Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 33: Aspiring Brewer #2

Here is another wonderful, whimsical tale of a young man and his endeavors to enter the craft brewing world... in Philly!

My name is Andrew Riggar and I am an avid homebrewer and a passionate beer enthusiast. Currently I'm chasing my dream of becoming a professional brewer and to ultimately launch my own craft brewery. For the last two months, my dream has been sort of a wild goose chase. I just graduated college from Temple University in Philly and am unemployed- more time to homebrew! However, now that I've gotten school out of the way I can focus on what really matters to me: applying to UC-Davis Professional Brewers Certification program. Fortunately I satisfied the bulk of my prerequisite courses at Temple, but was one shy; I need to take Organic chem. So it's back to school for one class in the fall. Once I finish this course, then a major step will have been taken thus letting me finally send in my application!

I want to become a pro-brewer for too many reasons... the more the merrier, right? Said simply; I love craft beer, I love brewing it, and I love learning about it... hell, I even like the cleaning/sanitizing! Each batch of beer that I brew is a product of what I've learned, what I've thought about, and how dedicated I can be. Having such a lovable and thoroughly enjoyable hobby has been what's made me realize that it's my dream. And as you are well aware of, having a dream is a special thing. I've always known that I'm not the desk job type so discovering a dream has been very motivational for me.

What I'm up to now is a whole heck of a lot of homebrewing, reading, and preparation. The nice thing about brewing this summer is that it's in preparation for a regional contest at the end of August. I plan on having about 12-14 entries! I've been reading basically everything I can about brewing and the beer industry. I just finished Sam Calagione's book Brewing Up a Business and now I'm onto Beer School by the guys from Brooklyn Brewery. Not to mention all the articles and such on (my user name is ajr24 fyi). Reading about other commercial ventures is just as important to me as the technical and brewing stuff.

ALSO, once I'm done writing this e-mail I'm going to a local brewpub (Rock Bottom... it's a chain) to confirm my "play date" with their brewmaster tomorrow. I'm extremely excited to see/feel hands-on the transition from homebrewing to industrial brewing. From reading your blog, I actually feel tons more comfortable with how some smaller scale brewhouses work... well your blog has desensitized me to some terminology. But tomorrow will be my very first experience. I can't wait! Tours of breweries are great, but actually getting to work in one will be all the more valuable.

The amount of integrity and the will to help others out in this industry will never cease to amaze me.

Once I graduate from UC-Davis I would love to contribute to the diverse beer scene in Philadelphia. Currently Philly is experiencing a huge revitalization of its rich beer past. Being a part of that is what I'd love to do. It's the city that made me the beer lover that I am and I'm grateful for it. I've been toying with the idea of creating a Philadelphia Hop Estate in which local brewpubs/breweries can grow/harvest hops- most likely outside of the city. Land outside Philly is pretty cheap at the moment so... I think it's doable.

Here is a quick followup to the story... The Rock Bottom brew date didn't actually work out : ( Andrew is maintaining contact with the brewmaster and working on setting up another day!

Comments? Thoughts? Questions? What are you drinking right now?

Cheers, Prosit, and Skoal!

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