Archive for January, 2016

Thoughts after first few days of classes

I recently quit my job to pursue a career in the brewing industry and that journey began for real on this past Monday when I finally started the Brewery program at Niagara College. I’ve been a little nervous about getting back to school and how things would go once I got there, but so far things have been good. I’ve scraped high level ideas from my years of brewing, and now I’m going to have the time to dig into the guts of everything and get a stronger understanding of parts of the process that I’ve never really bothered myself with up until now. The people teaching all of the brewing classes have amazing histories in the industry such as 20+ years doing QA at Labbatt. I’ve yet to experience all my classes, but so far all the brewing ones have been wonderful.

The knowledge in the class varies from very little to quite a bit and several of my classmates already have careers working in the industry and are looking to level up what they are doing. And even though some of us have never worked for real in a brewery, we still got to do that on ourĀ second day of classes. While the schedule said we’d only be there for three hours, we were there until almost 4. Though, if you’ve ever brewed beer before it makes sense, since a typical brew day from setup to tear down on takes at least 5 hours on a home-brew setup. There were a few hiccups on that day so our day got extended by a bit, but it wasn’t a huge deal. The group I was in was slotted to work on a craft setup that you’d see in a commercial brewery, so we got to learn learn about all the valves and levers and how they are to be used. Even on such a small system the amount of information to absorb was overwhelming. Valve configuration is super important and pulling the wrong one could result in losing a batch of beer, sending wort to the wrong location or even getting severely injured. Though, the program takes safety pretty seriously so they make sure that we have an understanding of all the things we need to do and how to do it safely.

Working on the craft system was a bit awkward because everyone needed to learn about how it all works. So there was a lot of downtime, but the day still went by extremely fast. We had time to process the information, talk about brewing and do a few small tasks. In the coming weeks our groups are going to be split up into a bunch of work around the brewery which should be pretty rad. The work will vary from brewing on the craft system, so packaging products for distribution in the tasting room and bottle shop.

I’m going to be learning a lot in the next 16 months, and I’m looking forward to all of it.