Ryanself's Blog

Living the Dream
July 14, 2009, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

First day at work at the brewery. Now, I’ve been warned that this is not a glamorous gig, but my first task was to scoop out the spent grain from the previous batch. See, the liquid goes through this big tank, then through a false bottom, leaving spent grain that is basically just teaming with bacteria and smelling plenty ripe. I was handed a shovel and a wheelbarrow and told to get rid of it – and I loved it.

Do you hear this, people – I was basically told, “Here, scoop up all this disease” – and it was totally fine.
Knowing this, try to wrap your mind around how much my last job must have sucked.

So, that was my morning, but it’s also acknowledged by everyone involved as by far the worst part of brewing beer. It’s all labor, mind you, but that’s the particularly dirty and arduous part. I spent the rest of the day cleaning kegs (the machine looks like one of the evil Transformers) and basically just learning the brewing process from a guy who I swear could start a brewery tomorrow and have a batch of gold-medal beer by nightfall. And, he has a Vermont accent – it’s like Canadian, but more soothing than enraging. Good dude.

Did I mention that my boss was a longtime corporate bigshot who basically said “well, this life can go screw,” traveled around the country in an RV and then one day decided “Charlotte needs a brewery.” In other words, the man is in it for all the right reasons. He loves his product, he loves watching people enjoy it, he loves coming home from work not wanting to stick a shotgun in his mouth. He’s basically me, but 10 years older and far taller and better looking.

So, I like my job. My coworker tells me he has lost 15 pounds since he started there, since the brewery is hot and hell and it’s real labor. However, he’s still working at a brewery…not ballooning up to Rosie O’Donnell size is damn impressive, much less losing weight. I like that little side perk.

Like most jobs, mine rocks after one day.


4 Comments so far
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Spent grain teeming with bacteria? How long had it been sitting there? It shouldn’t be nasty if you clean it out as soon as you’re done mashing and sparging. Spent grains smell really good right after the mash.

Comment by EvilGnome6

I thought it spelled fantastic, but apparently after just 2-3 days it gets pretty ripe.

Comment by ryanself

Yeah, it will get really ripe after 2-3 days. Best to clean it out quickly. Probably not a good idea to have a festering tank full of bacteria to risk contaminating your fermenters.

Lots of breweries give or sell the spent grains to local farmers as feed or for compost. That’s pretty cool.

Comment by EvilGnome6

Yep, that’s what we do…the grain is picked up by a local farmer, says the animals go nuts for it.

Comment by ryanself

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