Tag Archives: assistant brewer

Submersed in Beer

If you’d asked me three years ago if I would ever imagine myself completely submersed in the world of beer, I would’ve laughed my ass off as I popped the top off of a Fat Tire or Blue Moon and drank it straight from the bottle.
My goodness how things change. This entire week has been nothing but brewing, beer, cleaning and more brewing. And beer.
Scrubbed out faucets and cleaned tap lines in the beginning of the week. My hands have healed from the scrub brushes just in time to scrub out some more tomorrey!
Keg delivery is tomorrey as well! Gotta replenish those taps with fresh brews! And hopefully replenish myself with a new experiment by head chef, Chuy? Hint hint, Chuy, if you’re reading this, hehe. We’ll also be dropping off kegs at The LAB Brewing for a local tap takeover for Father’s Day! If you’re in town, head over there on Saturday and sample some of the amazing brews the Agoura Hills/Moorpark/Ventura County has!
The brew days have only contained slight injuries. Tuesday’s consisted of 175 degree spent grain falling into my boot. Today, I somehow have bruised lines across the tops of my knees as well as a blister on my finger from a hot water burn. Not bad for a double brew week!
Today, the grain mill jammed on our last 20lbs of malted wheat. Luckily it was an easy fix – scoop everything out, find the small stone that had gotten lodged between the gears, then reassemble and finish milling.
Once in a while we get spoiled during these early mornings and are surprised with bacon from the kitchen. These mornings are my favorite.
This morning, unfortunately, was not one of those mornings. Three cups of coffee and crunching on the grain before we mashed in made do.
We also had some quality control to do – Surfin’ Monks was transferred yesterday and carbonated today. It passed the test.
Luckily, I won’t be doing what I was last weekend – an overnight brew at Enegren. We mashed in at 7:30pm and worked until 6am. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
…Unless your 3am meal consists of flamin’ hot Cheetos, M&Ms and Gatorade from a late run to 7-11. Sometimes you just get desperate.
Luckily, coffee heals all. Apparently it works faster when you snort it.

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Filed under brewery, brewing

Wolf Creek Unplugged

This week I’ll be recapping every single day as a “Week in the Life of an Assistant Brewer” to give anyone who’s interested a glimpse of what a regular work week looks like for me.

Please keep in mind that my position is as assistant brewer in a brewpub that is preparing to transition from a 10bbl system up to a 30bbl production brewery. My days vary considerably from what a typical assistant brewer’s day looks like.
This morning I rolled out of bed, threw coffee in my to-go mug and got to work around 9:30am (we like to slowly transition from weekend mode to work week mode) to start filling the boil kettle with water and heating it up for keg washing.
My lovely spaceship. I’ll be jumping in there soon enough to scrub off all the hard water scale and hop residue after our next brew day. In case you didn’t know, Valencia water is essentially made of rocks. It’s this hard:
I actually pulled these from the drain a few weeks ago. All that buildup created actual rocks from mineral deposits. Crazy!
While we waited for the water to heat, the other assistant brewer, Rick, and I popped the stem out of one of the kegs to make sure that nothing evil or disgusting was growing inside. I’m thrilled to report that it was absolutely spotless! We had an incredibly impossible time trying to crank the o-ring back in once we replaced the stem, though. The palm of my hand and my fingertips have the bruises to prove it.
I hopped into the kitchen to grab the list of specials – one of my favorite parts of the day! On a typical day, I pace between the brewery and the door to the kitchen, waiting for the “breakfast soup” to be done. Today I actually had time to consume foods for breakfast, so the pacing was kept to a minimum.
Speaking of pacing, I pace in these. As a proud member of the Pink Boots Society, I now wear these with pride. Originally I went out to get the tackiest boots I could find, but now I’m slightly in love with them.
Fire. It’s just what we do. We had to replace some tubing on our keg washer, and of course you can’t do that without a torch… No, I’m certain that this is the legit way.
Rick was stuck with the task of keg washing, as I had an appointment at noon to visit the new brewery location to take some “before” pictures for the new blog I’ll be beginning tonight, documenting the process of opening a production facility. We walked the area, talked about silo and flex auger locations, almost melted in the 95 degree heat, and I snapped away.

