It seems like it has taken forever but we have finally started brewing! We made a Golden Ale late Saturday night that was 12.5° plato and I am mashing an Amber Ale at this very minute! And in fact, I now must go and start the sparge!
Update: Well, this batch of American Style Amber Ale turned out just fine. I hit all my target numbers and the starting gravity of 13.9 plato and high mash temperature should make for some great malt character in the finished product. The bittering hop was Nugget and the finishing hops were Cascade and Centennial. The day was a bit long though because of a extended lauter (separating the sweet wort from the malt husks prior to boiling). I'll have to work on this but things went much smoother than our first test beer where the lauter was so long that it was what we brewers call a "stuck mash". It's not something that effects quality but is something that keeps a brewer from his evening tipple!
And with these two test beers I'm off to the US for a month of well needed R&R - seeing my mum, running around NYC and chilling on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. As the pub probably won't be ready to open till September, I saw a window of opportunity and sized it. Hopefully a little of these two test beers will be left when I return in late August to fire up the kettle again and get ready for the grand opening!