A couple of Saturdays ago, I was heading to Tony and Tenille’s for porch beers and thought I’d bring something novel with me. I’d been following Steve Innocente on twitter for a couple months as he was setting up his new brewery in Waterloo. When I rolled in to the Innocente Brewing parking lot at Northfield and Bridge at 5:30pm, I was dismayed to find them closed. But as I cursed and pulled away, this guy came busting out of the door, flagging me down, and that guy turned out to be Steve Innocente himself, who welcomed me in so I could get a sampler pack for the party.
Innocente (say IN-no-CHENT’-ay, thanks to Louie Palu and Steve’s mom Linda for the pronunciation guidance) had only opened to the public a week before, so I was pretty sure I had something new to bring to the party. The TL;DR: the beer is awesome, I can’t decide which is my favourite one, Steve is a super-nice guy with a super-nice family getting something interesting off the ground in our fair city.
So I said, hey Steve I have this arts/tech blog and I’d love to come around to the brewery some time and take some shots. There’s so much awesome (and expensive) stainless steel and tech, along with the awesome smell of beer. He said, sure, we’re brewing on Tuesday so come by any time. I did, and here are the pics. Thanks to Steve and the guys and his family for letting me come into their world for a couple of hours. I look forward to drinking the fruits of your labour all summer long and then some.
You should definitely read Terry Pender’s piece in The Record about Innocente from back in March and see Peter Lee’s great photos there. Since then, the brewery is now up and running, supplying craft beer purveyors from here to Toronto.
These big vessels hold 2500L of beer-in-progress (my term).
The smaller rig Steve was driving that day produces about 150L of beer. All the same type of equipment and steps, regardless of volume.
Ingredients come in like this, and…
beer goes out like that, which is why it is so handy to have…
your own forklift in the shop.
There are so many great fixtures to shoot in the brewery. Stainless steel is always interesting to shoot because it looks like whatever it is reflecting.
Ok, but first: let me take a selfie.
Lots of great pumps, pipes, heaters, chillers, mixers, vessels, control panels. Geek heaven. A *good* photographer would have shot this on a tripod. I just shot it handheld at ISO6400 so I could dodge and weave around the work in progress.
Here’s UW student Tyler Ball cleaning out a vessel. Tyler’s been working part-time at Innocente for four weeks and his enthusiasm is contagious.
Just like making cookies… tasty beer cookies. This is Kyle Wilson (right) pouring while Steve mixes with the cordless drill. Kyle went through Niagara College’s brewing program and worked at several other breweries before landing at Innocente eight weeks ago.
Tyler is up on the platform taking a temperature reading in the lauter tun where the mash is separated from the clear liquid wort and residual grain.
Now some crushed malt, and…
Taking the temp in the lauter tun.
Photographer Peter Lee has a great shot of Steve through the bottom of this vessel and up to this opening in that Record article I mentioned.
Tyler got me up to what I’ll call the crow’s nest to get this angle over the bar. Thanks dude.
Kyle, again measuring temperature. Nobody wants to mess up 2500L of beer, so checking is frequent.
Speckled with some ingredient dust.
Speaking of ingredients…
Yeah, I know, I did shoot a lot of stainless steel. I like it.
I like this branding. Clever and clean.
Kyle and Tyler, hookin’ it up.
The merchandise was all getting tagged and accounted for by…
Steve’s second cousin, Jessica, and…
his mom, Linda. Boy, if you want to know what’s up with somebody, talk to their mom. She’s super-proud of the business, as is…
Steve’s dad, Angelo. Like all family businesses, it’s all hands on deck.
These doors are cool: they actually swivel into the tank and close the door from the inside and are clamped shut.
The experimental batch still going.
A little of this.
Three beers for you to try right now. Steve mentioned that a whack of my fellow BlackBerry peeps just a couple blocks away had already discovered his brewery and more were coming in every day. Hey, it’s on the way home!
Kyle, setting up to catch that big batch. He jokingly broke down the process as 80% janitor and 20% brewer, noting that cleanliness is critical in every step.
Tasting is encouraged.
Self-cleaning tank. Ok, not really. That’s Kyle on the job.
Clean tank, ready to go. More beer coming at you.
All the best to you, Steve. Now to WR, I say as I always do: if you like cool stuff like this, get out on the street and buy some local product. Innocente Brewing Company is in northeast Waterloo at Northfield and Bridge Streets in the plaza.