Good Robot Brewing Co.

Pretentious Anecdotes Somewhat Pertaining to Beer

My Beer: My Friend, My Confidant

A column about booze, anxiety, and feeling like you’re a part of something.

Walking through the gates of Good Robot on a busy weekend can feel intimidating as all hell – even for an employee. The people are crowded together, the cups filled to the brim with a new beer that you don’t recognize, and you feel like not even the shadow that casts over the gastroturf can protect you.

But our beer, it doesn’t judge. Our beer doesn’t ask questions or cast expectations. Our beer will run right up to you and ask you to be its friend.

That’s at least what I found in my 3 months working with GRBC.

The Goseface is my sour friend when I’m in need for a little bitch-fest and a half, or when I’m really ticked off about my “grown-up job.” She gives me the salty edge I need to carry on.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 9.37.59 PM

Now, the nuttiest of them all, is the smoky Camacho Lager. He can be a really big ass, but man, can I let loose with this guy. He is a goof, and he is a great listener. He’s my go-to when I need to just be myself. Continue reading

It’s 5 o’Clock Somewhere

By Dan Hendricken
5pm. 17:00 hours. Quitting Time. For years, this has been the time society has told us it’s ‘appropriate’ to have a beer. Well, personally I am sick of this. I’m tired of being told when i can have a drink. I’m a +19 adult, and just like doing my taxes, I’ll start drinking whenever I feel like it.

This freedom train is not done rolling though, because I’m talking about having a few beach beers on a long weekend. I’m talking about having a few adult beverages on a Tuesday in March. Break out the bus tickets, Daddy is having himself a weekday.

Do not go boldly into this brave new world of day drinking blind though, my friend. Day drinking is a tricky beast, look no further than every episode of Cops for proof. So here is a quick guide to day drinking, along with some classy recommendations to pair your beer perfectly with the time of day. Continue reading

Brewery Construction Update! Plus, Motivation and Smiling

Construction has begun! But first, I have some thoughts on entrepreneurship. Let’s stroke my ego and see if I can tie the themes together. Last week, I found out that something I had been working towards was delayed by several months. I felt defeated. I ended up eating 17 days worth of my Kinder Chocolate Advent Calendar in one sitting, almost as if I cared only about the goal and not the journey, or as if I cared only about the imaginative Kinder toy and not the silky, smooth chocolate egg made with simple ingredients like high-quality cocoa, real sugar, and a heart of visibly milky filling that melts in your mouth and embraces your taste buds.

 

 

The other night, my friend asked me, “How do you stay motivated?” I didn’t have an answer. I’m not feeling particularly motivated right now and the bleak weather has me longing for New Orleans, so I just took a step outside to smoke and listen to Tom Waits. I saw another smoker across the way. She looked miserable. I began wondering why I never smile when I smoke, nor do I smile when I listen to music, which is odd since they’re both sources of pleasure. I forced myself to smile. I stood there grinning like an idiot on our patio for three minutes as the noon traffic rolled by and I started to feel better. (Smiling, even forced, releases serotonin. Give it a try right now.)

Angus grinding the bay doors

Angus be on his grind.

As I stood there grinning like I had gone batshit, two businessdudes in peacoats crossed the street to visit The Coastal for lunch. It was closed. They were devastated (understandably so – have you tried their Buffalo Chicken?). The dudes spent a good two minutes double-checking the door lock, hours of operation, windows for any movement… Those poor souls had dreamt of a good lunch all morning, maybe all week. If they could just have this one thing, they thought they would be happy. My ridiculous grimace turned to uncontrollable cackling as I realized how I stay motivated: living for the moment.

 

Wrought Iron Brewing Company - Construction - Angus chipping warehouse floor with chipping hammer

Angus be on his chip.

When I work, I’m not focused on finishing the work, but rather doing the work. The end goal is just icing on the cake. Right now, we’re not focused on getting our brewing equipment or modelling our taproom. We’re focused on construction, which is fun, especially when you don’t have the proper tools for it.

We received our construction permit last week. A great reward, sure, but the joy was in doing the work ourselves: designing and drafting the systems and contracting out the work to people more capable than us. We tore up our floor to scope out our trench drain. We fixed our bay door arches. We had some beers and did a little crude demolition. We’ve contracted trades to upgrade our trusses, fire-proof our ceiling and upgrade our security system. Soon, we’ll be upgrading HVAC, upgrading to three-phase electrical, upsizing water utility, installing propane lines, digging out a manhole for effluent samples, and otherwise bringing the building up to code. Sure, we’re not ready to brew, but we’re having a pretty damn good time.

Take that guy, in the video. Is he concerned about paychecks, timelines or even basic safety? No. He’s living in the moment. So the next time you see me smoking and cackling like an idiot, or river-dancing on a rotating piece of 2×4, just know I’m enjoying myself. And maybe a little blitzed.

