Is Brewing Beer the Next Extreme Sport?
Brewing is an extreme event. It demands both physical and mental endurance and strength. Even with proper training and practice, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. It takes courage, precision and vigor. While some athletes pitch baseballs, others pitch yeast.
“Whether it’s 6 a.m. or 11 a.m., no time of day can alleviate the strain of mixing hundreds of pounds of grain with a couple hundred gallons of hot water. In our world, that’s simply called mashing in, and it’s one of the most important parts of the brew day.”
The act of producing beer requires serious repeated lifting, mixing and stacking. It’s all about the reps, and because consistency is key in the brewing world, maintaining an immunity to weakness is necessary. Craft brewers have the admirable and athletic challenge to ensure that when we’re craving our favorite brew, it’s not only available, but tastes exactly the way we remember it, every time.
But there’s so much more to it than that. Between washing 30-pound half-barrel kegs, and stacking up to 300 cases of beer, there’s no slacking, and with all the chemicals, glass and heavy machinery involved, a brewer has to be on their A-game. Witkiewicz explains that it’s not just about the safety of the brewer, but of the entire team.
“Working in a brewery requires us to operate potentially dangerous equipment at any time of day, no matter the season, and it’s incumbent to respect the safety of everyone on the production floor, no matter how tired we are.”
Like most sports, it takes a lot of brawn to get bronze, silver and gold medals. In the craft beer world, these medals are won at competitions like the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. So who needs a kettlebell when you’ve got a beer kettle?
To learn more about what it takes to participate in the athletic affair of craft brewing, check out Kay Witkiewicz’ post Brewing is an Extreme Sport on the Twisted Pine blog.
Tiffany Lutke is the current Craft Beer Program intern at the Brewers Association. She spent her days as a kid in the small craft brewery her father owned on the east coast, which led to her love for small and independent breweries. When she’s not pouring beer at Upslope Brewing Company taproom in Boulder, she’s sharing pints with old friends at her favorite beer bars like The Mayor of Old Town in Fort Collins, Colo.