The Boiler Room Blog

Advice on commercial water heater selection, maintenance and safety issues for businesses that rely on a steady supply of hot water.

Pumpkin Ale: A Festive and Delicious Beer for Fall

With the autumn upon us, now is the time for breweries to showcase their seasonal beers like the one-of-a-kind pumpkin ale!

First introduced in the 18th century, the American-born pumpkin ale has been a crowd pleaser for many years. Craft beer drinkers appreciate the flavors of this festive autumnal brew, packed with different spices. Pumpkin ale offers a variety of flavor interpretations from hints of pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving-in-a-bottle. This unique profile makes this beer a beloved and festive seasonal beverage.

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Are you interested in expanding your brewery? This Q&A with Lakefront Brewery president Russ Klisch will show you the pros and cons of owning a brewery restaurant business.

Q&A with Lakefront Brewery: The Pros and Cons of Running a Brewery & Restaurant 

Lakefront Brewery is a thriving and beloved brewery and restaurant at the heart of Milwaukee’s riverfront.

Founded in 1987 by two brothers, Russ and Jim Klisch, this iconic beer establishment has been providing the Milwaukee community with good beer, good food, and even better memories for over 30 years. Interestingly, their ever-popular restaurant, located in the brewery’s beer hall, wasn’t always part of the plan.

We sat down with Russ Klisch, president and co-founder of Lakefront Brewery, and Mike Walker, Lakefront Brewery Front of House Manager to learn more about what it’s like to run a brewery restaurant business, how to create great brews, and the details of Lakefront Brewery’s journey to becoming a treasured Milwaukee staple.

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Considering a new type of beer to offer at your brewery? Wild fermented ales are the healthiest beer to drink today. Hop on the latest beer trend!

Wild Fermented Ales: The Healthiest Beer to Drink Today

Is there really a beer that’s beneficial to your health? Read more to find out!

It’s true, out of all the different varieties of brews available, a wild ale is the healthiest beer to drink today. Through a hands-off fermentation process, these sour beers offer health benefits like stress relief as well as immune and digestive system support. Every beer lover knows the struggle of enjoying their drink of choice while also maintaining a healthy body; wild fermented ales allow you to do both. Add the latest beer trend to your brewery menu.

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saison beer

The Season for Pale Ale Beer: Why Saison is The Perfect Summer Beer

Now that summer is upon us, take a deeper look at how these tasty pale ale beers can brighten up your brewery.

With spring freshly finished and summer still full of hot, thirsty days, many breweries are rolling out their saison beers. These light, effervescent beers are excellent refreshments on hot days as the temperature climbs. The key to this unique pale ale beer treat is the saison yeast and the creative additions combined with the brew. Saison beers are often where brewmasters experiment with unique tastes and ingredients creating fruited beers and chocolate ales. Customers want something light and fun during the summer; saison beer is exactly that.

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What is a Saison Beer?

The modern saison is a pale ale beer known for its high carbonation and refreshing taste. Spices and fruit accents such as citrus and other non-traditional components are often mixed in with the yeast during the brewing process, giving these craft beers a one-of-a-kind flavor. Saisons are bottle conditioned, farmhouse style beers that come to their carbonation through additional yeast in the bottle. They’re best known for their unusual and playful elements, making it the perfect summer beer.

summer saison beer The most well-known saison beer is Saison Dupont, a wine-style bottled beer with a cork stopper and cage. Bottle conditioning makes this beer an excellent choice for aging, so a comparison to a fine wine makes sense. Similar beers include Brewery Ommengang’s Hennepin, Boulevard Brewery Company’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale and Goose Island Beer Co.’s Sofie.

These modern beers range from 5.0 to 8.0 ABV, averaging at 7.0. They rate an 8 on the SRM color scale, (similar to a good Weissbeir). These beers are made with yeast that handles high temperatures well, working best between 68 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Saison Dupont has an IBU rating of 28; a good starting point for the bitterness of your brew since most breweries using the name aim to model Saison Dupont.

A History of Saisons

Traditional saisons originated in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium. ‘Saison’ is French for ‘season.’ The name stuck because the pale ale beer was initially made by farmers during the cooler months, when they weren’t as focused on planting and harvesting.

Brewing during the cold season also meant a lower chance of the fermentation going bad–before refrigeration, brewing conditions were only perfect for certain months. Farmhands would brew the pale ale during the cool winter and enjoy it throughout the summer. The traditional farmhouse pale ale beer was produced with a lower alcohol content, as it was meant to be consumed on the job as a refreshment in the hot summer sun.

These days, saisons are also sometimes known as farmhouse ales–a branding tactic to appeal to those who may be put off by a French beer name.  The farmhouse ale label is also a way to differentiate the modern version with higher alcohol content from the lighter, traditional brew, which still has fans in Europe.

A few years ago, saisons trended on the craft brewery scene thanks to the success of Dupont Brewery. Their Saison Dupont Vieille Provision received several accolades within the American market, with Men’s Health magazine calling it “the world’s best beer” in July of 2005.

Saison craft beers offer an excellent opportunity for breweries to experiment with different tastes and ingredients. A delicious small batch could lead to more unique versions of this classic brew. Successful combinations might even evolve into your next perennial brew. Customers will return over many summers for a saison beer that tastes just right.

What’s Happening in the World of Saison?

