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View Full Version : WORKING At My Local Brewery



Borlaxx
07-21-2014, 02:22 PM
I am going in to Orlando Brewing (http://orlandobrewing.com/) today to take a tour of the brewery and to set up times to come in and help out with the volunteer coordinator. I'm really excited about it.

Although I still have a lot to learn, getting my foot in the door at a real brewery will be a huge step towards my goal of one day working in the craft beer industry. The fact that they are one of the few 100% organic breweries in the country (the only in all of Florida) I think is an extra perk to add to my resume. I may even have a paid position at the brewery one day, but in the meantime the knowledge and experience I get from volunteering will be invaluable.

Wish me luck. It is going to be a lot of work and take a lot of time, but I can't see myself working as a paralegal for the rest of my life and brewing is my passion.

Who knows, the next time one of you come to the Orlando area perhaps you can come visit, and the first round will be on me.

xMisFitToyx
07-21-2014, 02:33 PM
That is AWESOME!!

Maybe one day Trader Joe's in the Atlanta area will carry it ... and I'll give it a try. :thumb:

Borlaxx
07-21-2014, 02:39 PM
Perhaps! A new Trader Joe's just opened here and they are carrying two of their beers now.

HardlyCapable13
07-21-2014, 02:45 PM
It's a great way to learn. More breweries need to grasp that concept. I've seen a lot of smaller places giving brew classes, from beginner to advanced. They charge for it, so there's extra income for them. Great idea if you ask me.

Taking on volunteer helpers can get sketchy due to insurance coverage (covers tours, but not volunteer workers). This is what I've been told, anyway.

LandShark
07-21-2014, 03:51 PM
that sounds awesome!

Madlob75
07-21-2014, 04:11 PM
Sounds like a lot of fun. I guess pretty soon we will have to turn this into an "Ask the Professional" thread.

Gink
07-21-2014, 06:21 PM
Sweeeeeet! Best of luck with that, keep us updated.

Borlaxx
07-21-2014, 08:01 PM
Went and talked to the guy and I start volunteering next week. Obviously starting at the bottom doing grunt work, but will get to learn about all the professional equipment and help out on brew days. Going to be hard, but rewarding, work.

RC-1136
07-22-2014, 08:21 AM
Went and talked to the guy and I start volunteering next week. Obviously starting at the bottom doing grunt work, but will get to learn about all the professional equipment and help out on brew days. Going to be hard, but rewarding, work.

What an awesome opportunity. Good luck.

HB721
07-22-2014, 06:16 PM
Prost! Makes my back hurt thinking about all the spent grain you are gonna be shovelin'.

Borlaxx
07-28-2014, 12:06 PM
Went and took the tour on Saturday of the brewery area where I will be working my first day this Wednesday. Took a few pictures. Sorry if the quality sucks but I was trying to pay attention to what he was saying and taking a pic with one hand on my phone while holding a beer in the other.

Here is the brew station. This thing is so bad ass. Three big containers they use to mash, sparge, whirlpool, etc, with tubing running back and forth between them for easy transfers. I doubt I will get to use this anytime soon (if ever) but I am going to shadow the brew master and his team on brew days to see learn how to operate it.

http://i57.tinypic.com/wklj6e.jpg

Here is James (the guy in charge of the volunteers) in front of a few of the fermenters they have. So cool to see industrial size equipment on this level. They have arms that have coolant running through them inside that move through the beer to keep all the contents at the exact perfect temperature throughout fermentation.

http://i58.tinypic.com/33lk0pj.jpg

Here are some of the secondary fermenters they transfer the beer to for kegging and bottling.

http://i61.tinypic.com/15zhze8.jpg

There were a ton more machines and equipment I didn't take pics of, as well as some areas that were off-limits from the tour. Being a small brewery, there isn't a ton of room but everything is set up perfectly and is very, very clean. I already knew that they are the only brewery that is certified organic by the USDA in the entire southeastern United States, but learned about the organic farms where they get their grains and hops, the insane filtering system they use to clean out all chemicals from the local water but keep the minerals, and how they turn their spent grain and hops into organic flour and fertilizer for other local organic farms and bakeries. It really is a very cool operation.

