“He who drinks a lot of beer sleeps well. He who
sleeps well cannot sin. He who does not sin, goes to
heaven, Amen.” (German Proverb, XVII century)
And as I promised, here I left you the first PROST in which I really write about beer and trips.
Once I finished working at Polar Brewery I decided to continue my dream – which is to become a brewmaster in Germany-. So, in April 2016 I left my country (Venezuela) and embarked on a new adventure, a new life and a new beginning in Germany. But first I spent a few days in Bogota, this trip had basically two main objectives, first to visit one of my best friends -Fabiana Martínez- who lives there and second to visit Bogota Beer Company. Why? because my trip to Germany meant a big step for me, both personally and professionally – every time I was closer to my dream – and the best way to start this adventure was visiting the brewery that made me realize my true passion. So, my friend Fabiana and I took an amazing tour around the BBC, we met wonderful people there. It was an incredible experience and I invite everyone who visits Bogotá to make this tour. It is worth it!.
The tour is public, but you have to write an email previously to firstname.lastname@example.org to inform the number of persons and the date you would like to go. It is open from Friday to Sunday and it cost of 19,900 Colombian pesos ($ 7), it includes a beer tasting -the best Known ones-, transport and the trip to the plant with a detailed explanation. The day of the tour you must wait for the bus at Carrera 24 # 85ª 47 barrio polo at 10:30 am.
Bogota Beer Company, is located in Tocancipa; approximately 20km away from Bogotá. This plant produces all the beer, which is distributed in the whole Country. They produce mainly: Chapinero Porter, Candelaria Clasica, Monserrate Roja, Cajicá Miel, Bacatá Blanca, among others, in spite of being considered as a small craft brewery, the process has a prime technology and excellent equipment, thus the result a beer of the best quality. The first tour’s stop is the history of beer in which you will learn a little in my next PROST- but not from the BBC perspective, but from mines, they also narrated the history of Bogota Beer Company, the raw materials used in beer, and finally the tour of the plant, explaining the process step by step. Bogota Beer company has a variety of beers, both Lager -bottom-fermented- and ALE -high fermentation-. It is much inspired by the European beers styles and the useful life of these beers is 6 months. The process begins in grinding the barley and then continue with maceration, wort filtration, boiling, cooling, fermentation, maturation, filtration, conditioning or carbonation, packaging, and distribution. They only have two presentations: in bottles and barrels. Therefore they only have the machinery for packaging in these two types. Something very important is, they have their own water treatment plant and use the water of the “Sabana de Bogota”. The whole process does not cause so many damages to the environment and nature, this issue is of high value in the whole beer industry.
Bogotá Beer Company Process.
You can also enjoy the experience of tasting the different beers they produce, to get to know the various raw materials such as malt and different types of hops. I really liked that. The brewery was very clean and tidy, and this is extremely important in any brewery, moreover you can see the brewhouse, brewmasters, operators and workers in the plant, they are willing to answer your questions and they show a lot of passion for their work. The beers from Bogotá Beer Company does not use clarifying agents, enzymes, or adjuncts (oats, wheat, corn, sorghum, etc). They produce High-quality beers with imported raw materials. Their technology is 100% from Germany, which allows them to check the whole process from a control room, and no longer required manual labor as it was done at the beginning when they started. They have grown enormously but one of their slogans remains the same: “It is not the quantity but the quality”.
“WELCOME TO THE SMALL BREWERY BUT THE
BIGGEST OF COLOMBIA.”
AND HERE I WANT YOU TO GIVE SOME TIPS:
- All the ingredients added to the brewing process must have a calculation (nothing can’t be by the eye).
- You should always know the capacity of the equipment.
- You must know the reactions and movements that occur into the equipment. If its static should not be filled more than 95% of its capacity and if its dynamic should not be filled more than 70-75% of its capacity.
- It is important to know, if you want to develop a similar beer in each production (repeatability), processes should be mostly standardized. The secret is always to generate the same recipe. To achieve uniformity, taste panels must be important to improve the differences that may exists between each one of the beers produced. In the case of craft beers, this is always a challenge, due to the lack of the adequate equipment and others.
And one of the most important tip is:
Cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning. Do not allow any condition for pets and microorganisms to spread. Breweries should always have the highest standards of hygiene.
PS: I am not an expert brewer, so I accept other opinions to help me improve my skills, thus we can exchange different points of views.