After a 'challenging' start to the week, progress on-site has gone smoothly, however, by Friday afternoon we were closer to crying than laughing.
Construction of the dry and capacious new malt store was started on Monday and finished by Wednesday, bang on schedule. The cold, dry and capacious new cold cellar is nearly finished and all brewery pipework and cleaning systems have been completed, with commissioning well underway (commissioning = checking it works). Installation of the high-pressure steam boiler, with its associated pipework, is the one remaining major task and, since this is the only way we can raise water and wort temperature, it's pretty fundamental to producing beer. This has always been the great known unknown: the boiler is an old one requiring a costly and time consuming rebuild in order to prepare it for insurance certification. The engineer in charge isn't quite as old but, due to a life of hard graft, has himself required a certain amount of rebuilding in order to walk, having trapped nerves in his back during the project. On Friday afternoon he gave me the good-news bad-news talk: the boiler is great but the timescale is three weeks longer than our beer stocks have allowed for. Calamity. No end-of-week laughing matter.
I emphasised the gravity of this situation and Jim the Boil rang back at 5pm to say that he, Lou the Flue and the Two Robins would descend, mob handed, in ten days time to knock the job out, leaving me not a single day's worth of stock to spare before production re-starts.
So I was laughing in the end.
I love building breweries - I've done a few in my time. But now this, the largest and sexiest so far, has started to take shape and display its ergonomic and technological beauty, I'm itching to get the wellies on and put it through its paces.