There are plenty of unglamorous jobs in a brewery. Though it’s always very rewarding to sit down at the bar and enjoy the fruits of your craft, the reality is that there are more tasks in a day than just brewing. There are, of course, the kegging days, the bottling days (we are happiest on these…), and then all the days where we clean tanks. Mike has affectionately deemed the task of hosing out the compost bins where we dispose of the spent grains as “The Worst Task At Bellwoods”, but I would argue that it’s the second worst, the first being that day when three of us loaded, by hand, one by one, three skids of bottles into a van, then drove that van to Mike’s house, and unloaded them, by hand, one by one, into his basement. Though most of you probably stopped reading about one paragraph ago, what I’m trying to get at here is that if you had a sneak peak at the average day in our brewery, it definitely wouldn’t look like the set of Keeping Up With The Kardashians or anything.
Despite all the blood sweat and tears that goes into making this place run successfully (full disclosure here, there has been exponentially more blood than tears. Just last week I managed to cut myself on a fermentor of all things…) we do have rare days where we drink beers and don’t work on our triceps.
Yesterday we did just that and sampled all our barrelled beers next door. In oak Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot barrels from Creekside Estate Winery we have several versions of a Flanders Red aging away. We figure they’ll need at least another year or so to meditate, but it’s good to check the progress and see how the critters are souring.
Unanimously our favourite was barrel 79, a promising sneak peak full of tart cherry and soft oak flavours. Alas, they still have many months to hibernate while we return to our usual day-to-day mashing of grains and pumping of iron.
This beer doesn’t just brew itself, and as the great Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “Milk is for babies. When you grow up, you have to drink beer.”
Need I say more?