Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hugh Schick's brewtruc Ready to Hit the Road

Hugh Schick pours Pine Street Brewery's Guardian Ale
On Thanksgiving eve a random group of beer crazies lucky enough to find their way to Hugh Schick's "brewtruc" for its friends-and-family launch got to taste the future within its comfortable confines. We came away mentally and physically buzzed, the latter with not a little help from Pine Street Brewery's toothsome 7.5% abv Guardian "dubbel" style ale.

I previously blogged about Schick's plan to go where no food truck operator has ever gone before, namely extending the freewheeling concept to beer, the Staff of Life. To recap, the brewtruc (Hugh eschews capital letters) is a pub on wheels, in which beer mavens can legally enjoy the best "craft" beers, both famous and obscure, even while in transit. The brewtruc achieves this by operating under limousine licensing provisions of the California Public Utilities Commission, in which persons purchasing excursions may legally be served alcoholic refreshments of their or Hugh Schick's choosing -- provided, of course, that they are of legal age.

To create this beer drinkers' Dream Machine, Hugh has taken a vintage yellow school bus and transformed it into a black beauty akin to his past venture, the le truc "bustaurant" but with a cushier interior (we're not talking quick lunch here). There's a bar with six beer taps and a sound system.  Looking ahead, Hugh also had six taps installed on the outside of the bus, in hopes of providing "beer garden" service once institutional obstacles are cleared.

Celebrants at the brewtruc's soft launch
Operating under the PUC's purview confers another, potentially huge advantage on the brewtruc: it allows Hugh to serve products from nascent "nanobrewers" still stuck behind bureaucratic logjams preventing them from showcasing their wares in bricks-and-mortar drinking establishments. This is great news for hardcore craft beer fans, since it will give them a convenient forum to taste and spot the great beers of the future from local (or not) brewers.  You can bet that Schick, with his well-developed beer sensors and generous nature will curate some great beer-tasting rosters for the truck, with a resulting boost for deserving brewers.

One good example of a nanobrewer "rising with a bullet" (well, those newfangled beer kegs do look like bullets) is Jay Holliday's Pine Street Brewery, which provided the beer for last night's systems tests.  It was the first time I have caught up any of their brews, and will  most likely be chasing down others, whether they come from the brewtruc's taps or someone else's.

You can keep up with this pilgrim's progress (and snag a seat for an event while you still can) through the brewtruc's Facebook page.