By Steve Sargent (aka Sarge)
February 2009 marked the start of construction of the “Sargent Arms Bar and Brewery”. Twelve months in the making, it is a purpose built, 24 square metre ‘shed’ in the backyard. It also includes a 15 square metre deck. Footings are 600 mm deep, with stirrups concreted into the holes. 100 X 100 mm treated pine posts support the treated pine bearers and floor joists. There are 16 posts in all, supporting four bearers, plus another bearer that is dyna-bolted to the double brick wall at the rear. The floor is ‘yellow tongue’ particle board. The frames are standard structural pine and the rafters are 4.6 metre long treated pine and span the 4 metre wide floor space with a 600 mm eave. The whole thing is clad with corrugated iron and both walls and roof are insulated. It has two second-hand sliding cedar doors, 1 X 1.8 metre and 1 X 2.4 metre, courtesy of my cousin, giving a total of 4.2 metres of glass over the 6 metre length. The decking is new timber but was weathered, so I picked it up for $2 per metre.
Let’s move to the interior. I was going for the mountain hut look so the corrugated iron was salvaged from a mate’s farm, and the rustier the better. I was a bit worried that too much iron would be too much iron so the first 1.2 metres of the interior walls are MDF painted in a steel blue colour. The roof lining is also MDF. (Not painted yet, maybe never will be) The floor is carpeted by Bunnings on the bar side and painted on the brewery side.
The brew bench and the bar are made from discarded computer server racks. For the bar, the only thing I purchased was the pine cladding and the font. I’ve left the door on the server rack and put the kegerator under the bar. There’s a sink with a double-sided drainer — thanks to the mate with the old farm — in the bar and the font is fitted to one side of the sink allowing any overflowing beer glasses to drain down the sink. I can open the bar top to change the kegs. To allow this I’ve fitted a flexible pipe on the tap and the sink waste. The kegerator only holds two kegs and the font has three taps, but I figure that in summer I’ll just ice up a keg for parties and in winter…..who cares. Eventually I’ll build a bigger kegerator and use the small one for a glycol chiller for the font and the plate chiller during summer.
In the brewery end there’s a 1.8 m stainless sink with a single bowl, (again courtesy of my mate with the farm), ideal for mashing and cleaning. I’ve purchased a 115L Blichman kettle, march pump and an auto sparger, (you’ve gotta get one!!), and everything fits perfectly in the 4 X 2 metre space I’ve allowed for the brewery. Both the brewery and the bar have plumbed water and 5 slot powerpoints.
So…want to learn from my experience? Debrief follows:
- You can do it yourself. I’m just a handyman. No qualifications, just common sense.
- Nail guns hurt when you shoot them into your thumb.
- You need money, but if you do it bit by bit it won’t send you broke.
- Find a mate with an old farm with lots of junk lying around. It also helps if he himself was a hoarder before he bought the farm.
- Telstra wires are less than 600mm deep. (‘dial before you dig’ doesn’t tell you where the wires are in your back yard)
- SWMBO will miss the internet.
- Second hand or free can look fantastic with a bit of imagination.
- Bunnings will send you broke.
- You will go to Bunnings EVERY DAY
- Beer tastes so much better when you finish your brewery.
- SWMBO may feel neglected when you spend every free day building.
- You will bleed.
- You will swear.
- You will fall off things.
- You will have fun and lots of friends.
Members, keep an eye on the Forum for details of the grand opening.