Friday, December 7, 2012

Does This Man Have Your Dream Job?

John Harrison is the kind of guy you could stand behind in the grocery store and never know you're inches away from a beer-making rock star.    Beneath the unassuming exterior is an applied intellect that delights palates both personal and professional, and he has created a devoted fan base in a State that knows beer.

If you want to impress beer drinkers in Wisconsin, you better bring your A-Game.  Harrison began making beer about thirty years ago, but his hobby didn't stay a hobby for long. Something about it took root in him and before long, he says, "I couldn't see myself working a Joe job for the rest of my life.... I wanted to make beer."

I met Harrison at the Delafield Brewhaus last week for the first in a series of conversations about beer. He has come a long way from his home setup, including lots of professional brewing, his graduation from the Siebel Institute of Technology. He has designed more than 250 styles of beer, and won some very prestigious awards along the way.

If you don't know, the Siebel Institute was founded in 1872 as America's first brewing school.  Graduation from its World Brewing Academy is enough to confer "expert" status, but to give you an idea of the seriousness of the subject matter, consider some of its course titles: Bier Sommelier, Raw Materials and Wort Production, Sensory Analysis for Flavor Production and Control. It is a beer geek's paradise.

His experience and education came in handy when the Delafield Brewhaus came calling. Harrison had just experienced a career setback in the form of back-to-back floods at his previous location.  Just when things seemed the bleakest, fate lent a hand with the opportunity of a lifetime.

Imagine, for a moment,  the great passion of your life.  Now imagine that you are free to pursue it, full-time.  In fact, you will be paid to pursue your greatest passion precisely as you wish - the project will be your own, down to the last detail.  "I started this project clearing the land... I was the first one they brought on board," Harrison said. He is the architect of the brewery, from its exterior grain silo that feeds the grist mill in the basement, to the taps behind the bar and everything in between.  He even planted the Cascade hops around the Biergarden outside, which he naturally uses in the course of his work.

Harrison's technical expertise, genuine passion and three decades of experience coalesce to make a brewmaster as skilled as he is humble.  Yes, if you ask him, he will tell you incredible stories about the time his beer beat some very well-known brands at a major competition, and how he took 6 beers to the World Beer Championships and came home with 6 medals. For me, the cool thing about John Harrison is, his numerous accolades are not what drives him to pursue excellence. "The people who come in time after time are a better medal than any you could put on a wall," he says.

I have met some of his fans. The ones who are excited to see a new beer on the line, the Mug Club loyalty members, folks who walk in with empty growlers and walk out with their favorite or excited about a new style.  They are mostly men, but Harrison's products definitely appeal to both genders -- certain beers, particularly those involving fruits and berries are especially girl-friendly (in my observation).   

The Delafield Brewhaus hosts Beer-and-Food pairing dinners, and if you have a taste for great beer and delicious food, matched by experts, this is a great event.  If you're out of range, check back here for the next in this series.

1 comment:

  1. It's very straightforward to find out any matter on net as compared to textbooks, as I found this article at this web page.
    Look at my web site :: Promo Codes