Note-taking and note-keeping is something that most people equate with meetings or school. In the industry of brewing, though, note-taking and keeping is essential.
I started my career as assistant brewer armed with a small spiral notebook and a pen. I quickly learned that pencils are the superior option, considering I spend a lot of time in a space that’s consistently 36F. And there’s a lot of water all the time. Pencil may smudge, but it won’t run and it certainly won’t freeze in the midst of taking meticulously detailed notes on how to cycle a service vessel.
Last summer, I was running around the brewery with a pencil tucked into my hat and my notebook in-hand for quick references. I usually still have my notebook with me, though I reference it less and less. That’s not to say I’m not still keeping notes – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s just that instead of running to grab my notebook, I’ve found I can type up a list quickly and efficiently on my phone’s Notes app. And I’ll probably need to put those notes alongside all my other ones, eventually. For now, they’re within reach most of the time, and easily readable without having to flip pages to find them.
I rarely use those notes anymore, unless it’s been a few weeks since I last racked something. I might reference how much of a chemical I might need or what I’m supposed to do during the 20-minute caustic cycle depending on which kind of rack (transfer) I’m doing. Only working 2 days a week in the brewery for about 10 months really doesn’t lend itself to confidently performing tasks – hence the notes.
But I would’ve never been able to rack by myself as soon as I did without those notes. And in the age of Covid-19, it was imperative I needed to perform the task without Tony walking me through it each and every time. So, thanks to a childhood of learning how to take notes and realizing I learn best through writing stuff down and then doing said stuff!
Someday, I may very well share these notes with another brewery team member.