As a brewer at Deschutes Brewery, I’m often amazed by the array of assignments a workweek can entail.
For example, a random sampling could reveal a day like this:
We descended into the malt room with apprehension and dust masks. How long was this going to take? It was time for a deep clean of our malt room, a three-story nightmare with décor part dungeon/part warehouse. Here, malt is stored and transported to different areas of the brewery which creates endless dust that settles on and saturates everything. No piece of machinery, wall or floor surface is spared from this seemingly permanent residue from brews past. This is basic grunt work, hands and knees floor scrubbing, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, no degree or experience necessary. Yet it was a team effort with everyone pitching in from Brewmasters to interns. Four hours later we ran out of pizza and had funny coughs. This is part of being a brewer.
photo caption: Brewer Brent Baughman hates dust and Summer Shandy's
A random sampling could also reveal a day like this:
We have been making beer for 25 years but remain students of beer. That might be one of the more fulfilling parts of this job - the never ending learning, head scratching, ah-ha moments. It‘s the fact that creativity if a part of the job description. One would think that being in the business for so long we would have exhausted all styles and variations of styles out there, but just like millions of musicians can still create unique combinations of sounds with the notes available to them, so can our brewers invent their own styles, combine past and present, and resurrect recipes and make them their own. Such is the case with the Deschutes Gose.
Gose is a traditional German beer that belongs to the Berlinerweisse / Witbier family, and similarly takes a fair amount of wheat in the grist bill. It is lightly soured by Lactobacillus and uniquely spiced with coriander and salt. Sounds like a margarita beer, right? Why the heck did it take us so long to brew one?
I'm going on a date and we have to be home by six. Unfortunately for me, that is six in the morning! Now, normally this would be perfect, but I'm on the graveyard shift and my date is hefty, seductive and Russian. And...requires lots of attention. I've clocked in for my shift at 8 PM and I've been tasked with brewing our Russian Imperial Stout, The Abyss, in the middle of the night. Certainly this is an honorable endeavor.
Our 50 barrel gravity fed brew house is only fired up every other week and usually just for Obsidian Stout. It's a favorite place to brew among our staff because we are not at the mercy of intricate software built of indecipherable logic. If you want to move beer, actually called "wort" at the brewing stage, from one vessel to another, you psychically grab a valve and open it. Of course, this also means it's easier to draw immediate and immense amounts of enduring ridicule from fellow brewers when you do this incorrectly...but that's a topic for another day.
Join Brewmaster Cam O'Connor on this epic Brews with Views rafting trip on the wild and scenic Rogue River with NW Rafting Co. Click on the poster for more details and to book your trip!