Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reflections and Revelations

I've been doing quite a bit of reading recently.  Reading about the brewing process as a whole, differing mash schedules, yeast pitch rates, hop utilization, overall efficiency, recipe formulation, brewery operations, and on and on and on.  It occurred to me that one of the most rewarding (so far) parts of this process of opening a commercial nano-brewery is the learning.  There are so many parts of this process that relate back to me sitting in a classroom, bored out of my mind, because I had no idea how any of the information I was being taught would ever relate to the real world...but now I know exactly how they can relate!  I recently posted a photo of a stir plate in action that I had just completed building on Facebook and had several comments about it.  The one that stuck the most, however, was from my sister who said, "You guys should speak to a hs science class. Seriously. What could possibly get U.S. kids excited about science more quickly than the idea that they could use their new skillz to make BEER?! I just solved the science brain drain problem right there, people."  While I don't think there is a high school in the world that would let us come in to talk about our process, I do think there is a serious grain of truth there.  I have heard several stories of current professional brewers who happened to be in the right place at the right time and had the right professor steer them in the direction of brewing.

I always enjoyed science class and was generally pretty adept at many of the concepts, but still had no idea how in the world it was going to translate to my everyday life after high school and college.  My aspirations at the time really had nothing to do with applied science.  I had also always enjoyed building things and, sometimes more so, tearing things apart.  Now I am entering into a world that I should have known about years ago because it meshes virtually all of the skills and subjects that I have enjoyed!

I'm not sure I can speak for the other guys in this little self-reflective discovery, but what I do know is that I am unbelievably excited about moving forward.  All of these random interests are now concentrated into one specific endeavor.  Much to my girlfriend's chagrin, I am excited enough about this on a daily basis to come home after a full day of work only to cook dinner and go right to work on some project for the brewery.  Whether it is reading about craft beer trends, sourcing suppliers for our ingredients or building small electronics projects I have a hard time sitting around and not working!  Last night I forgot to eat dinner for the first time (I had a snack, but that really doesn't count!) because I was researching appropriate rpm rates for yeast starters on a stir plate!  Really?  I eschewed pork loin for research on stir plate usage?  I think I might have a sickness of some sort.  While I don't think my experience is identical to those of the other guys, I think all of us are really, truly enjoying this process.  Even though it has, at times, been extremely frustrating, it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience to this point, and many would say that we haven't even gotten to the fun part yet!

Stir Plate Assembly (yes, it's even on the kitchen counter!)

Completed Stir Plate in action

1 comment:

  1. Your sister sounds like a genius. But seriously, this process is fascinating. I never knew how much went into all of this! So glad you're all enjoying it, and I'm looking forward to reaping the rewards of your hard work!