What inspired you to do the Brewlab course?
After years of bartending in sports bars and clubs, I decided it was time for me to move on and see what else was out there for me. While I was watching TV one day I saw a commercial for Sam Addams with fat bearded men working in a brewery, toasting each other with craft beers and looking very happy. That’s when I decided that I wanted to work in a brewery too. Just not as a fat bearded man. After tons of research, I chose Brewlab as the brew school for me. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
What areas of the Brewlab course were most beneficial to you?
Since I was a beginner, the massive amount of brewing science that’s covered in lectures and PowerPoints throughout the course was amazing. It’s an in depth look into what’s really going on beyond the barley, hops, yeast and water. But since then, I’ve realized the practical application of brewing small batches, learning lab skills, and working in the local breweries every week is what really sets Brewlab apart from other brewing courses. All the brewing schools teach book work, but Brewlab is one of the only ones teaching applicable skills.
How beneficial did you find the practical side of the Brewlab course?
The onsite work days at local British breweries were really fun and it allows you to apply what you’re learning during the course and get a feel for what the daily job truly entails. It’s amazing how many people go to brew school and have never seen wort boiling in a kettle, grained out 1000 pounds of grain, or know when to wear their Personal Protection Equipment. Coming into the brewing game with real world experience is invaluable.
Was there a part of the course you particularly liked/enjoyed?
I loved developing my own craft beer recipes every week and spending the day brewing my creation. That’s what the industry is all about. It’s relaxing, the brewery smells amazing and everyone goes home with tons of awesome beers. So many beers. Too many to drink!
Please tell us what you have done since the course.
After leaving Brewlab, I immediately got a job at Beltway Brewing Company in Virginia as a cellar-person. I worked there for about two years before moving to Florida and accepting a full time brewer position at Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Now, about five years after attending Brewlab, I’m the Lead Brewer at Solace Brewing Company in Dulles, Virginia. This past year we brewed 4 thousand barrels of beer and I manage a team of 3 other brewers. I’m also actively involved in my area’s Pink Boots Society chapter and I’ve published an article in Virginia Craft Beer Magazine. Most people still think the coolest thing I’ve ever done is go to brew school in England!
Would you recommend Brewlab?
Absolutely! I’ve already recommended it to some fellow craft beer enthusiasts who have attended the course and thanked me for sending them in Brewlab’s direction. It was totally worth it, not only for the brewing knowledge but for the life adventure. I made some of the best friends and memories. No regrets!