CSI Provides Solutions for Texas Craft Brewery

Real Ale

Real Ale Brewing Company is one of the largest independently owned craft breweries in the nation. Nestled in the heart of Texas, Real Ale has been producing beer out of Blanco since 1996. Their beer is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and distributed only in Texas. This family-owned business recently expanded to a new facility with 20 acres and recently began construction on a new brewhouse, with plans to double brewhouse production.

The recent expansion has made productivity more important than ever. Central States Industrial (CSI) began working closely with the team to help them find a solution and suggested they demo the new Compact CIP, an automated, mobile clean-in-place system.

Cellarman Eric Casey said, “Any time there’s a new piece of equipment that might allow us to improve our process, we’re going to look into it. For us it is an opportunity to see how it could make us more efficient in the cellar, in the cleaning and readying of our tanks for the brewing process, and to get familiar with other pieces of equipment.”

The Compact CIP demo isn’t the first trial Real Ale has conducted with CSI. Previously, the team tested Ampco's ROLEC DH hop induction system, which they later bought.

Cellarman James Newman said, “I have used the ROLEC thoroughly and extensively. I think it’s a great product, especially for our uses, and for many reasons, the first one being safety.” He explained how, in the past, personnel had to use a sky track or scissor lift to get to the top of their tanks—which are upwards of 20 to 40 feet high—and manually dump hops in at the top of the tank.

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Head Cellarman, Adam Jurischk, tests out the Compact CIP cleaning system.

Eric said, “A little bit dangerous when you’re looking at a 120 barrel tank, or something that’s three stories in the air, and you’re up there harnessed at the top of the tank pouring pellets in. That’s what we did before. The ROLEC eliminated the need to crawl on top of a tank and open a dry hop port to induce the pellets.”

As for many breweries, quality is the most important thing for Real Ale. The company has an extensive sensory program, with a microbe and lab component, where they look for outliers in flavor or attributes. Every employee is trained on how every individual beer is supposed to smell, taste, and look. Head Cellarman, Adam Jurischk, said that even after the beer has been made, they will continuously sample it, even months down the road.

The ROLEC assists with quality control and helps keep the process consistent, clean, and accurate. James said, “With the ROLEC, we can purge out all oxygen completely with CO2, ensuring no contaminants enter the beer. Before, we would kinda open the tops of the tanks and try to dump in hops as fast as we could and keep the tank open for as little amount of time. Now, we can introduce these hops without opening the tanks up to the atmosphere whatsoever. That’s a big plus for us.”

Breweries don't only thrive on consistency, they need creativity to flourish. With 11 signature beers and an array of seasonal beers, Real Ale depends on flexible equipment to help them deliver unique and award-winning flavor profiles.

“You don’t have to just use the ROLEC for hops, which I think is great. You can introduce anything you want to into the beer safely and effectively. If you wanted, you could throw cinnamon sticks in there, coffee beans, whatever your heart desires really. That’s why I think it’s so cool, if we wanted to come up with another recipe down the line and want to use it for something else, we can. The options are there for us,” James said.

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Cellarman, Eric Casey, uses the ROLEC DH hop induction system.

Eric said, “It’s more versatile than we anticipated initially and, because of that versatility, we have added some different components to our process and streamlined some of our beers. They’re actually moving out to market a little bit quicker, which is nice. I think the quality is higher. It provided us with some safety improvements. We eliminated some of the pitfalls of our old school methods of dry hopping tanks.”

“We’ve been really pleased with the ROLEC. I keep telling them we should get another one, because they’re that great,” said James.

Real Ale's employees are dedicated to perfecting their craft. “Everyone cares deeply for the beer. We’re set way out here in the Hill Country. Most of us don’t live near the brewery, so the fact that we’re all willing to drive upwards of an hour to work here says a lot for how the company treats the employees and how much care we have for what we do and for the beer that we make,” James said.

This is a beer made in Texas, by Texans, for Texans. If you are one of those lucky enough to live in-state, check out Real Ale Brewing Company. We recommend you try the beer unanimously voted the favorite by all three cellarmen, the German-style pilsner, Hans Pils.

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