Pixar and Doing It Yourself

Do you have a friend who happily admits they’re a snob? Or maybe they’re proud to call themselves a fanboy? Some people prefer to think of themselves as critics. Whatever it is, some people who immerse themselves in a product or art form without ever having produced it themselves love to voice their opinion. Often, that opinion is very cruel. This was my plague in Seattle. I was drinking so much beer that I became a self-titled beer snob. This was shit. That was shit. Everywhere a shit shit. Then I tried making my own beer. Talk about shit.

Cat Medicine IPA

Cat Medicine IPA

I’ve revisited the old adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” I’ve always inferred the meaning as your own work is the best work. I now like to think of it as, you’ll appreciate something more once you’ve done it yourself. Turning to beer, there isn’t one in Atlantic Canada that I don’t like. I enjoy some more than others, but my desire for one over the other usually depends on my mood. Once you’ve made a beer, you pick up on things you may have missed before. Or, at the very least, you’re more forgiving.

Crisp. Light. Best served with self-defeat.

Crisp. Light. Best served with self-defeat.

In the movie Heckler, George Lucas said, “There are two types of people: creators and destroyers. I prefer to align myself with the former.” Well put, George. I’m not a Star Wars guy myself, but I have lots of Star Wars fans as friends, and you’d think he had synthesized eye cancer judging by their reactions from his remakes. And yet, those same fanboys have a blank resume when it comes to sci-fi films. If you only absorb, you become cynical. If you only produce, you remain naive. Balance the two and you’ll love the product.

fanboy_motivational_poster_by_davinci41-d729g8mI’m still trying to find a balance between producing and criticising, but I find I’m much happier doing the former. Do what you love rather than shitting on what you don’t. The day you find me Tweeting to a local barista about his mediocre espresso is the day I begin roasting my own beans.

 

Why?

Aloha from Calgary! My name is Joshua Counsil, Wrought Iron Brewing Company’s Marketing Director. I love beer and hate segues.

When Angus offered me the opportunity to join this operation, I was baffled. I mean, a craft brewery? I’m a white, college-educated male between the ages of 25 and 35 – what do I know about craft beer? I’ve got the disparaging condescension towards commercial beers on lock, but I don’t own a plaid shirt or a beard. Angus, however, wasn’t taking “no” for an answer, mostly because he didn’t ask a yes-or-no question.

Angus is confident in me. He has a remarkable ability to find your hidden talents buried beneath layers of plaid and beard. During our initial brewery talks, Angus said something that sticks with me to this very day, three weeks later: You’re good at making people drink. My therapist agrees.

And then there’s Doug, whose hair alone could run the brewery. He finds inspiration in the most unusual places, like inspirational quotes. I love Doug like a brother, and if his brewing skills are half as impressive as his cooking skills, we’re all in for a treat. One time, Doug put red onion in my salad. In my salad! That’s exactly the kinda out-of-the-box thinking we need.

Craft brewing is not solely my destiny; it’s my only option, which I’ll illustrate with an obligatory anecdote.

Months ago, I had an online interview with a start-up company in Calgary. It went poorly. Not as poorly as, say, my Disney World interview, where I said my favourite Disney character is the Coachman who turns kids into donkeys. Nor was it as bad as my Rolls-Royce interview, where I accidentally tied up my hands and wrists with Scotch tape. And it certainly doesn’t top my Royal Military College interview, where I said that gravity is a form of aerodynamic drag, then yelled, “FUCK!” …But it was poor.

This interview consisted of none of the usual pleasantries, like what I do and why I’m decent at it. No, they jumped right into undergraduate-level technical questions – 17, to be exact – including solving problems and using equations I haven’t touched since Kofi Annan led the UN. And the only reason I’m aware of that historical trivium is because of Wikipedia, which I had open on my computer monitor during the interview to aid with their technical questions.

When I’m nervous, I crack bad jokes. Judging by the deafening silence I was met with, I surmised that these guys weren’t the type to laugh at humorless jokes, nor were they the type to let me slink away with what little dignity I had left. The interviewers asked me to draw a close-looped, steam-generating system with Microsoft Paint via screenshare so they could silently mock me in real-time. Below is my masterpiece, worthy of the Louvre.

 

Interview_Fail1

 

Against all odds, the interview got much, much worse. After I closed Microsoft Paint, the interviewers went silent for a solid 15 seconds. I had forgotten that the screensharing program was still running and, subsequently, they could still see my computer screen. Below is a screenshot of what they were staring at. In case it’s not enough that I was cheating during the interview by searching for answers to the technical questions on Google, check out the tab at the top left.

 

Two days later, they offered me the job. I can only assume the other candidate had pornography open on his monitor.

Yeesh. I’m two minutes into my Marketing job and already embarrassed by my facetiousness. On the other hand, maybe that’s the secret to all this. Maybe the key to marketing is being open and honest, embracing and celebrating all the eccentricities embodied by the human condition. Art is subjective. Dignity is overrated. Perfection is a fallacy. But in my book, beer is about as close to perfection as we can get. And that’s worth pursuing.

I love you.

— Josh