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Checking in with Right Proper

A few weeks ago, I stopped by Right Proper Brewing Company, the much-anticipated Shaw brewpub, to chat with co-founder Thor Cheston and poke around the new digs.

Before we get into that, though, let’s talk about what’s on everyone’s mind: the opening date.  As of my visit, RP was still on track for a opening at some point in mid-November, with test brews to commence a few weeks prior to that.

Thor walked me around the space.  While there was still a good deal of stuff scattered around – tools, empty cardboard boxes, and other construction detritus – the brewpub’s final shape was becoming evident and it’s a beaut. 

According to Thor, people walking in the front door will first see an old-school deli cold case, which will carry cheese, charcuterie, and pre-filled growlers to go.  To the right is a circa 1910’s wall, which once supported an old jazz club which Duke Ellington attributes much of his early influences.   A mural painted by artist Nico Amortegui, who is also Thor’s brother-in-law, will commemorate the history of the wall.

Past the cold case are two separate bars, which will feature eight constantly rotating tap lines.  Six will feature Right Proper beers, with the balance going to guest taps.  These will vary greatly depending upon demand, but Thor says they’ll often skew Belgian, given his background (as a Belgian beer knight).  As for their own beer, Right Proper has a bunch of recipes in the works, but plans to hold off choosing its 2-3 mainstays until the public has weighed in.  “We’re looking forward to the instant feedback”, he says.

Seated up at the bar, you can look straight into the room housing the 5 and 10 bbl serving tanks.  The beer will move just a few yards over its lifetime, from the kettles and fermenters in the back to the room crammed with old wine and whiskey barrels to the blending tanks to the public.

Speaking of blending tanks, Thor was particularly enamored of the oddly shaped number in which Nathan Zeender will be doing his alchemy.  It’s a short, squat thing, unlike the brand new, sleek tanks populating the rest of the brewery.  Attentive patrons should be able to see the barrels’ contents being mixed from their stools.

Swiveling away from the bar, drinkers can get a look at the dining room.  No tables or chairs were in yet, but the space was largely cleared out and ready for their delivery.  On the wall opposite the bar, artist Patrick Owens will be putting in a huge chalk mural of the menu.

It’s all coming together, folks.  In fact, some of this information is likely obsolete, given the speed at which things are moving.  We’ll keep you posted on further happenings as we run up to the big day.  Best of luck to the Right Proper crew.

PS – I didn’t go into all the backroom stuff since patrons are unlikely to find themselves in the kitchen, but there’s one piece of equipment I have to mention: the Nitrogenator.  And yes, that’s its real name.  It pulls nitrogen out of the air to aid the kegging and draft beer system, which is pretty cool, but it’s the console that really tickled me.  Thor likened it to some Soviet-era doomsday device, while I thought it looked like it came straight from a Dr. Who set.  That is all.

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