We wrapped up the day early around 2pm and I headed home with the air conditioner blasting, my new iPad (on loan from the brewery for social media purposes) buckled securely in the passenger seat. The rest of the day was spent consuming giant mugs full of Moose Tracks ice cream and editing photos for the brewery blog. The only question that remains:
Which wine do I open tonight?

(Wonderful side note: Both of these bottles were given as tips when I worked at Enegren this weekend. No complaints here!)


Filed under brewery, Daily Life

Real Life Begins… NOW!

I’m officially done with my job working for the artist! After the lovely evening at Four Peaks Brewing, we had a windy drive home.
It was an incredibly turbulent drive.
It’s always fun driving through the desert when the road suddenly disappears and all you see is sand blowing in front of you. Not knowing if you’re driving on the actual road or barreling through the desert is such a rush!After we got back, I needed to crack open a beer I’d picked up while in Tempe. Lips of Faith Cocoa Mole – I wouldn’t say I “liked” this one, but it was definitely unique! It had a rich cinnamon and chocolate flavor with a massive punch of spice on the end, and a lasting smokiness from the chipotle peppers. I won’t be getting it again, but I’m glad I got to try it.
Then came work. And lunch at work. I varied between the Taos eggrolls…
… and the seared ahi build-your-own tacos, among many other delicious options throughout the week.
Oh right, and there was work too! We brewed a hefeweizen, I scrubbed out the tank, we added booze to a very special beer…
Rye whiskey in beer – this is gonna be GOOD!
I also made it a point to get out on the trails in my new area. Getting up at 6am isn’t ideal for me for hiking, but since I got one of them “real” jobs, it’s the only chance I’ve got.
And there’s nothing wrong with greeting the sunrise from the top of a mountain!

I’m off to work at Enegren Brewing today, loaded up with some face cookies! I hope you all have an amazing weekend!
Another gem from the drive back home.


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Growler Giveaway Winners!

Here’s the list of everyone who won a growler: Brent Whitley, Jacob Smith, Johnson Le, Ryan, Christian K, and Darryl the Beerdolt! All the winners send me an email at Becki (at) Bitesnbrews (dot) com along with a reminder of your preferred growler and I’ll get you the info on when and where to pick it up! Thanks for participating and taking the excessive amount of growlers off my hands 🙂

The next few weeks are going to be a little sporadic and random blog-wise! Moving along with working my new job will keep me nice and busy, but I’ll still be updating when I can!

Today we delivered kegs to the Calabasas Wolf Creek Restaurant, took back empties and cleaned tap lines. Hoisting two 15.5 gallon kegs and navigating through a narrow walk-in fridge takes a lot of effort, even when said kegs are empty. My arms are KILLING me. Did I mention my arms hurt? Cuz they do…

I also got to try the pastry chef’s latest creation for the “Brewer’s Menu” which will be out soon.
That would be caramel and banana pudding, a layer of chopped pretzels, housemade Howlin’ Hef caramel, more pretzels, whipped cream, more caramel pudding, more whipped cream and a drizzle of Howlin’ Hef caramel on top. I’ll gladly be a guinea pig anytime!

Sorry for the short post, but my muscles are screaming at me and I need to go pass out so I can work at the OTHER brewery tomorrey – Enegren Brewing Company! No such thing as too much brewery!

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BIG Changes!!!

HECTICITY – noun: an accumulation of hectic situations. That has been my life lately. I told you guys that crazy things were happening and now I can officially let you know what those crazy things are.

I interviewed at Wolf Creek a few weeks ago. I interviewed at Stone Brewing last week.

Today, I accepted a job offer to be assistant brewer at Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewering Company in Valencia!
Wolf Creek will be moving from a 10 bbl system up to 30 bbl, and I’ll be joining them in upping current production as well as moving to the new brewery! On top of that comes everything to do with “playing brewery” – cleaning, mashing, transferring, cell counts, pilot brews, more cleaning, tasting, cleaning, cleaning… Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to explain how happy I am right now. I start on Wednesday with my first brew early in the morning! Since it’s my first day, I’ll attempt to take pictures and document, but I make no promises.

This calls for celebration – the best way I know how.
Beer. Duh.

I’ll be recapping the rest of my San Diego trip tomorrey. For now, time to crack open something fancy!

Don’t forget to enter the growler giveaway! It ends Wednesday and there are still 5 (possibly only4)  growlers left to be spoken for!


Filed under big news, life changes