How to become a brewer?
Loving to drink beer and loving beer are two separate things. And in order to brew great beer, it is the latter that really counts. But how do you know if you really love beer?
One way to test your desire is homebrewing. For an affordable amount of money the passion for brewing is easily tested. Going to sleep and thinking about your next beer recipe? You are hooked. Talking about things like Saaz, whirlpool or fermentation gives you butterflies in your stomach? You are definitely hooked on brewing so you might want to explore the matter more thoroughly.
Once this internal debate is settled, there are a number of ways to become a brewer. The first one, obviously, is to go to a brewing school. Thanks to a long tradition there is a number of brewing schools in the Czech Republic. Most of Staropramen brewers are the ones that early in their life figured out what they wanted to do for a living so they attended one of these fine institutions. Attending a brewing school of any kind does not automatically make one a brewer. There is no substitution for actual work at a brewery.
Brewing is both intellectually and physically a pretty demanding job. It is a line of work where natural science and engineering meet so knowing things like chemistry helps a lot. Brewing is a very physically demanding job because it includes some lifting and loads of dirty work. Being sprayed with yeast, getting wet or simply smelling like a brewery are all parts of the day job. Job safety is the highest priority of every brewery because the workers are constantly dealing with high temperature liquids and various chemicals. Following safety procedures like wearing boots, long sleeves, protective goggles and ear buds is a must.
Brewing is a mix of military-like discipline and true creativity. Imagine the possibilities with all the available kinds of malt, hops, various yeast strains and water profiles out there. And in the age of computers you actually get to make something with your own hands. And that something is the best drink in the world (sorry, water). There is no glory in brewing. It is all about hard work and constant learning. If we at Staropramen could live our lives all over again, we would choose brewing again. And we would not think about it for a second.