What A Month
August 3, 2011
It’s overcast and raining in Cooperstown this evening, so what better time to sit back on the couch with a beer and pound out a blog post. With July being over, I’m now in my fifth week as a full-time brewer at Ommegang. My apartment situation has me with a full lease on a nice two bedroom place near Main Street, but unable to move in until two weekends from now due to a series of boring (to you) circumstances.
The first half of the month was extremely stressful with the apartment hunt combined with trying to get comfortable around a new group of coworkers and a much more complicated brewhouse than I’m used to working with. Once I got the apartment situation worked out and starting feeling comfortable with the situation at work, things have been pretty awesome.
At this point I’ve got the brewhouse down pretty well, so next week will likely see me starting in the cellaring area. That’ll be a much longer training period considering it would include learning to use the CIP system to clean the brewhouse, fermentors, bottling line, keg filler, and brite tanks, while also learning to use the centrifuge and DE filter. That’s quite a bit, especially when you add in the paranoia of being able to send caustic or various acids anywhere in the building that you want with the CIP system. Talk about needing to be REALLY careful about what you’re doing. Nothing would ruin my day more than pumping caustic into over 250 hectolitres of fermented beer or sending caustic into a fermentor that still has CO2 in it and collapsing the tank.
Despite any stresses related to the job, it’s great to finally be getting paid to do what I love. The only thing that would make it better would be to finally have my homebrew stuff with me so I could get back to experimenting with my own recipes. It’s great to be a professional brewer, but I still love the creative aspect and want to get back to it.
Of course this is all a step in the long term goals, or at least I hope so. I don’t really plan to be working for someone else, and brewing someone else’s beer, for the rest of my career. Everything I’m doing is in line with the vision of getting myself into a better position down the road. Whether I’d be opening my own place, partnering up with someone to start a brewpub or something like that, or something else, it’s all about getting to the ownership/partnership/master-brewer side of things. That’s all in the future, but I’ll be learning and working toward my goals while I enjoy the job and area I’m in. This is gonna be fun.
Now to start thinking about what my first homebrew batch will be once I’ve moved into the new apartment… 🙂