As one year ends and another begins, things have been quiet as far as the physical brewery goes. 2009 has been a year learning and making new friends.
Prior to 2009 most of my brewing knowledge came from the homebrewers circle. The homebrew clubs I belong to are filled with many great brewers from a variety of backgrounds. The club events not only have more beer to sample than you can shake a stick at, but they also include a variety of educational opportunities. One of the best things I did to become a better homebrewer was becoming a beer judge. I attended the BJCP classes not just to become a judge, but more so to learn how to make my beer better. I do have to say, my beer did indeed improve after taking this class.
The Master Brewers Association of the Americas offered a beer trouble-shooting and analysis class in early 2009, which I attended. This two day course went through many fish-bone diagrams gathered over several years documenting the experiences learned by breweries as they addressed flaws in their beers. I have to say I was over-whelmed by the amount of information I pulled away from this class. The documented experiences of the many professional brewers were quite invaluable. Not to mention the new found respect I gained for the large macro-breweries. It is unbelievable the amount of research and funding they provide to the entire industry to keep the quality of ingredients on the up and up.
Another place I was able to learn much from professional brewer’s experiences was at the 2009 Craft Brewers Conference in Boston. I attended numerous seminars given by brewers and other trade professionals. The seminars were quite laid back and allowed time to ask the presenter questions that pertain to your own experience, or lack there of. The social events were also great for getting to know some of the other brewers. From the brewery tours to the beer tasting events, I was able to make many great contacts and have many great conversations.
I wrapped up the later part of 2009 with a chemistry class I took at the Minneapolis Community College. What can possibly be more fun than learning about Avogadro’s number, stoichiometry, molarity, precipitation reactions, enthalpy, thermodynamics, bonding, molecular geometry, intermolecular forces, etc.? Okay, brewing beer is more exciting, but I’ll never look at it the same way. The class was actually quite fun. I also was able to perform many experiments without harming anyone.
What is in store for 2010? I just started the American Brewers Guilds’ Intensive Brewing Science & Engineering program. This will take up a majority of my time between now and July. Some other goals are to short list some brewery sites, purchase some equipment and get the brand and image completed.
I’ll keep you posted.