• Derek's Pro Brewer Gig

Pro-Brewing Now Added to Our Adventures

It’s every homebrewers’ dream: To share their unique talent and creative spin on craft beer with the masses… AND actually get paid for it. Watching customers enjoy every sip, glass after glass. ‘Going Pro’ as they say.

Well, we are proud to announce that Derek has taken on a gig as Brewery Consultant & Head Brewer for Crave & Co. all while keeping his current, full-time, 9-5 job as a Business Intelligence Architect (fancy for ‘database guru’). Not to mention him co-organizing Battle of the Homebrewers competition and fest coming up on April 23, 2017 during Harrisburg Beer Week. Phew! He’ll be super busy.

With that said, he’ll unfortunately be writing less for our ItsABrewLife.com. At least for a short while until things settle down this summer after Beer Week. But no worries. I’m helping him bring to you his story and new role as Pro Brewer. He’ll definitely jump in from time to time to share some learnings.

This Came Out of Nowhere

Our friends, Kristie and John Baker, own Crave & Co., a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Harrisburg, PA. Derek went to school with both of them and have kept in touch over the years. They knew we had gone down the ‘brewery in planning’ path last year trying to establish a small brewery of our very own. And, they were aware that we put those dreams on hold after determining it would take way too many man hours to do it right. There weren’t enough hours in the day between just the two of us trying to run it – even if we hired folks to work the bar area. There was just no way Derek would be able to keep his full-time job and run a brewery with me. The brewing alone at that capacity would be too taxing without some partners in place to take on some of the workload.

It’s that knowledge that we gained during the brewery planning process and Derek’s 8 years of homebrewing experience that spurred Kristie to start the conversation with Derek and I in early December 2016. You see, they’re a small mom and pop restaurant. It’s the 2 of them and a handful of employees that run the 2 year old, award-winning restaurant. It currently seats 20-25 people. And, they needed help bringing to life their vision of a boutique brewery: Small-batch brewing using fresh and unexpected ingredients for their customers to enjoy with their meal.

Building the Brewhouse from the Ground Up

Derek was intrigued by the idea of architecting the small scale system to his own design… from scratch. In the past 5 weeks, he’s taken a storage area in the restaurant’s basement to a fully functioning brewery:

  • researching and ordering equipment
  • designing the floor plan and equipment set up to be conducive to his workflow when brewing
  • working with a contractor who finished the space to Derek’s specifications
  • brewing the first test batch making sure all the equipment was working properly
  • troubleshooting, fixing or replacing what wasn’t working properly

etc. etc. I’m sure I’m leaving out tons of stuff.

In the upcoming weeks, he’ll be brewing 2-3 beers to be the first on tap for everyone to try at Crave & Co. (soon to be renamed, The Vegetable Hunter). I’ll keep you posted on when each will be ready for purchase. 

Follow Derek on Instagram

Derek will be snapping pics on Instagram frequently to document his brewing journey – incase you want a real-time update on what Derek’s up to.

Follow dmarkel14 and ItsABrewLife to be in the know.

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