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Posted December 15, 2011 By Jake Erie Monster
By now, I hope you’ve had a chance to try the delicious Christmas Ale Ginger Snap ice cream that resulted from our partnership with Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream. In keeping with our triple bottom line philosophy, we make sure that Christmas Ale is never wasted. Beer that can’t be bottled makes its way into this delicious ice cream, which is currently available in our Gift Shop, Brewpub and Mitchell’s Northeast Ohio locations. That’s right: no Christmas Ale is harmed in the making of this ice cream!
When we package Christmas Ale, the beer is sent from our Cellar (referred to as the Tank Farm) into the bottle filler. Once in the filler, the beer enters a “bowl” and is then used to fill the bottles, which then head to the labeler. At the end of a run, which sometimes can be upwards of 4000 cases, there’s a small amount of beer left in the bowl that doesn’t make it into the bottles. The residual beer is removed via a small tap-like handle located below the bottle outfeed.
A bottling worker captures the beer from the bowl into clean buckets provided by Mitchell’s. The buckets once were home to other natural ingredients used in Mitchell’s delicious ice creams. The reuse of the buckets is yet another way we are repurposing and reusing materials to achieve our goal of zero waste. The process is somewhat slow as the pouring needs to be done in a manner so as not to cause too much “head” or foam in the bucket which, when spilled over, is wasteful (and sticky!).
Once the bowl has been emptied, the filled buckets are snapped shut with an air tight lid and taken to our Cooler. The Cooler keeps the beer as fresh as possible while it awaits pick up from Mitchell’s. When picking up, Mitchell’s also drops off more clean buckets to make sure we always have enough on-hand so as to not let any Christmas Ale go to waste.
So what are you waiting for? Time to take a trip to wonderful Ohio City, visit the Brewpub and perhaps the Ohio City Christmas Fest, and purchase a pint or two of Christmas Ale Ginger Snap ice cream (available for a limited time only)!
Jacobe Johnson is a Bottler for Great Lakes Brewing Company and guest blogger.