When we think of craft brewing, we often picture huge fermentation tanks and a bunch of guys hanging out and trying out different types of beer. While this image is not exactly wrong (c’mon brewmasters, it’s happened, we know it), it’s not entirely on target either. There is a large amount of work that goes into craft brewing, from sourcing the ingredients to determining energy sources, and further on to deciding what the taproom is going to look like. The process is not simple, but some days it really can be a bunch of guys sitting around testing the new brews.
The truth is, craft brewing is about far more than just clowning around. Sure, there is plenty of fun to be had, especially in the professional tasting process, but the hard work involved can take quite a lot of effort from the brewmaster and staff! For example, the fermentation process itself takes time and sweat. Fermentation tanks are hot and a room full of them may as well be a sauna in some cases. The hearty staff employed by the brewery know how to handle these conditions and they make it look easy. However, the work is not easy and the time they spend on quality control is very important.
While sourcing and selecting ingredients can be streamlined, the actual craft brewing process is not so simple! There are several steps in the process and each one takes time. One of the most time-consuming tasks is the aging process. Whether the brew is being aged in casks or in barrels (a great trend) this process can take days to weeks and it’s certainly worth the wait. Once this step is completed the fun begins. Testing the new brew is usually a fun time for the tasting panel!
These guys are serious about their craft and they’re darn good at it. Most brewmasters have spent years developing their skills and they save the clowning for long after the brew is ready for the taps. They realize there will be plenty of time for fun at the taproom where they can discuss the craft brewing process with taproom patrons. This is also a great time for them to ask patrons’ opinions about their new beer.
So, next time you get to try a new craft beer, remember to see if the brewmaster is around and ask them about the story behind the brew! You never know, there could be a serious timeline involved or even a round of shenanigans in their tale. No matter how the brew was created, you can bet they put a lot of time into creating the beer you are drinking.