Saison beer originated in the Wallonia region of Belgium.This seems to be the summer of the saison, even the New York Times thinks so. Thanks to the recent craft brew explosion, more and more people are looking to expand their horizons when bellying up to the bar. Putting a saison on your menu is a good test run to see how interested your customers are in trying different things. This pale ale beer especially enjoyable when properly paired with a summer food menu, should your establishment serve both. Talk to your chef and see if they have any ideas about crafting a paired special for the summer that could make your brewpub the talk of the town.

You’re able to literally spice up a saison by adding peppercorns and coriander. The success of the pumpkin spice saison in fall expanded palates around the world in a big way. Thanks to the craft brewing scene, ginger beer has made the leap from a non-alcoholic choice to a beer option. Mixing the warmth of ginger and a good beer is a satisfying drink for any season.

Although saison beers contain a traditional mix of fruits in their recipe, take a trip to your local world market to choose new fruits those farmers from Flanders would have never dreamed of mixing in. If there’s a favorite tropical fruit that you rarely see used in brewing, try it out in a saison beer to see how it fares.

The seasonal nature of this beer leaves it open for use as a platform to bring in all sorts of strange and interesting ingredients together. Although it’s less sweet than classic ciders or fruited beers, there’s still a refreshing summer kick. For brewing, fruits and spices are the traditional choices, but so many other things can be added to generate buzz for your brewery. Find a local business that produces something edible and speak with them about a cross-promotion opportunity, featuring their product in the mix for a saison pale ale beer. The ingredient could be something exotic. Butterfly beer, anyone?

Summer Lovin’

This is the time of year to broaden your horizons and experiment with something new. Your brewery or restaurant is no different. Saisons allow you to stretch your legs as a brewmaster and get people to notice your creativity. If you think you have a recipe that could work, consider renting a commercial water heater to help increase your manufacturing volume.

If you come up with an excellent new craft beer, don’t forget to raise a glass to those Flanders farmers from so many years ago.


Wallonia” courtesy of Flickr user Andrea Marchini. Photo courtesy Flickr cogocogo. Featured image and post image licensed for use under Creative Commons 2.0.

start a food truck

Is Food Truck Culture Right For Your Restaurant?

The number of food trucks is on the rise and that’s a good sign for the restaurant industry as a whole.

The popularity of food trucks is soaring and shows no signs of slowing down. Budding chefs and restaurateurs once saw food trucks as a novel way to enter into the culinary industry without a brick and mortar investment. Now, even established eateries are embracing food trucks for a variety of reasons. Before you starting truck shopping or coming up with punny names for your menu, consider the benefits and the challenges of operating a food truck connected to your restaurant. Here’s what every restaurateur needs to know about the trend.

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year-round outdoor dining

How to Add Year-Round Outdoor Dining to Your Restaurant

Everyone loves outdoor dining in the summer, but outdoor dining can boost your traffic all year long.

Eating outdoors (aka “dining al fresco”) is one of the simple pleasures of the restaurant patron experience. Food tastes better and drinks go down easier in the fresh air. For restaurant owners in the Midwest facing winter weather, it’s tough to weigh the cost-to-benefit ratio of setting up a space for a few months out of the year. Yet, with some smart strategies, it’s possible to create a comfortable patio, diners will enjoy with or without cooperation from Mother Nature.

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new restaurant tips

So You Opened A Successful Restaurant. Now What?

Congratulations on your successful restaurant launch! Now, how do you build on your reputation?

All your blood, sweat, toil and tears finally paid off. Not only did you open your restaurant successfully, but you’re ready to keep going—building on your triumph. A restaurant launch is an amazing accomplishment few people ever get to experience. Congratulations! Hidden inside most achievements are the first steps to the next challenge. How do you keep the ball rolling forward once the novelty wears off? Managing a restaurant requires a different mentality and skillset than starting a business. Here are a few tips to keep in mind…

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homegrown hops

The Secret to Homegrown Hops

The Midwest is known for beer and a crucial element of that beer is hops.

As the hop farming industry takes off, what do breweries need to know to get in on the growing game? Is it worth getting your hands dirty? Hops are as crucial a flavor factor in beer, as the percentage of alcohol and brewing process.  Craft breweries can boost flavor (and their locavore status) by adding their own homegrown hops. But growing your own hops is a big undertaking, especially for a small operation. If you’re considering growing hops at your brewery, here’s what you need to know.

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wisconsin craft beer hops vine

Wisconsin Craft Beer: A Brewing Tradition Enters The Modern Age

Brewing beer has been a Wisconsin tradition since territory times, with the first known breweries dating back to the 1830’s.  

In the decades following, Wisconsin has been home to some of the most well-known beer in America – making Miller High Life, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Leinenkugel’s and Schlitz household names.

But it’s no longer these brewing giants capturing the interest of many beer enthusiasts. Wisconsin craft beer is rapidly gaining in popularity, style and availability. We want to focus some well-deserved attention on some of the most popular and best Wisconsin beer – brewed in the hidden treasure troves of small Wisconsin microbreweries across the state. 

Read on!

Food Poisoning food prep line

How To Keep Food Poisoning Out of Your Restaurant

There’s no trick to keeping food poisoning out of your restaurant. Prevention is key, but when that doesn’t work, swift & honest corrective action is imperative.

Nobody wants to deal with food poisoning. Seriously, it’s the worst. Your customers don’t want to suffer the effects. Your employees don’t want to be accused of causing it. Restaurant management and ownership don’t t want to have to overcome an accusation of it. There are plenty of steps that can be taken to prevent food poisoning from striking. Education, training and discipline work to keep your restaurant clean, which is the majority of the battle.

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