My First Week
This is my first blog ever, so please go easy on me if it’s not that interesting. My last day at Bj’s was December 1st and it was surreal. I have been working there for so long and with so many great people that it had become a second home; leaving it couldn’t help but make me feel sad. I got over that pretty quickly. I know that Patrick is going to provide a great work environment that will allow me to continually learn about this great “hobby” that we call brewing. I feel that there is so much to learn about brewing that you always have to keep an open ear and mind to be able to brew great beer. The day that you think you know everything is the day that you fail as a brewer; it is our job, along with the home-brewing community, to continually expand beer as we know it.
My first day at The Bruery was definitely not what I’m used to; instead of doing laboratory work, racking, and etc… I was ordering safety and brewing equipment. Equipment that I have always taken for granted as just being in a brewery. We started putting the brew house in place Wednesday morning. I thought that we would easily place the brew house and fermenters in no time, I couldn’t have been more wrong. We placed the mash/lauter tun first, which should’ve have been an easy task but once it was in its place, it had to spin 90°. I don’t know if we picked the best or safest way to do this but let’s just say at one point I was trying to balance and spin it while it was floating in the air. We lubed up cardboard and set the mash tun on them so we could turn the mash tun ourselves; I wish someone was there to record it, what were we thinking! After we finished with the mash tun, we were able to place the boil kettle; having learned from the mash tun, we decided to attack the kettle like a crane would (I wish we had one.) It took about an hour to come up with a safe rigging to lift and transport the kettle over a foot high curb and it worked beyond my expectations! We placed the kettle inside the brewing area with almost no problems at all, if only the roof could have been 3 feet taller. Once inside the brewing area, we had to spin the kettle so the man-way would be facing our brewing platform. We re-did the rigging so it would hang from one central point allowing Patrick and I to physically spin the kettle while hanging from the forklift (if only we could’ve done that with the mash tun). We went on to move the whirlpool and cold liquor tank in place with almost no effort at all and by then the day had already ended.
What I thought would take only a few hours, ended up taking a full day. I know now why most breweries use a crane to move brewing vessels, size being one of them, but mostly because a forklift, a curb, and a ceiling make things very difficult to place the equipment where you envision it.