Stayed for a bit after and hung out and chatted with James and the owner of the brewery who is an incredibly nice and funny guy. They both seemed pleased with the fact that I know more about the brewing process than other volunteers when they started working there and that I am there because I want to make this my career. I was surprised that a lot of the staff already knew who I was and had a good impression of me based on my Facebook comments on their posts.

Really looking forward to Wednesday night. I know I am not going to be doing anything glamorous, especially to start, but it will be awesome to get some real world experience in a real craft brewery, work with people who legitimately seem happy working there, and while I am learning getting paid in FREE craft beer each night.

xMisFitToyx
07-28-2014, 12:24 PM
getting paid in FREE craft beer each night.

So, you finally confess to your real motivation. :tongue:

Enjoy the experience and education. :thumb:

Borlaxx
07-28-2014, 12:40 PM
So, you finally confess to your real motivation. :tongue:

Enjoy the experience and education. :thumb:
Honestly I had no idea this was the case until I took the tour and he talked about the volunteer opportunity at the end and said he pays the volunteers in beer, at which point I turned to my wife and said "sooooooo, maybe I will be volunteering more than once a week."

RC-1136
07-28-2014, 01:40 PM
Honestly I had no idea this was the case until I took the tour and he talked about the volunteer opportunity at the end and said he pays the volunteers in beer, at which point I turned to my wife and said "sooooooo, maybe I will be volunteering more than once a week."

This is awesome. Great pics.

Borlaxx
08-26-2014, 07:45 AM
Been volunteering here for only about a month, but apparently I'm already making a good impression. Last night I had two people tell me that I am the most productive, motivated, and helpful volunteer they have had in a long time, and one guy told me there is going to be an entry level paid position opening up soon and he thinks I would be a great choice to fill it. Not enough hours or money to quit my day job, but a paid position in a real commercial brewery would be a huge step towards my dream of working in the field as my career.

Borlaxx
09-04-2014, 12:25 PM
Last night I volunteered at the brewery and as yet another perk of the position I was lucky enough to get a taste of their new IPA, Grand O' Hopry, before it went on tap today, and it will easily be in my top three IPAs and may end up being my favorite IPA I've ever had once I get to drink some more.

Made with 10 additions of centennial hops over 90 minutes, you may think that a beer with a 10% ABV and an IBU of 100 would be overwhelming, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is expertly balanced and insanely drinkable for such a strong brew.

The first thing I noticed is the amazing scents of citrus from the huge amounts of Centennial hops used to make this outstanding beer, but not to the point of being overwhelming -- just right on the money.

The color is a beautiful rich amber that gets you salivating before the first drop hits your tongue. This is a beer that looks as good as it tastes.

The flavor.......oh man, the flavor. I expected a jolting shot of bitterness with such a high IBU, but the way the intense hops flavors balance with the high malt bill is nothing short of remarkable. I've had much lower IBU beers that tasted much more bitter than this. I'm not sure how they hit the balance so perfectly, and I'm not entirely convinced it isn't magic.

I only had a small taste, but now that it is on tap I can't wait to try it again. Based on my first experience this is a world class IPA and a complete home run for Orlando Brewing. I've had a lot of IPAs and sometimes they fail to really distinguish themselves from others in a crowded category, but this is not one of them.

It is a masterpiece. Bravo.

Man, I'm loving this new gig!

Borlaxx
09-25-2014, 11:35 AM
I just got offered a paid part-time position at Orlando Brewing! Hell yes! Still an entry level position, but now I can say I am a paid employee at a real commercial brewery. I am so freaking psyched about this!

It is a long road still, but I am happy I am steadily making progress towards my goal of working in the industry as my career and getting out of the legal field.

HardlyCapable13
09-25-2014, 11:39 AM
Nice! Congrats!

TrojanTeacher
09-25-2014, 11:42 AM
Mankini optional?

Borlaxx
09-25-2014, 11:46 AM
Mankini optional?
Only until they want to make a sour beer with my picture on the label.

Major Stains
09-25-2014, 11:53 AM
I just got offered a paid part-time position at Orlando Brewing! Hell yes! Still an entry level position, but now I can say I am a paid employee at a real commercial brewery. I am so freaking psyched about this!

