My Brewery Journey
Just a short time ago, or so it seems, I had no idea the specifics of how breweries operate- or the myriad of details that go into brewing just one batch of beer. But, as a curious person, with the support of my wonderful boss, I went on a brewery education endeavor.
I started with a bigger name in the craft beer industry- Two Brothers Brewery. The equipment set-up was something to behold- they mill their grain, use multiple bright tanks, and own a centrifuge to filter the fermented beer before it goes into the bright tanks. Two Brothers also owns their own bottling and canning lines. In addition to all of this, they have lots of plans for future growth.
A week following the Two Brothers tour, I went to visit a smaller scale craft brewery, Pollyanna Brewing Company. It was convenient, as they are located in the same town where I live. Being located downtown, I was very impressed by their use of space- versus most other breweries having a space in an industrial area. The lack of space cause Pollyanna to devise a creative solution for getting all their materials from the parking lot directly to the production area: an under ground lift. Who would have thought?! Another challenge they faced was needing to filter the local Lemont water supply- which comes from deep wells. This results in a lot of their space being taken by huge tanks of filtered water. BUT, this gives them the benefit of enriching the water specifically for certain recipes, and the ability to make some unique beers!
A few days later our local library had a wonderful event about colonial brewing-(just what I needed). Back then beer was a necessity. It had less alcohol content and was consumed instead of water for safety purposes. The malt was produced by floor malting in Germany. I learned not only about the history, but some more of the basics as well. For example: Why do we need hops? They add bitterness, anti-microbial properties, clarify wort, and of course add flavor and aroma.
Last, but not least, was a visit to Skeleton Key Brewery for their open brew event. That was amazing! Not only did I see the processes first hand, but learned yet another variation of equipment set up! Skeleton Key does not yet use bright tanks, but kegs the beer directly from the fermentation tanks.
All in all, my brewery education endeavor was a great success. I feel much more prepared to help our brewery clients. And, added bonus, I’m totally into beer now! Cheers!