I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been a little lazy about getting this post out. In my defense, not only was the Concise Course closely followed by Thanksgiving and then those squirrely winter holidays (whichever of them you celebrate, they’re all at the same damn time), plus there’s that whole “new brewery” thing.
However, since those two weeks in November and all of my posts, I’ve had a lot of questions posed here and elsewhere on the Internets that need to be addressed. So here are my answers:
Did you pass the Big Test?
Quite, yes. I don’t really want to go into details about this and color future classes, but suffice to say that if you don’t pass the Big Test you really shouldn’t be in the room.
The second question, and by far the more important one, I think is:
Would you recommend this course to others?
Absolutely… with caveats.
Let me say this in the most convoluted way possible: Had I know what the content and format of the course was ahead of time, I probably wouldn’t have spent the money on attending. However, I am extremely glad I did. I didn’t learn how to brew in this class. Turns out, as I had hoped and suspected, I already know how to brew. I did get a really nice overview of science, physics, and business considerations that I have already put to use in a number of ways, and I hope to be able to make future use of the contacts that I met there.
The staff and (99% of) the instructors were fantastic and I hope to run into them time and again in the future and catch up. I also plan on taking future courses at Siebel on more targeted topics. They know their stuff.
In addition, by passing the Big Test and receiving my Certificate of Attendance (yeah – I showed up!), Siebel agrees to refer and/or sponsor students to join the MBAA and ASBC (not that I think that you necessarily need said referral or sponsorship, but hey – nice!).
Here are the caveats:
If you know your way around a brewery, you’re going to bored for a good chunk of this class. There are some good pieces of information in here, but since you’re getting a broad overview of the process, there’s going to be a lot you already know.
If you don’t know your way around beer, this could be pretty challenging to keep up with. I think most homebrewers are probably up to the task, but I can tell you that 4 years ago – as a homebrewer and not as well-read as I am now – I would have been totally overwhelmed. Even a few days working in and around a brewery would probably give you enough information.
Lastly, experience is the best teacher. After two weeks in this course, you still won’t know how to do day-to-day tasks in the brewery, you’ll just have an overview of, probably, why they need to be done (which is good) and maybe some tips on how not to totally fuck them up (which is great).
So, my overall answers is: Yes, go to. But know what you’re getting and be ready for it.
Isn’t that the most general recommendation, ever? Here: I enjoyed it.
I’m also happy to answer any more questions people have about the course, in specific.