So You Wanna be a Brewer? 20 Real Facts About Working in a Brewery

Production Manager/Brewer for MadTree, and friend of the blog, Matt Rowe recently started a Twitter hashtag #SoYouWannaBeABrewer. I’ve dug this since the first one and they’ve only gotten better with time. Matt is providing us with insight into the boring doldrums, disgusting grime, and exciting joy of being a craft brewer. I’ll shut up now and let Matt and his tweets take it from here.

Real Fact #1: Waiting for cleaning cycles to finish at 11 pm during your late shift is like watching paint dry

Real Fact #2: Meet the 44 lb. hop box. It’s both the joy and bane of your existence. Why 44 lbs you ask? I don’t have a clue. All I know is it’s unnecessarily heavy and cumbersome to carry up the brew deck stairs.

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Real Fact #3: I hope you enjoy puking at 9 am as you shovel rotting grain slime by hand. This was only two weeks of buildup under our spent grain trailer. The scent was a mix of feces and rotting flesh. Yum.

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Real Fact #4: Hop dust on top of fermenters proves the perfect spot for words of wisdom. It’s this grand opportunity for a creative outlet that keeps us brewers sane sometimes.

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Real Fact #5: Hope you don’t typically make use of you Friday evenings, because those are called working hours.

Real Fact #6: This hot tar like substance is caustic after cleaning our filter. Delicious!

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Real Fact #7: Just clocked 5 hours on my “off” day. Days off are few and far between as a brewer. Cherish them.

Real Fact #8: Days off can also be great. Like a long walk with the dog, right past @Dutchs to pick up some beer!

Real Fact #9: Think stuck sparges blow at home? Try a mash tun with 1,500 pounds of grain and you’ll wanna die.

Real Fact #10: Meet the five gallon blow off bucket. Doesn’t it look so clean and new? Don’t worry though you’ll get a chance to spend 15 minutes scrubbing it clean again in a few hours thanks to the wonders of fermentation.

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Real Fact #11: When you hit a working groove with another brewer on your shift this is the greatest workplace on earth. And yes I’m talking about a brewmance. See what I did there?

Real Fact #12: Boot deep in stinking, rotting grain in our spent grain trailer at 7 am. Glory.

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Real Fact #13: After a year in a brewery you should have achieved the status of tri-clamp ninja. This means you can secure a tri-clamp fitting upside down, backwards, with your non-dominant hand while lying in a pool of hops and yeast.

Real Fact #14: Even most beer drinking outside of work becomes a taste test for carbonation and off flavors.

Real Fact #15: Your co-brewers will wait to schedule a barrel tasting until you are out of town.

Real Fact #16: Dropping the fact that you`re a brewer when visiting another brewery instantly alters the conversation.

Real Fact #17: Once hop dust hits your eyeballs it turns to instant napalm. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT GET IN YOUR EYES.

Real Fact #18: Beer doesn’t care that your fellow brewers are at GABF. I got my ass kicked brewing solo this morning.

Real Fact #19: Ready for the night shift? Five brews a day means your shift starts at noon and ends past midnight.

Real Fact #20: Brewing has its bad days, just like any other job. Except you get to be pissed and covered in crap.

That’s the first 20 he’s put out so far. If you like what you see follow his twitter account @LooseScrewBeers for more!

19 thoughts on “So You Wanna be a Brewer? 20 Real Facts About Working in a Brewery”

  1. #2: 44.1 pounds is 20 kilograms, that’s why. One day we’ll be on the metric system, and life will be easy.
    Same with 55 pounds, 1 sack of grain is 25 kilos.
    Scaling is SOO much easier at powers of 10.

    1. Well, actually 3 countries have landed on the moon, 2 of whom use the metric system.
      3 countries don’t use the metric system, only one of which has been to the moon.
      I have to say that your comment is incorrect in every way.
      And if we are bringing together completely unrelated ‘facts,’ America has been to the moon, it doesn’t use the metric system and is the ONLY country to drop a nuclear weapon on a populated civilian area. Oh, and they did that twice.
      Is there also a correlation between gun violence and not using the metric system?
      What about not using the metric system and disparity in wealthy distribution, inadequate healthcare system, etc?

  2. Did a double take on #20. I read it as “Except you get to be pissed ON and covered in crap”

    For perspective, at least that new statement isn’t true for brewing! That’s what those of us who work in veterinary medicine have to deal with everyday. The smell from actual feces and rotting flesh is pretty awful too, but you get used to it after a while!

    However, playing with cute animals every day for me and creating delicious beverages for you seems like a fair tradeoff for the shittier parts of our jobs 🙂

    1. Hop dust. If you’ve ever opened a new bag and said, “hey, I bet this smells great. Let me stick my WHOLE face in and give it a whiff,” you’ve probably gotten some of said napalm in your eyes. Spot on with all of these.

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