Day 72

I love to start Friday mornings with a business math test at 8:30 a.m.

I’m lying. You probably already knew that.

It’s not that I don’t like math tests. As tests go, math tests are fairly easy if you’ve done your homework. No combing through the memory banks, no “compare and contrast” essay-type questions, no multiple choice dilemmas. Just read the question and figure out the answer.

But tests first thing in the morning get my adrenaline going. My heart rate climbs. I feel hyper-focussed. Then the test is over and… now what? The adrenaline is still going. I feel twitchy and hyper. I should go down to the fitness centre and burn off some serious calories.

Instead, I sit in Gordo Slater’s Intro to Brewing class and listen to some more dream brewery presentations. Last week, all the presentations were set in Ontario. This week, the breweries are set further afield. The first is set in Hawaii. The second in Dorval, Quebec. And the third–my team’s effort–is in Cumberland, B.C., on Vancouver Island.

(Why Cumberland? Because the town water supply comes from a glacial lake, and is just about as pure as distilled water. Why does that matter? Dissolved minerals are essential for brewing, and the amount of various minerals in your water defines what kind of beer you will make. Hard water makes for a good bitter pale ale; soft water makes an excellent pilsner. So starting with pure water means you must add brewer’s salts to make any type of beer. However, starting with pure water also means that your choice of beer styles is unlimited–you can “build” any water profile you want using the right brewer’s salts.)

They gave us a standing ovation.

Yes, I’m lying again. (Must be the left-over adrenaline.)

After our presentation, the class entered the world of packaging–that is, bottling the beer. As Gordo put it, the beer sitting in the bright tank waiting to be bottled is (hopefully) the epitome of your art. After it leaves the bright tank, all you can do is screw it up somehow. Let oxygen get into the bottle. Don’t fill the bottle enough. Use a chipped bottle. Are your crowns rusty? Is your label crooked or torn?

Your last line of defence against these problems is the guy sitting on the bottling line. So remember, if I get a job this summer as a lowly bottler, simply refer to me as a guardian facing down the forces of Chaos.

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