Day 392

Ooof. Where did the last four weeks go?

Things are definitely ramping up in this last semester. Six new courses, lots of group work, lots of commuting (yay) and the stress of knowing that we have to rejoin the real world in a few short months.

The courses are more business-oriented this semester:

Management – in the first four weeks of the semester, we’ve learned about management styles, some accounting (income statements and balance sheets mostly) and started looking at elements of business plans. The big project for this is to create a business plan for a fictional brewery in groups of four, and present the plan to a group of potential investors. Unlike previous business plan projects, this is full-featured and is to include all the nuts and bolts like research, marketing, financials, etc….in other words, fully relevant.

Industry – we have spent most of the four classes going over the forms needed to make beer, sell beer, market beer, transport beer, and pay beer taxes. The amount of post-prohibition relics in the bureaucratic paperwork is mind-boggling. Another relevant assignment here: find and complete all the paperwork necessary to start a brewery of a certain size. Hand me Form 2205 with the appropriate TPS cover sheet, please.

Human Resources Management – We were all kind of dreading this one, fearing another Ethics debacle, but the professor is an HR consultant and is making a real effort to give us relevant examples for a small business.

Specialty brewing – We have the brewery every Monday, but really only have to be there bout 4 times this semester: one time to make your project brew and the other times to act as an assist to someone making their beer. I chose a later date to brew, which gives me lots of time to make some homebrew batches and decided if I want to make a Bourbon Dubbel or a Chai-spiced Winter Warmer. Both are now bottled, and I’ll bring some to school in a week or so once they’re carbonated to do a taste-test and sensory.

Initial spice additions for the Chai Winter Warmer


Sensory – speaking of sensory, this is a great class. Nate is now teaching it, and the first classes have been all about learning the different types of taste tests, to actually do the different tests and to track/understand our individual palates. From what I can tell so far, I am sensitive to diacetyl but have a harder time than most with sulfur.

Gathering QDA data


Sales and Promotion – I am on the fence on this one. We are putting together a beer festival as a final project, which is great for getting some real and relevant experience. However; some of the teaching and communication is making me feel old. We’ll just leave it at that for now.

Elective – yeah, I had to take another Stupid Elective. I opted for Creative Writing, thinking it would be more of a learning opportunity to practice the craft than it is shaping up to be. I’ll likely not mention it again.

Day 343

Two exams today, in Sensory and History.

It’s amazing how my attitude towards studying for either of them shifted dramatically in view of the fact that I already had a passing mark in both of them, and well, summer.

I have an exam for my elective, Myths and Legends, tomorrow night. It’s the only thing that I am in danger of failing since I began the program, primarily because it has nothing to do with the program.

That and it’s an online course. I haven’t the self discipline to stay on top of it, so I shall be cramming like mad tomorrow because who wants to have to re-do a silly elective?

Day 336

We finished this semester’s Sensory with our beer cocktail presentations. There were some really interesting combinations came out of our experimentations, and it makes me want to experiment more with beer as an ingredient.

Beer cocktail tasting.

Top row:

  • Champagne Supernova – prosecco and beer made it bubbly and dry
  • Red Sky at Night – my group’s concoction, using grilled strawberry puree, basil, cachaca, ginger liqueur and Weyebacher’s Tart Nouveau.
  • Farmhands Paradise – mango based. Not my favourite, but it won the tasting competition.

Bottom row:

  • Thomas More aka Rosie O’Dillon – this was lovely, with Dillon’s rose gin.
  • Mocha Beer Float – they used the NC Brewmaster Stout with chocolate ice cream and Kahlua. Nice smooth initial taste, but finished a bit too bitter and hot.
  • Bud’s Pink Lady – Bud Light, vodka and pink lemonade. I could see myself drinking too many of these on a hot summer day.


Day 322

It’s official. I am not a wine person. I can appreciate them, but it appears the ones I like will still gift me with a headache (not a migraine, thank the gods!). This was brought home to me during Monday’s Sensory class on sweet and fortified wines.

I had always wondered what the difference was between these two classifications – now I know that sweet wines occur when the grape is dehydrated through freezing, dehydrating or through “noble rot”, and the fortified wines have a distilled grape spirit (brandy or a neutral) added either during or after fermentation.

Our tasting flight included(from left to right)

  • late season Vidal
  • Hungarian Tojaji
  • Mead
  • Cabernet Franc Ice Wine
  • Fino sherry
  • Tawny port
  • Vintage port
  • Oloroso sherry
Sweet and fortified flight


We paired them with pate, blue cheese, chocolate cake and lemon curd.

My favourites definitely ran to the sweet rather than savoury flavours; I really liked the cab franc ice wine and the tawny port the best, and could take or leave the more briny/bitter taste of the fino sherry or the soy sauce/olive flavour of the oloroso sherry.

These were big spirits; the combination of the sugars and high ABV (11% to 20%) plus the blue cheese was enough for my system to say, ok, enough. It was bad enough that I called it quits after Sensory, and missed the History class on the rise of craft beer. I’ll have to catch up on that through the slides later.

Day 308

Red wine, oh how I could love you.

If only you didn’t leave me with a bloody headache. Although, it’s nice to see you’ve eased up on the migraines, so I guess that’s something. At this rate, I should be able to drink you without hurting my brain sometime around 2030.

Yes, Sensory class was all about red wine. And food. There are worse ways to spend a Monday morning than eating steak and drinking a cab franc, the one red I would risk a headache for. So delicious.

There was no photo of the food; I was too busy eating it.
Some pretty lacklustre tasting notes.

Then on to History and a look at Prohibition both in the US and Canada. Makes me want to travel back in time and say thanks to the Temperance movement and stodgy white guys for the carry over-over of stupid Prohibition-era laws to modern society (no, not really).