Mike Bank

Diploma Graduate

What inspired you to do the Brewlab course?
I had been working in software for over a decade and was looking for a career change that was more exciting and did not keep me in an office all day. Learning about and enjoying good beer was always a hobby of mine so decided to become a brewer. I figured that taking the educational route was the fastest route to a brewing position and after researching the courses out there I decided on the Brewlab 10 week course. A big part of this was that it was overseas so that I could learn traditional UK brewing techniques and learn about the brewing culture. Another plus was that accommodation was included. This course adequately prepared me to pass the IBD Certificate in Brewing exam at the credit level.

What areas of the Brewlab course were most beneficial to you?
The laboratory sessions and the placements at local breweries. Since I was planning to seek employment as a brewer these helped me the most because I was able to start with some knowledge of industry practices and the benefit of QA/QC on beer production. This also made me familiar with lab techniques. The weekly brewing sessions were also helpful in forcing me to focus on recipe creation.

How beneficial did you find the practical side of the Brewlab course?
Very much. I found this to be helpful in seeing how different sized breweries operated. It also showed us real world examples of good practices and even poor practices in use. I found going to the larger breweries like Double Maxim very helpful.

Was there a part of the course you particularly liked/enjoyed?
I found the field trip to the malting facility very enlightening. Most brewers do not ever get opportunities like that so it is great to take advantage of it when you have the chance. Having pints with the other people on the course and instructors after class was enjoyable and helped me to think more critically about the beer I was drinking.

Where do you work now?
Ithaca Beer Co, Ithaca, NY

What is your position?
Brewer

How much beer do you produce?
on track for 25,000 bbls US production this year; semi-automated 50 bbl US 3 vessel brewhouse
5 bbl US brewhouse for pilot beers and beers to serve in the on-site taproom

What plans do you have for the future?
I plan to continue as a brewer for the time being as I am still learning much. Then possibly move to be a head brewer at a smaller place or a brewhouse supervisor at a larger one. Perhaps open my own brewery.

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