Catching up

It’s been a while.

I went to Hamilton yesterday to meet Renee and Robert at Merit Brewing, a new place in my old hometown. As we sat talking and drinking, I wondered why I’ve stopped writing. Other than captions on Instagram or Facebook, I haven’t played with words at all. My novel is languishing, I’m carrying around a notebook that is still empty 3 months after purchasing it (except for a grocery list), and the last post here was February.

I can’t get back the time I’ve lost dicking around on social media, hitting refresh to see what I’m missing and to watch the dumpster fire that is my neighbour to the south. But I can say enough, and devote myself to things I like doing. Like writing. And making beer.

Work

Since the last time I wrote, I’ve changed jobs. I’m now at Brunswick Bierworks, a contract production facility much closer to home – I’ve exchanged the 40+ minutes on the 401/400 highways to about 10 minutes, and spend as much on gas in a month as I did in a week. I’ve got about 5-10 hours of my life back, to spend with my beloved, doing things, watching Netflix and not writing.

The new gig is mostly good – as with all jobs, there are pluses and minuses. Mostly pluses. The equipment is new, and everyone is still working the kinks out after a recent rapid expansion. We’re busy, and have just gone to 24/7 12-hour shifts. Not sure how I feel about working those kinds of hours yet….I’ll let you know.

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The oh-so-shiny Newlands 50hl system that I spend most of my time on.

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The 20hl “pilot” system. I’ve only spent 2 shifts on it so far, but enough to know it’s much more fun.

Social

It’s getting harder and harder to shake my hermit mode. Yay for being an introvert with some social anxiety! I force myself to make plans, and then force myself to not cancel at the last moment. And guess what? I have fun.

And I definitely had fun yesterday. I went to a new bar, talked to the brewer, met my friends, and drank some really good beer (the Berlinner Weisse with rhubarb syrup was delicious!). The other beers I had were very impressive, but I was disappointed that there were no dark beers on tap yet. Will definitely go back once the milkshake stout is done!

Home

Home brewing has faltered somewhat. I made a few experiments with leftover wort kits from Magnotta – a blonde ale with Escarpment Lab’s Wild Thing yeast and a brown ale with roasted hazelnuts in secondary. I was very pleased with both of them. The blonde fermented down to 1.002, but isn’t boozy or dry. It has a really  nice apple / saison flavour going on that I think I’ll replicate. I used raw hazelnuts and slow roasted them as per Clayton Hoy’s tips on the GTA Brews forum. The head retention was perfect, but next time I’ll chop the nuts a bit finer to get more flavour out of them.

Right now I have a wheat beer in the fermenter that should have been bottled a week or so ago. I am not a fan of bottling day. Maybe I can convince Keith to assist tomorrow and get it out of the way.

Why I don’t drink from some Ontario breweries.

I like to think that I am equal-opportunity beer drinker. I know the difference between tasting beer and just drinking it for enjoyment. My response to a beer depends on where I am, who I’m with and what is the purpose.

Really, I’ll try anything.

No, let me correct that. I’ll try just about anything. I will not try or buy any beer, no matter how good it is purported to be, that has a sexist message attached.

Sexism in beer marketing is a topic that is becoming more prevalent in the beer-o-sphere. It’s been in magazines like All About Beer, websites, blogs and podcasts. As it should be. Women are an increasing market, more women are brewing, and it’s 2017 for fuck’s sake. Why is this still a thing?!? And it’s not just women who have had enough; men are stating, not cool man, more and more.

Ben Johnson wrote a post last week entitled Let’s Talk about Sexist Beer Marketing, where he called out what I feel are some of the worst offenders in Ontario. I read it muttering yes, yes, FUCK yes,! throughout. Everything resounded. Jennifer Nadwodny’s comments at the end of the post say what’s in my mind and in my heart better than I ever could. Go read it.

Four of the five beers come from breweries that I boycott. While I do what I can to support the craft beer scene that has welcomed me so openly, I cannot give my oh-so-hard earned money to any business that obviously does not hold the same values of equity and equality that I do.

I don’t care how good their beer is.

FS

Nope nope, nope.

 

Work Inspiration: Jan 22-31

The last week of my photo a day project using work as an inspiration. It’s been good, and helped kick me out a slump.

Jan 23: this is mine. Goggles and gloves. #ppe #safetyfirst #brewerlife #fmspad

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Jan 26: yum. Today's mash smelled like banana bread for some reason. #wheat #beer #brewerlife #fmspad #fms_yum

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Work Inspiration: Jan 15-21

I’ve done a photo-a-day on my other blog for 6 years. If you think that after 6 years the inspiration would be flagging a little, you’d be right.

I sometimes use the prompts from Fat Mum Slim as a way to get through the doldrums, and this month I combined her prompts with brewing.

Jan 17: bag. Bags of specialty malt as far as the eye can see. #brewerlife #fmspad #fms_bag

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Jan 19: shape. There is really only one shape on bottling day. #brewerlife #fmspad #fms_shape

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Work Inspiration: Jan 8-14

I’ve done a photo-a-day on my other blog for 6 years. If you think that after 6 years the inspiration would be flagging a little, you’d be right.

I sometimes use the prompts from Fat Mum Slim as a way to get through the doldrums, and this month I combined her prompts with brewing.

Jan 11: in my fridge. We're slowly filling up the post holiday emptiness. #work #brewerlife #fmspad

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Jan 12: leaf. Once upon a time, this slurry used to be lush green hops. #beer #brewerlife #fmspad

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Jan 13: people ❤my awesome coworkers. They make the work fun. #brewerlife #brewers #work #fmspad

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