Sign up: Road Brewer Ramblings or Pink Boots Society e-News
Email:

About the Author:
Resume
Biography
How I Became A Brewer
My Worst Brewing Experience
Teri in the News
 
Articles by the Author:
Hiring the Best Brewers
Schedule for Opening Day
Beer Across America 2007
Grain Handling Systems
7 Secrets for Brewpubs
5 Brewpub Success Tips
The Jockeybox
Going Pro in the Beer Biz
1999 CBC Safety Panel
Brewing Diagrams
Server Beer School
Increasing Beer Tourism
CBC Boston Presentation
Closed Pressurized Fermentation
 
Dialogs & Essays:
Advice for Future Brewers
Extreme Brewing Dialog
Definition of "Brewmaster"
Opinions & Advice
 
Tools & Formulas:
Brewpub Lab Manual
Operations Manual
The Mash Hoe
The Brew Clock
Simple Brewlog Template
IBU Formula
Alc by Vol. Formula
Calorie Calculations
Recommended Reading
 
More Articles & Recipes:
Bread Class Handout
Bread-Making Advice
Root Beer Production
Food Recipes
Beer Recipes
 
Women and Beer:
Pink Boots Society
Pink Boots Society Story
 
Road Brewer Trips:
2007 Road Trip Blog
2007 Trip Itinerary
2007 Trip Statistics
2007 Trip Photos
1999 Teardrop Adventure
 
Articles by Others:
Four Peaks Gravity Calcs
Jim Crooks Yeast Pitch
 
Services:
Brewpub Consulting
 
Other Stuff:
E-Newsletter Sign Up
Links
Home
 
Click here to download if you don't already have it: Several of the links are PDF files.

How I Became A Brewer - Part 1

Somebody at the CBC in Austin asked me how I became a brewer. When I told him the story, he said, "That's a great story. You should put that on your blog." So here it is...

When I was nine years old, my family attended our church's rummage sale at St. Pius X in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. I was so excited when I found a small blue booklet titled, "How Beer Is Made," that I gladly parted with my weekly allowance of one dime. At home, I ran to the bedroom I shared with my sister and flounced on my bed, not even removing the black patent leather shoes I'd worn to mass. I opened the booklet and held my breath, certain with sweet anticipation that I'd soon learn the secret of making beer.

At nine I loved beer, and knew it was important to my parents and all my relatives. I grew up in a German family outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At family reunions, my relatives soothed the babies with a teaspoon of beer. At home we had "Beer & Pizza" night once a month. Our normal dinner beverage was 2% milk, but once a month we had the added choice of Coca-cola or beer, and we always went for the beer. Once when I was 12, our family went out to Balistreri's Pizza in Milwaukee. My father ordered a pitcher of beer and 6 glasses. The waitress questioned him, as there were only two adults at the table. Pop said, "Either you bring six glasses, or they'll drink out of ours." We were ages 6, 8, 10, and 12. I learned a lot just hanging around my parents.

As I pored over my precious blue booklet, I deflated quickly. The diagrams showed enormous equipment. It was apparent one could only make beer in a factory equipped with cereal cookers and mash presses. That was a huge disappointment. However, I did get to see that enormous equipment a few years later: My girlscout troup took a tour of the Miller Brewing Company. The girl scouts should should continue that tradition - maybe there would be more female beer drinkers and brewers.

I don't know what happened to my little booklet. I wish I had it now. I found an exact copy in 1993 in Seattle on the bookshelf of my friend and fellow brewer, Ed Tringali. Ed splits his time now between Long Island and Maine. I hope he still has that little booklet. Somebody told me it was probably an informational booklet that Miller put out in the 1960's. That may be true, but it didn't help me in my early quest to mess with yeast and "make stuff."

My next attempt at fermentation would prove much more successful. At ten I made my first two loaves of homemade bread. My parents were out at an antique show while I kneaded and raised the dough. I had to wait until they got home to bake the bread because I was too young to use the oven without their supervision. This photo is of those first two loaves. Nobody in my family had ever made bread (or beer), but I was a determined kid.

You'll notice that the loaf on the left in the pan is a sickly pale shade of tan. That was my father's advice: to underbake one loaf, and bake it the rest of the way another day and then we'll have fresh bread again. Bad idea. Sometimes I learned good things from my parents, and sometimes they gave me dumb advice. But I'm lucky, I still have both parents, so here I am listening and learning (and discerning for myself).

Photo above: Teri at 10 years old with first loaf of bread.

Click here for How I Became a Brewer - Part 2


Road Trip Blog: www.roadbrewer.com
Women in Beer & Brewing: www.pinkbootssociety.com