Update August 18, 2014
Did a year really pass since the last update? Ok, not quite, it’s only 11 months. Details or some such saying. The business turned 5 in June and I still haven’t made the anniversary beer. Everyone’s drinking Berliner Weisse as fast as I release it. I think that is a hash tag first world problem statement.
I’m on the verge of more changes and I’m holding off on the program till I finish these changes. The feedback from prior graduates was that when the business was in flux (most of the time) it made for challenging days. Really busy one week, quiet on the next. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time let alone my own. I think the program is going to have to wait a little longer to relaunch.
What’s a little longer? Not sure. Probably six months. I’ll know better by January. To those interested, I’m sorry for the delays. I am delaying with best intentions. If my timing doesn’t match yours then my advice is to homebrew, join a homebrew club and get to know the breweries in your area. Persistence, networking and talking beer over beers goes a long way. Brewing, like life, is a process of build relationships. Build your network and you never know when the opportunity you want may open up.
Best wishes on your beer journey while we live through ours.
Update on September 13, 2013:
Hard to believe it’s September 2013 already. School has started, football is back and we’re busier than ever brewing beer. I’m writing today to update our interested fans about our apprentice program. It seems I’m at a bit of a crossroads… We have three beers to roll out from the last batch of Apprentices – Paul’s IPA called Emily on the 27th, Chelsea’s Maple Leaf Porter later in October and then some day soon Keenan’s flanders barrel aged imperial stout. With these last beers almost complete we are at the end of an era.
We’ve come a long way since the first apprentice join us back in 2009. The energy and enthusiasm of our apprentices has always been a boon for me as a brewer and for White Birch as a business. I’ve enjoyed working with each one of them as they learn and create their own beers. Some have gone into the business, some are on the doorsteps of opening their own businesses and some have gone back to their day jobs happy to have the experience under their belts.
So where does that leave us now? That’s a great question and I feel like I’m at an impasse. The old regimen of one apprentice brewer per day doesn’t work with todays workflow. The apprentice would primarily only see one task and not rotate throughout the brewhouse. Bringing in someone for more than one day a week means it should be a paid job and as such the role would need to compliment the team already here. Beyond that, an apprentice role is and always was intended to be a six month program where you graduate and move on – on to the industry or on to other ideas and goals.
The program will have to change in order to remain relevant for everyone. To really do it right we need to continue growing at White Birch for another year. I have an awesome team working in the brewhouse right now. We have tools that I only dreamed about a short 12 months ago (2012). Our product lineup has been streamlined, our distribution has grown and until we hit a stable operations cycle, I’m hesitant to bring in an apprentice.
The program will be on hold until summer 2014. Some of you have been waiting quite a long time for an update. I’m sure this is not the update you want to hear. Why target summer 2014 for the program to relaunch? That will be the beginning of the third year of our current annual product plan and as such it’s the nearest time I think we’ll be ready to make a decision on the future of the apprentice program. I value the commitment our apprentices have shown to the program, to White Birch as well as the team that becomes part of their learning curve. I want to do right by both groups when we relaunch this program. I thank you for your interest in our program and hope you keep your passion for the industry strong.
Our Apprentice Beers:
- Aloha - Matt McComish is our first brewer apprentice. For Matt’s professional debut he choose to brew a Wit.
- Natasha - Mike Boulerice, our second brewer apprentice, brings us Natasha: an Oak Aged Imperial Stout.
- Nyx - Adam Romanow is our third brewer apprentice. His release is an exploration into a newer beer style, the Black IPA.
- Camp Travis - With this release by Benjamin Martin, our fourth brewer apprentice, we think we have the ultimate fireside camp beer.
- Deviant Monk - With this release by David Sakolsky, our fifth brewer apprentice, we bring you an inspired ale.
- Colonial Ale - With this release by Christian Weber, our sixth brewer apprentice, we take you back in time.
- Eorna Ceol Ale - With this release by Justin Umlah, our seventh brewer apprentice, we bring you his take on a Scottish Style Wee Heavy.
- First Tracks - John Cataldo is our eight apprentice brewer. For his release he brewed a Weizenbock.
- Jasmine - Kate Wallace is our ninth apprentice brewer and also our first female apprentice. For her release she’s brewed a Belgian style ale with jasmine flowers.
- Patersbier – Our tenth apprentice brewer is Kerry Walker who drove from Albany, NY through the winter to work with us. His release is an interpretation of a beer traditionally brewed within Belgian monasteries for the Monks’ own consumption and not sold to the public.
- AKU - Geoff Burgess, our eleventh apprentice brewer was inspired by the California Common.
- Broustaris – For our twelfth apprentice release, brewer Beth Eisenberg has created a 19th century Scotch ale.
- Mabon – Andrew Eppinger is our thirteenth apprentice brewer and creator of a black Saison.
- Tres pa’ Cuatro – Our fourteenth apprentice brewer is Victor Arocho who brewed a Belgian Tripel using four different malts.
- Freedom From Want – A Saison brewed with ginger and orange peel by our fifteenth apprentice brewer Bryan O’Neill.
- Emily – An aromatic American IPA brewed by our sixteenth apprentice brewer Paul Lemoi.
- Maple Leaf Porter – Brewed by our seventeenth apprentice brewer Chelsea Meisner using syrup from Walpole, NH.