Summer is here and that means trips to the beach, time with the family, fireworks, and neighborhood picnics. For many people, summer is also the time for a cold refreshing beer! In fact, the craft beer phenomenon continues to gain momentum across the country, and here in Philadelphia the trend is alive and well. So, to kick off the summer of 2015, we recently held a Craft Beer and BBQ event with our very own “homebrew expert,” Larry Schmitt, who served his own summer ale and spent time detailing the steps to create the perfect beer. When he is not crafting great beer, Larry serves as our Director of Technology.
Like any complex technology deliverable, crafting the perfect beer takes time, dedication, and creativity. For aspiring brewmasters out there (as well as anyone interested in honing their digital delivery skills), here are the 5 key steps for crafting a great beer while balancing process, quality, and creativity.
1). Have the Right Tools in Place
Before getting started, it’s important to line up the right tools. For craft brewers, this means having a boiling pot, mash tun, fermentation tanks, a large stirring spoon, bottle brushes, thermometer, and a refractometer. It’s also critical to keep the equipment clean and sanitized so no wild yeasts contaminate the brewing process.
2). Start With Great Ingredients
Once you have the right technology in place, then it’s time to assemble your ingredients. This seems obvious, but if you shortcut on the key ingredients of your project, then the end result is likely to be disappointing. Fresh malt and hops, like fresh ideas, are essential if you want an outstanding end result. It’s also important to mix the ingredients in at the right time and in the proper proportions. In other words, begin with the end in mind. If you want a “hoppy” beer, then by all means, add in those hops! However, if your customers favor a more traditional experience, then you may not want to go that route.
3). Measure, Adjust, and Stay Flexible
Once the fermentation process has started, all kinds of unexpected things can (and will) happen. Metrics, monitoring, and adaptability are critical during this phase. Additional ingredients might need to be added, the temperature could need adjusting, or the batch may need additional filtering. Tasting small samples along the way also allows the brewer to gauge if things are progressing according to plan.
4). Be Patient While Things Are Fermenting
Sometimes, the most important step to creative and beer-making success is to step back and simply let things ferment for a while. This can be a difficult step in the process, especially if you (or your management team) need constant evidence of “progress”—but time is often an overlooked yet essential ingredient for crafting a great experience. If your initial ingredients and vision are high quality and you have the right team and tools in place, then resist the temptation to keep tweaking things. In other words, trust the creative process.
5). Serve It Up With Enthusiasm
After weeks or months of preparation, when it comes time to tap the keg or launch the project, be sure to invite people over and make it a social occasion! People instinctively appreciate finely crafted deliverables, whether it’s a delicious keg of beer or a high-impact digital campaign.
A finely crafted beer, like a great tech deliverable, takes concentration and dedication over an extended period of time. Attention to details of the process, balancing great ingredients, and taking some creative risks all combine to make for a great-tasting and memorable beer.
Please let us know if you’d like us to help you serve up a finely crafted and memorable digital experience for your customers. We think they will be pleasantly surprised. Cheers!