April 2015 - Building, Brewing, Remembering

Getting Our Hands Dirty

March was filled with hands on work. We are building our brewery and bar from scratch, brewing test batches of beer multiple times a week, and custom designing our interior, brand, and merchandise. The home-brew shop is pushing hundreds of pounds of grain, thousands of ounces of hops, and billions of yeast cells into the hands of homebrewers all over the city. Nothing is more satisfying than literally building Black Sands with our own hands, making our own beer, and helping everyone else make great beer at home.

Remembering Jay Johnson

First and foremost we want to mark a significant loss we all felt this month. On March 21st, Jay Johnson, owner of the Black Sands Building, Orbit Room and Club Deluxe passed away after a long battle with cancer. Jay was a fantastic landlord to us and always very enthusiastic about our project. He is survived by his equally supportive sister Kym Pipkins. We are planning a beer in his name to give tribute to his efforts and success in SF. Jay will be missed by many. 

Construction Updates

The final structural work and carpentry work is complete. Yesterday we received the building permit to cover all the woodwork with dry wall and water proofing materials for the kitchen, bar, and brewery. With walls covered and water proof we can install fixtures and run the tile work. We are looking forward to speeding up a lot. The garage door and other major appliances are showing up this week and will be ready to install. This month was stacked full of hands on work.

Moment Frames In

Remember how our entire building needed a new foundation? Well the final piece of that work is in. The "moment frames" are gigantic metal beams that secure into the new concrete and hold the Pierce and Haight street walls up. This one goes right over the garage door in the back.

Wall Lights

We scoured the web and lighting stores for just the perfect lighting materials. As per usual, nothing was just perfectly "Black Sands" so we ordered a basic light, ordered custom steel faces and welded the lights ourselves to our liking, and had them powder coated black. Done, and got what we wanted.

Welded Bar Support

The giant slabs of white marble are going to need some support to ensure they last and hold up over time, we had a custom frame welded to support the heavy stone. It is fitted to our framed out bar and ready for installation.

Original Poles Exposed

This took an unimaginable amount of time. There was probably over 100 years of paint on the original center support beams in our space. We got out the power tools and sanded each beam to the original natural wood.

Communal Tables

There is going to be communal table seating in the back by the brewery. We recently ordered a large bulk of oak and are in the process of cutting, gluing and constructing the communal tables ourselves so we can get the perfect fit in the back area.

New Paint Coat

The exterior of the building is trimmed out and has a new fresh coat of paint on it. Starting to feel pretty.

Starting the Accents

As the walls, windows and cosmetics go up we can start to plan more of our interior design elements. More to come on this soon!

Design Updates

Our design team is busy creating all of our custom materials and merchandise. We just ordered our beautiful new black on black shirts, diner style mugs for the coffee bar, and currently working on a custom shape for a bottle opener, among many other designed brand elements.  

New Shirts

Black on black on black. Available at the homebrew store on the weekends or on our online store

Coffee Mugs

Classic ceramic diner style mugs. Drink coffee out of them, or beer. Or better yet, our coffee vanilla milk stout. Available at the homebrew store or online.

Bottle Opener

Currently working on a design for a compact keychain bottle opener. Hopefully in production in the next few weeks!


For a soft landing on white marble, these coasters are currently in production. Coming to a cold glass of beer soon.

New Beer Recipes

Each week we are working to create new and interesting recipes for the brewery. This last month produced a few that we are really excited about. “The Oolong Collaborative” is a nelson hop infused muscat tea beer with notes of musket grapes, and infused with tea from the Boba Guys. A second batch of our nitrous milk brown ale turned out great. Last week we brewed a bohemian lager to start experimenting with how we might lager with lower natural temperatures in our new basement. Tonight we are bottling a scotch ale dubbed “Eerie Tide”

Homebrew Store Now Delivering Weekdays!

With our online store you have been able to place orders during the week for easy and conveniently pickup on Saturday's and Sunday's. We are now expanding online orders for quick delivery during the week, and will courier the order directly to your door! Simply place your order in the online store and add an additional item from the delivery category based on your delivery zone. Please also include any notes about delivery time or place. We are beta testing this delivery service over the next few months so please try it out if you are interested and provide any feedback you might have as we work out the kinks.

News and Events

SF Homebrewers Guild SMASH Competition

This month we are sponsoring a local homebrew competition. The San Francisco Homebrewers Guild members are all picking up yeast pitches from Black Sands and each making their own SMASH beer for a chance to brew it on our system. SMASH stands for single malt and single hop, and the winner of the competition gets to brew the beer with us, and have it on tap at Black Sands!

March Art Walk

The Lower Haight Art Walk was a blast. We had a group of local artists post up outside the construction wall and paint a new mural. Very trippy results. Swing by and check it out before it inevitably gets covered in graffiti again!

Beer Making Classes

Interested in beer making but not sure where to start? We love maintaining a beginner’s spirit and are eager to help those interested in beer making. Join Black Sands Brewery and Supply for a day of educational homebrewing. Observe our head brewer Cole Emde going through the entire brewing process from choosing a recipe to pitching the yeast. Learn about the process of all grain homebrewing and get tips and tricks to making great beer at home. We will provide everything that is needed, including a recipe and all the equipment and ingredients. Each participant will have the ability to observe the brewing process, ask questions, take notes, and leave with a 10% off coupon for our homebrew supply store.

Our first class will be held around mid April. Stay tuned for the exact scheduling, or email us directly if you are interested.

Work Hard, Play Hard

One very important lesson that we live by is to find the time. Time to progress, time to cool down, time to get out of your element and out of your head. Even with the crazy amount of work we have to do, less would get done if we didn't get up at the crack of dawn for a surf, or jump the fence to the new skatepark before hours. So here's to working hard and playing hard.

Until next month,
/// Black Sands