In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to one of our incredible Calgary brewers, Sarah!
Q: How did you first get started at Big Rock?
A: My start at Big Rock was in the cellar, dragging hoses and tending to the fermentations. The cellar is where brewers get their trial by fire…or beer. Chances are at the end of the day in the fermentation hall, you’re damp, sore and exhausted.
After some time, I had the opportunity to mix things up with some cross-training in our Quality Control lab, which was an amazing way to really appreciate the whole process of making beer from start to package. It was also an excellent time for me to start my Brewing Diploma through the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Three years later, I’ve completed my Diploma and I’m back up in the brewhouse.
Q: Have you always been a beer fan?
A: Before university, I really wasn’t. Luckily, exposure to variety and more interesting flavour profiles quickly changed my mind. Switching from the occasional taste of a lager pilfered from my grandpa’s fridge to a rich brown ale from the local brewpub was all it took to convert me. At the same time, it was a biotechnology professor’s lecture on fermentation that really got me thinking about beer as a potential career.
Q: What is your favourite Big Rock Brew?
A: It’s hard not to love Trad!
Q: What do you love about your job?
A: I love how much there is to learn. There are so many complicated factors that play into every small step of the process of producing a final packaged beer. It’s fascinating and it feels like everyday I add something new to my list of new areas to learn about! And I love the people. Working in the lab means you’re involved in every aspect of production and you get to know everyone involved. I’ve been so lucky to get to know some amazing people and create a lot of friendships.
Q: What’s something you’d like to share about your love of beer?
A: I have a tendency to get a little too technical when sharing my love of beer, because I don’t think many people know just how many complex processes go into brewing a tasty pint! Brewing is an art but underneath that is so much fascinating science. The biochemistry of brewing is beyond complex, from a maltster manipulating the germination of barley to create the enzymes we need to convert starch to fermentable sugars in the brewhouse, to the web of interconnected metabolic pathways of fermenting yeast that produce a wide variety of flavour and aroma compounds.