2 month recap

Short version:

I finished school successfully, and am now working full time at Magnotta Brewery as Assistant Brewer.

Long version:

Holy crap, I finished school!

The beer festival went very well even though we missed our attendance target and had a few issues. My beer was voted by attendees as Best in Show,  my home brews won second and third in their categories, and I was highlighted in the St. Catharines paper write up about Project Brew. There were some truly great recipes from my classmates. I snagged as many cans as I could of their brews, only to be disappointed a month later when all showed signs of unplanned tartness.
Classes were finished, lab work finished, reports created and exams written. 


Kat’s 9 Lives display.
My beer placed well
On the last day, some of us headed to Blue Monk for dinner before meeting everyone at the Presidential Suite in EmbassySuites for a final party before we all headed our separate ways. I did not have as much fun as I wanted to thanks to a combination of being overtired, old and perhaps a tad hormonal. I need to learn that naps are not a sign of weakness.

I started working more hours at Trafalgar, but after a few weeks some of the applications I’d sent out early got some nibbles. I decided to take a position at Magnotta as Assistant Brewer for a number of reasons – learning opportunities, salary, commute time, benefits – the usual stars nicely aligned.

It’s been interesting finding the gaping holes in the curriculum at Niagara. Take filtration for example. A class on DE filters is in no way good preparation for learning to control something with that many valves.


I refuse to say how long it took me to master this

I’ve been thinking about this blog and what to do with it. Not sure anymore why I’m writing it or who it’s for. It started as a way to augment my portfolio for the Brewmaster program application, then a way to document the learning. Now that the program is finished, well we’ll have to see.

Day 267

Another midterm today, this one in Brewhouse Calculations. I was as stressed out about this as I was DILLIGAF-ed about the Ethics. Because this one is important. I feel that I have learned in the last few weeks with Ray what I wanted to learn in the course – how to understand how the ingredients all worked together: water (quantity and chemistry), malt, hops, and yeast. And how to use that knowledge to make a beer recipe from scratch that doesn’t suck.

And there are a lot of interconnecting formulas that took my mind a long time to wrap around. Honestly, until Tuesday night I would look at the questions and think, well, it reads like English, but I really don’t get it. It kind of felt like I was doing a jigsaw puzzle with only sky pieces. It’s not like it was a lightbulb moment. It was just doing it over and over and over until my brain finally memorized what formula to do when.

I really miss my younger brain that would grasp new concepts quickly, that could look at a problem and understand immediately how to work it through. This old brain, well, let’s just say there’s more lag time than I am comfortable with.

After the exam (which I had to take almost the full three hours for), I got the word that Ethics was cancelled and I had the afternoon off. I went home with the intention of going for a cruise on the motorbike, but it was a tad colder that I wanted, so did laundry and some homework. 

Later, I headed back to Niagara-on-the-Lake to meet some of the women in other semesters. We met at the Suppermarket and had some amazing food and beer while we swapped stories and got to know each other. I have the say, the guy running the Silversmith booth was amazing, even fronting me a beer until I could get tickets. I tried a few other beers, but their black lager was my fave, proving to be pretty tasty when the sun is setting and you’re digging in to a crackling roast pork sandwich.


The roast pig before it was my sandwich


Day 62 – Monday, Nov 3

I always really hated it when students whined about having a tedious class first thing Monday morning, and am trying to avoid following in their footsteps. But Ingredients class is a struggle; lots of detailed information is read almost word-for-word from powerpoint presentations without a lot of context other than “this will be on the test so remember it”. What about the rest of the material? Can we ignore it if it’s not in bold, and therefore not on the test? No? I didn’t think so, so why bother highlighting only parts of it for the sole reason that we’ll be tested on it.

Yes, you can say I am finding the teaching in this course problematic. And frustrating. Sigh.

We got back our hop product assignment, and I found that somehow my paper was worth 88%. I wish I knew what the rubric or marking scheme was so I could figure out what I did right and where I went wrong.