When I arrived in Fort Collins on Super Bowl Sunday, I did not know what to expect. I had never been to Colorado before, it was the first time I would be living alone in my life, and I knew very little about brewing beer which is supposed to be a science and an art (my two worst subjects… I am more of a P.E. and Lunch guy). It turns out the people in Colorado (while most everyone isn’t from Colorado) are extremely nice and know a lot about brewing beer.
These are Budweisers from Canada. The logos of the NHL teams I think should be on Budweisers in the U.S. too
Fort Collins is a city/town of about 150,000 people that reminds me a lot of my old stomping ground, State College, PA with Colorado State University located in town. There is a College Ave which is the happening place with tons of bars and shops and mountains in the background. The only difference is State College doesn’t have a 10 million barrel AB brewery in it (other wise I probably never would have left).
This is the Brewery team doing some tree planting. "Good work Ryan, keep it up, couple more and we are done"
At work I have been learning the brewing process and working on my extract loss project (extract loss = making sure we use as much of the raw materials that we buy, as possible, so that we do not waste any). There are some difficult parts of the job though. Everyday at 3pm a group of the brewing department joins the Brewmaster in the Brewmaster’s taste room to taste the beers that we have been making for the last 24 hours (I try to make it as much as possible which usually equals 3 times a week). This is a very difficult job, seriously. It takes years of training to be able to pick up the off notes in the beer at different steps in the process and be able to pin-point what went wrong where. I have been trying to learn as much as I can when our Brewmaster holds court and we sit around talking about what every one is getting from the different beers. Also, on Friday’s the area manager on shift for the weekend has to go over to the Tour Center we have on campus and taste the 12 beers they have on tap there and all their bottle beers to make sure that we are properly storing and serving the free beers that are given on to the tourists (I try to join them as much as possible to help them with the load).
A picture of behind the scenes at the Tour Center
I was able to test the knowledge that I had learned about a month into my time here, when a group of 85 Wyoming Air National Guard members came on a Saturday afternoon for a special tour and tasting. I had my own group of 15 poor souls who received an extra long tour (I was a half hour over the scheduled time… I am not long-winded am I?). Hopefully they don’t take what I learned them and try to brew their own beer, which might not turn out so well. I was also able to give my first visitor to Colorado, my friend Yaz, a tour while he was here. He also got to sit in on a Taste session with the Brewmaster and other brewing management where we showed him how to taste and what we do everyday. (Side note – as of right now the best Budweiser in the world comes out of Fort Collins, we hold the Brewmaster’s Cup right now… hopefully the addition of Sweet Lou here didn’t mess things up, but we will find out at the end of June though)
This is a Challenge Coin that the Air National Guard gave us for the tours that we gave them. Wicked
Another cool thing that I was able to do when I first got here was to brew my own beer on our Pilot Brewing system. Mr. Walker and I (he did most of the work since he knew what was going on, I just took pictures with my iphone) made 10 gallons of Copper Head Joe’s Pale Ale. It was not that bad, but I don’t think I am going into business for myself just yet.
Yaz and I hang timing with Jake
I have also been playing a lot of golf since I have been here, probably around 25 rounds so far. I was playing with another manager from the brewing department my second week here, in February (that I could get used to, golf all year round). I am also 2-1 as a substitute in the day shift golf league. I am preparing so that when I go back to Saint Louis I can take all of ABux and Nancy’s $$$.
Team "Don't worry, We're here to help". My team for the Grow One Save a Million Company competition for World Environment Day on June 5
Next up for Sweet Lou is back to Saint Louis for a wrap up of the last 10 months and graduation. I am excited to get to see all of the other GMTs one last time before us all head in our different directions for our first jobs. Oh yea, my first job is going to be as a Group Manager in Brewing back here in the Fort (Fort Collins, CO that is… I still haven’t found this fort, but I am taking their word for it). So after graduation I will be heading back to the right coast and grabbing the few belongings I have, to bring back to Colorado.
So thank you for listening to Happy Hour with Sweet Lou. I haven’t decided if I am going to keep this bad boy going or not, but in the words of Journey “Don’t stop Drinking” that is what they said right?
Talk to you soon chuckleheads,