It is a long road still, but I am happy I am steadily making progress towards my goal of working in the industry as my career and getting out of the legal field.

Congratulations, but you do know that working in a brewery never ends well...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZuhjeL43jU&sns=em

Borlaxx
10-07-2014, 01:36 PM
Had to delay my first paid shift due to the death in the family, but I have now worked as a paid employee two nights and so far I am loving it. Working a 40+ hours a week day job and then going in to close the brewery is tiring but rewarding.

Sure, it is entry level stuff that isn't directly part of the brewing process (cleaning kegs, labeling bottles, cleaning the tap room, checking fermentor and bright tank temps, changing taps, making sure the coolers are working properly, cleaning glassware for the girls behind the bar if they get backed up, etc.) but it does feel awesome to be a paid employee at a real brewery, and when they need people for the production team they normally hire people from the night closer position that I am currently doing, so I am just one step away from being involved in the brewing process.

All the people I have met have been really helpful, nice, and often hilarious. The owner has taken to calling me the "FNG" (he is a retired Marine) and I already feel like I am part of the family. From what I have been told, to go from a volunteer to a paid employee in just a couple months is pretty much unheard of there, so I feel blessed to be making so much progress so quickly.

I have a long way to go before I am able to make enough money in the industry to support my family and quit working as a paralegal, but it is great knowing I am taking steady strides down that path. Former night closers are now part of the production team making a pretty good salary, and others have gone on to work for other breweries like Cigar City and Sweetwater, so I am headed in the right direction.

Plus, unlimited FREE beer whenever I come in, working or not, is a huge benefit.

HardlyCapable13
10-07-2014, 01:44 PM
Nice! Keep at it, sounds like the cards are falling into place!

Borlaxx
10-07-2014, 02:05 PM
Nice! Keep at it, sounds like the cards are falling into place!
Thanks, I will.

The one somewhat negative aspect of it is that I have far less time for gaming. Since I will be working late several days a week at the brewery I have less time at home each week so I will be spending most of the nights I do have at home hanging out with the wife and kids instead of sitting in another room playing games, but to be perfectly honest I kind of like it that way. Makes me feel like a more motivated and contributing husband and father, and the little time I do get for gaming feels more rewarding and less routine.

Gink
10-07-2014, 03:39 PM
Congrats!

Borlaxx
04-15-2015, 07:23 PM
So I am thrilled to say that I am now part of the production team at Orlando Brewing! I will primarily be cleaning and sanitizing the fermentation and brite tanks and kegging off beer from the tanks, but I'm so damn happy to be part of a real commercial brewing team, especially with such great people. Less than a year ago I started volunteering before being hired as a night closer and now I'm working in the back, so to know I'm moving steadily towards my goal is awesome.

HardlyCapable13
04-15-2015, 07:35 PM
So I am thrilled to say that I am now part of the production team at Orlando Brewing! I will primarily be cleaning and sanitizing the fermentation and brite tanks and kegging off beer from the tanks, but I'm so damn happy to be part of a real commercial brewing team, especially with such great people. Less than a year ago I started volunteering before being hired as a night closer and now I'm working in the back, so to know I'm moving steadily towards my goal is awesome.

Good for you B! Sounds like a lot of fun, and it's great your moving in the right direction doing something you love.

Major Stains
04-16-2015, 02:02 PM
So I am thrilled to say that I am now part of the production team at Orlando Brewing! I will primarily be cleaning and sanitizing the fermentation and brite tanks and kegging off beer from the tanks, but I'm so damn happy to be part of a real commercial brewing team, especially with such great people. Less than a year ago I started volunteering before being hired as a night closer and now I'm working in the back, so to know I'm moving steadily towards my goal is awesome.

Awesome...the Beer Brewing Lawyer!
Closes one case and opens another...pass the glass.

Borlaxx
05-07-2015, 12:37 PM
Here is a little feature by Marriott on microbrews in Orlando that includes Orlando Brewing at the beginning of it. You can see a couple of our beers and a little look into the brewery. It is funny to see James (the dude giving the tour) and Crystal (the blonde at the bar with her who says this isn't her first beer of the day who is the taproom manager) acting all professional and shit, LOL!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpp3JnFp0zI