The brewers were running a small generator outside the steamy warehouse in an industrial section of Alexandria — “it’s for the radio and our coffeemaker, and we’re charging cellphones,” Butcher said — but the big find was a 75-kilowatt generator powerful enough to run Port City’s cooling system. Miraculously located, it arrived on a United Rentals Truck trailer from Manassas just before noon.
“This is a welcome sight — just awesome,” Reeves said. “I hope it works.”
“It will just commit suicide,” Reeves said, explaining that at a certain temperature, the fermenting brew would become undrinkable. “It would taste like nail polish.”
With extensive heat exposure, the beer in the other tanks — thousands of gallons of lager and ales and such — could eventually become stale or spoil, too.
He got in his car to fill up three 20-liter tanks with diesel fuel while everybody else waited for the electricians to show up.
A customer dropped by to return an empty keg. His review was rave: “Only three drops left,” he told Butcher.
By mid-afternoon Monday, the electricians had arrived to connect the generator.
Shortly after 5 p.m., they had it hooked it up to the cooling system.
Within minutes, temperatures in the tanks began to drop.
“Things are looking good,” Butcher declared.
He’ll drink to that.
UPDATE: Having saved the beer, the Port City guys have decided to party it up. They’re throwing a kegger Tuesday, to toast a new state code that allows Virginia breweries to serve beer 16 ounces at a time in their tasting rooms. (Previously, they were limited to six-ounce pours; the code took effect Sunday, and Port City Brewing Co. had planned to throw a pint party that day before the derecho knocked out the power.)
The party will run from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and it’s BYOB. As in Bring Your Own Sweat Blotter: The tasting room’s air conditioning isn’t yet running.
Bonnie Benwick and Lena H. Sun contributed to this report.