As a Briess Division Manager, much of my time is spent visiting the various breweries and distilleries in my territory. For most of these visits, I’m on my own. On occasion, I’m joined on the road by one of my colleagues from the Briess Technical Team. I always enjoy these trips. We have some very sharp folks working for us back in Chilton and I greatly enjoy talking brewing and distilling with them. It seems like I always learn something new when interacting with them.
Several months ago, I was joined on a trip to Asheville, NC, by Dan Bies. Dan has been with Briess for over ten years and has many stories about past R&D projects and how a good amount of our malts and extracts came to be. Even after work hours, while partaking of some adult beverages, Dan couldn’t stop thinking. Our late-night conversation about titratable acidity will always be a favorite of mine.
Just recently, again in Asheville, I got to spend a day and a half with Cassie Poirier. Cassie has been with Briess for about three and a half years. She was attending the Craft Maltsters Conference and I decided that I couldn’t waste the opportunity. While driving from brewery to brewery (with a distillery or two in there as well!), we talked at length about malt sensory analysis and the lexicon involved. This is an area where Cassie shines. I’ve been invited to give a few talks at some upcoming conferences on malt sensory methods, so this time with Cassie was invaluable. My presentations are better off for it.
I’m very excited about the upcoming Eastern Technical Conference in Atlantic City on March 23rd and 24th. It’s being put together by MBAA Districts Mid-Atlantic, Philadelphia and New York. The list of speakers looks impressive. Most important, at least for me, Bob Hansen, Manager of Technical Services at Briess will be giving a presentation entitled “Understanding Beer and Foam Color.” Back in my brewing days, I was a bit of a Bob Hansen fanboy. I tried to get my hands on any presentation or talk that he did. Bob’s “Practical Milling for the Craft Brewer” was sort of my Catcher in the Rye. I’m greatly looking forward Bob’s talk. I’m going to try to soak up as much knowledge from Bob as I can over the two and a half days. If you’re attending the ETC, you should too.
Speaking of conferences, there are quite a few in the upcoming months. I’ll be speaking at the inaugural South Carolina Brewers Guild Trade Show on March 10th. In addition, I’ll be at the Briess booth at the American Craft Spirits Association’s annual conference in Pittsburgh and the New York State Brewers Association conference in Albany. If you’re attending one of these conferences, please stop by and say hello.
There’s still one member of the Briess Technical Team that I have not had a chance to get out East. I’m looking at you, Jordon Geurts. So, if you or your guild or MBAA District are looking for upcoming technical presenters, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Especially if you are in the East. Let’s get Jordon out there!