Happy New Year! Let me catch up with you all real quick..
I've been super busy these past few months....As most of you know this big life change took some time to adjust to, but it's all been an exciting adventure!
As Im writing this post Im about to reach my fourth month of professional brewing with the team at Jersey Girl Brewing Company in Hackettstown, NJ. Over these past four months I have learned so much in regards to what it takes to brew professionally.There are things that I would have never thought of.
I think the major hurdle I had to get over was the actual physical labor...I've spent the last ten years behind a desk. The first 10 hour brew day on my feet was a pretty big wake up call. Since starting ive lost about 25 pounds and have seemed to gotten over that hump and my body has adjusted...Thank God!I really feel like I may have been dead in the water if I were to just open Terra Costa without taking this little detour. I know people have taking the step and opened on their own with much less experience, but I want to turn over as many stones as I can, keep myself humble and continue to stay thirsty for knowledge.
Spending many hours with Mark, the head brewer at Jersey Girl has been invaluable to my growth as a brewer and to the potential trajectory of the TC brand. He's helping me build good brewing habits and guiding me through the differences between homebrewing and large scale commercial brewing, oh and yea....and teaching me how to not get chemical burns, not implode fermentation vessels due to temperature/Co2 pressure swings, not explode a boiler, how to put out an electrical fire...basically how to stay alive as a brewer haha...
On a daily basis Im submerged into the unpredictable brewing world, surrounded by smart individuals as we tackle whatever is thrown at us. Chuck, one of the owners of Jersey Girl has been super helpful and insightful. He goes out of his way to explain day to day challenges as they become present. He's always looking to share some knowledge with me no matter how big or small. I've had a decent number of bosses throughout the years. Bosses that make promises or present general goals for you, but these topics tend to fall off, not always to the fault of the individual, I understand that things get lost in the shuffle. Its a business at the end of the day. However, Chuck is a stand up guy, true to his word and Im grateful for the time we spend together in-between his crazy schedule - even though it might not seem like much time spent to him, I do appreciate it.
Im excited to see what 2020 brings to me and the rest of the team at Jersey Girl. Im looking forward to brewing more on our pilot system at the brewery. Last week I just wrapped up my second brew on the system, a new recipe that I was able to put together based on what we had available in the brew house.
This was a new approach to brewing for me and it was fun. I dont have random bags of ingredients laying around at home so I never have to be resourceful in regards to recipe design. It was a new challenge for me and Im proud of what I was able to piece together. I will certainly keep you all posted when this beer is available in the Jersey Girl taproom.
Now back to updating you on everything around the Terra Costa brand! Back in October I had the honor of brewing/serving beer for another wedding. My cousin Jennifer married a great guy, Jeff, and had asked me to brew some beer for their big day. Jennifer, my aunt, uncle and her brother Nick have been big supporters of me since I launched this brand. It meant a lot to me that they had asked me to do this.
The first beer was an easy selection for them. Antilia, our award winning Amber Ale, would be on the first tap and for the second beer Jennifer and Jeff challenged me a little asking for a peanut butter beer....I tweaked my English Porter recipe, did some research around peanut butter additions and was able to come up with a beer that I like to call Rua Dolce (translated from Portuguese as, "sweet street"). Everyone enjoyed the beer at he wedding. Katie and I got a seat inside cocktail our with a clear view of the pouring station. There's nothing better than sitting back and watching people's reactions as they take the first sip of a beer you made.
The reaction to Rua Dolce was so positive that I decided to brew another batch of it to have on tap at home and to share during the holidays. Rua Dolce has become a favorite among family and friends and Im happy to add this recipe to our lineup.
The holidays are always fun for me regarding the TC beer. It's the time of year where I take a break from brewing my competition beers and get to experiment with a few new recipes and make beer that can be enjoyed by my family and friends during the traditional holiday gatherings. The week between Christmas and New Years opens the competition season for me. I have taken what I learned in 2019 and tweaked some of my recipes. The beers that will be going into competitions starting next month are: Antilia (Amber Ale), Morgan R-Ale (Cream Ale), Devils Kettle (Smoked Porter), Come On You Reds (Irish Red Ale).
I have a lot of brewing ahead of me so I better get to that....Thank you all again for the support in 2019...it was certainly a big year for me and my brewing career. 2020 is going to be insanely busy, but I have some ideas up my sleeves that Im excited to get working on...