A day in the life of…

Raw British Asparagus, Carrot & Chia Salad

Glenn Whatman, 29, is a brewer at the Old Dairy Brewery in Tenterden

My day starts by waking up to BBC Radio 6 Music nice and early. Living in Tenterden allows me to take a leisurely stroll to work, picking up a coffee on the way to enjoy when I get there. I get to work for 8.30am, sometimes earlier if I’m brewing.

The days when I’m not brewing my morning involves a lot of emails and paperwork, ordering stock, developing and updating brew sheets and recipes, and researching the latest beers and trends.

On a brew day the first thing I do when I get in is heat up the mash tun, ready for brewing. Then all my focus for the rest of the day is dedicated to this.

Here at Old Dairy we brew a whole range of ales using a single infusion mash (mixing water and malted barley) to produce wort (hot sugary malty water).

We then boil the sugary wort – this includes three to five hop additions in this 60-minute process. This sugary, hoppy wort is chilled to 20°C and the yeast is added.

The beer is then left for a few days to ferment and once this is done it is chilled further to 6°C and allowed to condition.

After a few days of conditioning in the tank it is then ready to rack into cask or bottle.

There are so many factors that come into play when making beer. To help consistency there are certain times when you take readings and measurements – this enables you to keep on track and know that you’re getting it spot on.

But when the readings are wrong and it doesn’t go your way, you have to improvise, which is never a bad thing. Also using quality ingredients helps.

With so many different styles out there it’s easy to get inspiration, but not quite as easy staying sober while doing it! Also ingredients play a major part in developing different beers. New, exciting hops are popping up all the time so I like to play around on the 50L test kit and see what people think.

I do get to do a lot of tasting as part of my job, but sometimes it’s not as nice as you’d think, especially when you’re hung over and having to sample the beer before it goes out in the morning!

My favourite part of the job is making and brewing my own recipes on the little test kit. Although not all of the test brews come out as I planned, it’s trial and error, and great fun. All the little sample brews I do get put in the shop for people to buy and tell us what they think.

I try to finish around 5.30pm but my days vary in so many ways every day is unique. My evenings are spent socialising with friends and researching (drinking beer)!


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