his process of artistic release (making beer) is that we brew beer the way we do because we think that it’s best that way. We’re not following popular demand or trends because we’re doin’ our own thing.

An example he used was our Batch 15 IPA. Batch 15 has been unfiltered since the beginning of time (almost four years ago) and it’s turbid because Frank felt like that’s how it would be best represented. But now that unfiltered beers are becoming more popular, it’s interesting to see how people once criticized how turbid it was to now liking the look of it.

Another example is how we have a canning system in house. If we really wanted to, we could can one-off beers because that’s what a lot of trendy breweries are doing. But Frank says that we won’t do that because it wasn’t in our original plans.

When we got into the sphere of how much Aslan has grown, he talked about how it’s like a life journey.

“Every journey has its joys and its frustrations. But this is heartfelt. We’re trying to show people what beer should be,” he said.

When you see how you can take people from different backgrounds with little experience that strive toward a common goal, you really begin to believe that anything is possible.

“Although everyone’s brewing beer, everyone is doing it differently. Because beer is an art. It’s a consumable art,” Boe said.

And there’s something to be said about the art of being able to effectively communicate. Boe connects with Frank on when to brew different styles so that they don’t fall behind. The two of them together are a commendable team and things wouldn't run smoothly without them.

Frank doesn’t think we’ve perfected our beers but he hopes we never think that they’re perfect because there’s always room to improve. And if we thought our beers were perfect, what else would we do?