Keeping beer Fresh off the Farm: Brian Logan

Keeping beer Fresh off the Farm: Brian Logan

[Part of the #wearebalebreaker series]

Starting fresh. A clean slate, an open road, a blank sheet of paper. Starting fresh can be a feeling of both freedom and anticipation of an exciting challenge ahead. And that’s exactly how Brian Logan felt when he started as Quality Control Manager at Bale Breaker in November 2015. Tasked with building a world-class Quality Control program at then two-year-old Bale Breaker, Brian was starting fresh in more ways than one.

As a winemaker at Coeur d’Alene Cellars for six vintages, Brian loved the beauty of northern Idaho and his chemistry degree was serving him well in the minutiae of wine production. But in early 2015, his (now) wife, Frances, was hired as a teacher in the Yakima School District. Fortunately, his former winery co-worker, Meghann Quinn, had a growing brewery, conveniently also located in Yakima. As co-workers in Coeur d’Alene, Meghann had had a front row seat to Brian’s hard work and attention to detail. Of course, Brian said yes to a fresh start in a new industry, a new community and at a new company. Exciting times were ahead.

So, is it more fun to make beer or wine?
They are just different. In beer, you get to find out if your product is good right away. In wine, there’s higher stakes in the process since you develop a relationship with the wines over two years before they are released. The pace in beer is much faster.

What does being QC Manager entail?
Working closely with our head brewer, Kevin, to create the brewing schedule and then sampling, recording and analyzing data. When I first arrived, I got to work buying all the lab equipment and then began establishing processes and protocol for chemical analytics and microbiology. Now we’ve established consistent protocol and have two full time lab people to manage all the processes.

What is the most important part of your job to you?
Finished product analysis. I take a lot of pride in putting out a product that I’m happy with. I don’t want something to leave the brewery that I’m not proud of. Everyone on the team is committed to that and finds solutions every day to make it happen.   

Is there one thing in your work that’s most important to beer quality? Fermentation monitoring requires so much diligence. Using the same schedule and the same processes is the best way to ensure the beer comes out the same every time. All that attention to detail is a really satisfying mental and physical challenge every day I come to work.

What’s the coolest thing you own?
Skis—five pairs!

Beer & Pizza or Beer & Burgers?
Beer & Burgers. Easy.

If you could only drink beer in cans or draught beer for the rest of your life, which do you choose?
Canned beer. Hauling a keg to the ski slopes is hard.

Posted March 31, 2017

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