Friday, April 11, 2008

Brewing Delay

Prepare yourself for a bit of a college story (though I thought these days were over)!
University living has its plus (cheap rent) and minus (rules). We've been a happy brewing household until quite recently. University housing services perform an annual safety inspection. They give residents notice that they will be entering your apartment for a safety inspection. I'm not even sure if this is entirely legal but I suppose we probably signed something that allows them to enter with warning. In our experience, they never make safety comments, but they do utilize the opportunity to tell you to sweep leaves off your balcony or to let you know that your surfboard and wetsuit is not an appropriate decoration. Until now, they've never called us out on the kegerator.
The kegerator has been a center for rejoice rather than a repulsion. We receive lots of comments and of course, everyone appreciates a homebrew. We even entertained the cable guy until we had free premium channels (years later, its still free!). The FNG housing director showed up last week for the annual inspection and left a kind letter for us (cc: file). Essentially, FNG cited the housing handbook stating kegs and tap systems were prohibited.
He gave us 7 days. Yesterday he returned to inspect our apartment to confirm that it has been removed.
The residential handbook is not really written for graduate housing. It applies more to the crazed (but justified - I was once there too) undergraduates across campus. The kegerator, after all, should be the least of his worries. The fact that I make beer here should probably be more of a concern. I'm sure he noticed the 60 bottle wine fridge filled and the liquor shelf (good thing he didn't see the other cabinets filled with libations!). Anyway, graduate student housing is distinctly different than undergrad housing and dorms. This kegerator serves BEER. An equivalent tap system on the other side of campus would serve fizzy yellow stuff. Our file does not show raging parties or unusual heavy traffic. This kegerator is a vessel of art and craft; likely unfamiliar to FNG housing director and chief safety inspector.
After the official letter, I felt I needed to comply, at least for FNG's satisfation. It did state that tap systems were prohibited inside the apartment and that he would inspect our living room in one week to ensure that it has been removed.
I opted to move the kegerator to our outdoor storage cabinet. After careful measurement, it would fit in the small outdoor storage area and would be an unlikely area for inspection. I figure if this guy takes a glove around the apartment, at least I can say that one week was not enough time to find a good home!
As a brewer, this outdoor storage area is filled with my all grain system, grain bins, and other brewing equipment. After a couple of hours of moving around boxes and bins, we finally squeezed the entire kegerator in this tiny outdoor storage closet.
At the same time, I was curious if FNG would look around the rest of the apartment for the kegerator. I closed our second bedroom door during the morning of inspection and placed a strategic piece of scotch tape to know the seal was broken. I know, this doesn't get me anywhere, but I really wanted to know how anal this kid was.
FNG inspected and left us a note to thank us for compliance. The note also said he planned leaving a note in our file that we complied with the request (like we care what the file has in it!). The seal to the bedroom was broken. I knew FNG would peek around the rest of the apartment (really, is this legal? I feel like he violated my 5th amendment right). The balcony access was very casual and it doesn't seem like the outdoor storage closet would fit the kegerator. Oh, I also "sealed" the sliding glass door just to see if he would inspect everything.
We'd pull the kegerator back out of the storage closet and put it in its rightful place but we just received another notice: fire alarm inspections! Can you believe that!? I'm sure FNG is also the fire marshal! Hopefully, the kegerator will be reinstated next week (after another damn inspection) and I'll have my brewing closet back for business.

2 comments:

  1. Man, dude, that sucks. It sucks to be treated like a fuckin' kid, and have somebody going gestapo on your ass who knows nothing about craft beer, apparently. And I hate to say it but you probably have 0% chance of actually influencing that guy's opinion about beer enough to change his mind.

    So you either have to go stealth, or just make adjustments with your space and keep the kegerator in the shed. I can relate to the space issues, but I'm envious that you have an outdoor space at all! I can't wait to move somewhere out of NYC and have all the ammenities like backyard, basement, and garage again.

    Happy brewing! Sean

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  2. We'll be in stealth mode for a while. At least until she graduates, then we get booted out of graduate housing. Our next destination may be local or distant. As of now, possibilities include San Francisco, Boston, New York, or staying in San Diego. Unfortunately, I don't have much choice in the matter!

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