It was a dark and stormy night… but that did not deter a dozen or so lovers of local beer from making it out to Vienna’s own Caboose Brewing Company on August 20th. As we sipped on a series of tasty beers, beginning with their tart and summery Blackberry Gose, the Snail of Approval winning team at Caboose Brewing Company led us on a tour of their brewing space. Matt Greer and Matt Ferda — owner and head brewer, respectively — walked us through their brewing process and philosophy, pointing out along the way how sustainability factors into various levels of brewery operations, from sourcing ingredients to brewing to re-purposing waste and by-products.
Matt (the owner) explained how from the day they opened 4 years ago, Caboose had a goal of being as green and sustainable as possible, and also a center for community engagement. From massive boil pots with steam jackets that conserve energy to recycling heated and cooled water for different purposes to stacking the wort vats to maximize space in the small but high-ceilinged room, the brewing process itself is more efficient that many other places. They even reuse locally-sourced yeast up to 10 times in their beer making, and casually pointed out that they send the majority of the 4,000 pounds of spent grain they generate each day to a farmer in Gainesville to feed his animals. (Lucky pigs!)
After our tour, we had a chance to meet the head chef and a few other members of the Caboose team while a flight of beer tasters made their way to our two long tables: Bienvenidos lager, their refreshing citra IPA, and a brown ale. I think there was another beer or two that came out, but by then I was distracted by the largely locally-sourced food extravaganza. A huge salad with house-pickled summer veggies, a cheese board, french fries, shrimp and grits, a noodle dish, mac & cheese…. We all left well fed and happy after an evening of good food, drink, and conversation.
In case you missed this event, fear not: Caboose hosts many events each month.