Yesterday I joined Scott and Sara Gayle McConnell, owners of Tradesman Brewing Co., as they hosted a group of 10 women at November’s BREWSTER brews session. I’ve been following the BREWSTERs, a growing group of Charleston women interested in brewing beer, for several months now, and I was excited to finally see what they were all about. 

I’ve toured breweries before, sticking my nose in malts and hops as I swilled whatever finished product I carried around in a pint glass. “This,” I would think, “looks like a pretty sweet gig.” Brewing is a sweet gig — it’s just not a very easy one. 

We arrived in Tradesman’s brewhouse at 8 a.m. and we left around 2:30 p.m., if that gives you any idea of how long brewing takes. And we just started the process — the beer won’t be ready for weeks. We brewed a stout, with the tastes of Grand Marnier as an inspiration. The McConnells use a nifty beer app, iBrewmaster, to help them find and create beer recipes. The high-tech feeling of an iPad calculating measurements feels jarring compared to the not so high tech manual labor involved in the actual brewing.

The process is complicated — thank god for that app, or I would be completely befuddled by the math and measurements behind adding malts, grains, yeast, water, etc. But pictures say 1,000 words right? Behold: brewing.*
*This is my bare bones interpretation of the process, chronicled with the intention of giving a tiny taste of the work behind brewing. 

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Check back for the next BREWSTER brews date, which will be scheduled in the new year. I’ll let you know when our Grand Marnier-inspired stout is ready, too, so you can grab a pint, with a portion of proceeds going to a local charity.