Originally published at bloglebrewski.blogspot.com
Today, March 1st, marks my official one year of being Assistant Brewer at MudHen Brewing Co.
Sure, I only got about four days in the brewery last year before most of the country shut down, but it’s still the date I officially got to clock in as Assistant Brewer. Now that the vaccine is getting distributed, I’m optimistic that we can keep the ball rolling because there’s still so much I have to learn.
I’m feeling a little nostalgic, so let’s recap the past year, shall we?
March 1st, 2020 – my life pretty much changed instantly. I’d been in talks with Tony about helping out in the brewery for a couple of months but it hadn’t really sunk in. My spouse was excitedly introducing me as the “new assistant brewer” pretty much every where we went, which made me kinda… shrink into my seat. It’s not that I wasn’t ready, I was! I just wasn’t sure if I’d be any good at it.
Looking back, that seems ridiculous. I have an amazingly great teacher and I’m building more confidence with every task as the weeks go by.
March 15th, 2020 – my life changed again. I got texts from both bosses about shutting down “until further notice” and nobody really knew what that meant. Cape May County didn’t see its first positive cases until April. GABF and AC Beerfest had already been canceled/postponed, and the beer Tony and I spent an entire day bottling for WBC went to make hand sanitizer. The entire world flipped upside down and I’d barely begun my new job! I had no clue what to expect.
May/June 2020 – I was called back in to work to help out with Take-Out and Delivery. Shifts behind the bar, I poured beer and made cocktails for take-out only. I spent my days in the brewery with Tony mostly cleaning growlers. When he decided to stop recycling used growlers, I followed him around with a notebook and pencil, taking detailed notes of every tiny thing he did for larger tasks, like racking. Cleaning lines and kegs were some of the first things I could do without supervision (with a permanent marker reminder on my forearm to turn on the glycol for the lines the first few times I did it). Racking wasn’t too far behind.
The whole summer was insanely busy for us back there and before I knew it, we were celebrating Oktoberfest weekend here at MudHen – and had a brand new canning line!
The fall is a blur, honestly. I know I was alone in the brewery once or twice doing things, which signaled that Tony really trusted me to do what needed to get done while he went up the road to get yeast or whatever else he needed to do. Being alone back there doesn’t happen often, yet. I’m glad he feels comfortable enough to leave me alone to complete certain tasks.
Wintertime sped by with the pub remaining busier than ever before, and here we are already back in March! One year into a pandemic and it’s still just the two of us back there, chugging away; canning and brewing and racking. Rinse. Repeat.
I can’t wait to see what the next year brings, especially with my newer duties as Assistant Brewer and more time spent on that side of things.