I find myself compelled to make my apologies for the infrequency of my blog posts. However, I feel as if this implies a bit of hubris, as if my vast adoring public has been putting life on hold in hopes of a new post. The following are some random thoughts to catch you up on professional me over the past year.
2014 has brought much change and growth on the brewing side. Aaron Stryker took his talents to Cincinnati and Rhinegeist Brewing Company. Side note: They are growing at a staggering pace, and I hear they are turning out some killer beers, not that I have had them yet. Hint, hint... Aaron brought solid industry experience to the brewery, and I am excited for him that he has moved on to such and exciting opportunity.
In March, Andy Gallagher joined the brewing staff at Cranker's. Andy is a skilled brewer and we work well together. One of the thing he brings to the table is knowledge of water chemistry, and that leads leads into what has been going on beer wise at the brewery.
I had the goal of making 2014 the year that we took the next step in beer quality, by digging deeper into technical topics, especially water chemistry. With the prompting of John Palmer we dove into it (pun). Our work on the subject is ongoing, but I feel that our beers will continue to improve as we dial in our process. We are excited to see where our beers will be a year from now. Also, due to increased distribution of our product across the state, we are expecting 45% growth over 2013.
This week Andy and I will be departing for our first Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. For the first time we will be competing in the GABF Competition were five of our beers will compete against the best beers in the country. Being as overly competitive as I am, I mixed emotions about competing in this realm. For years I was active in homebrew competitions, and now I am competing on beers grandest stage. It is humbling and intimidating.
Finally on the the thought that inspired me to dust off this ill tended corner of the Internet. Due to our travels to Denver this week, I find myself brewing on a Sunday. I was sitting in my office filling out the brew log for today's batch of Bulldog Irish Red and realizing how much peace I felt. It was the exact feeling that I had just two short years ago. I would wake up at 5:00am, go down stairs and fire up my strike water as the first step of my brew day. It was quiet. Peggy and the kids were still sleeping. The ritual of brewing was relaxing, just as it is today as my profession. Sometimes it takes a quiet, empty brewery to remember how completely you love what you do.
Drink good beer with good people!