Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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A Three Brewery Tour. A Three Brewery Tour.

Brewery Tour gift certMy going away present from my coworkers at my old job was two tickets for a tour of three breweries – obviously, my former coworkers know me very well! The tour company, Vancouver Brewery Tours1 picks you up at Waterfront Station, takes you around to tour three different breweries – going behind the scenes to see all the cool equipment and learning about all the cool techniques of how they brew their beer – and then drops you back at Waterfront, so you can enjoy all the beery goodness – a flight at each brewery – in a responsible fashion. Due to my and Daniel’s crazy schedules, we hadn’t actually found a time to go on said brewery tour until two weekends ago – and then due to my crazy schedule, I haven’t found a time to blog about it until now!

Vancouver Brewery Tour Van

The first brewery we went to was Brassneck on Main St. We got to go backstage to see their cool stuff, tasted some grains that are used in the brewing process, and learned how they do their brewing. Breakneck doesn’t sell their beers at any restaurant, bars, or liquor stores, so the only way to try their wares is to either go to the tasting room at the brewery or to get a growler. After all the learning, we got a flight with the following four beers:

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Now, the tour started at noon and these beers are on the rather high side as far as alcohol concentration goes and given that I am the world’s cheapest drunk, I was already pretty tipsy after this first brewery! My favourite of these beers was the Cherubeque, a Belgian Amber Ale. The Changeling was interesting – Changeling is a kettle soured beer that Brassneck makes that differs by time of year – in the summer they use whatever fruit is in season and right now they are using gerwurztraminer grape must. So it looks like a beer, but it tasted more like wine. I think it would be perfect for anyone who doesn’t like beer, but wants to look like they are drinking beer. I enjoyed the little glass of it, but I think it would be too sour for a full pint, at least for me.

IMG_0314After Brassneck, we went to Bomber. Bomber is actually named after the hockey team that the founders play on – the earliest Bomber beers were actually home brews that the main brewer made and brought to the rink for after game beers – so I really wanted to like it, but their thing is really hoppy beers and I’m not big on super hoppiness. I mean, the beers were objectively very good beers, but just not my preferred style. When we got the behind the scenes tour, they showed us Bomber’s new canning machine – a lot of craft breweries just do bottles or growlers, but not cans and apparently it’s not just because cams are thought of as lower quality than bottles. The canning machine was described as costing “the same as a small condo in Vancouver”. Also, though they told us what the beers were when they brought us out flights, by the time I went to log them on my Untappd app  (about 5 mins later), I couldn’t even remember what 2 of the 4 beers were2. The ones I did remember were the IPA and the Belgian Blond.

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Our finals stop on the tour was at Steamworks‘ new production facility in Burnaby. I was familiar with the Steamworks Brew Pub in Gastown, but I didn’t know that they’d opened this new factory in Burnaby. Unlike the other breweries we went to, which were small breweries with tasting rooms, this was a really big facility to make lots and lots of beer (plus a tasting room). Steamworks is evidently ready for the big time. They also told us that the owner of Steamworks also owns the Rogue restaurants3.

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Despite their expansion, Steamworks still manages to make great beer. I much enjoyed the four beers that I tried at their brewery: Pilsner, Kolsch, Black Angel IPA4, and something else that I appear to not have included on my Untappd app and thus do not remember!

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All in all, it was an excellent brewery tour and I highly recommend it if you like beer. Thanks, former coworkers, for such a thoughtful going away present!

  1. As per usual, I have no ties to this company (or any of the breweries I’m blogging about) other than having enjoyed my tour! []
  2. Did I mention that I’m the world’s cheapest drunk? []
  3. Fun fact: I once times the trip from my desk to the front door of Rogue on Broadway and it took 3 mins and 33 seconds. And that included waiting for the light to cross the street. I’ve also since moved to the first floor of my building at work, meaning one fewer flights of stairs to walk down. Clearly, I need to time that again []
  4. IPAs are not my favourite, but I could still tell it was a good beer. []

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Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End

Last week was a bittersweet one1. Sweet, because I started my awesome new job. But starting my awesome new job meant first saying good-bye to my awesome co-workers at my old job. I don’t generally talk about my work here on ye ole blog, but I will tell you that for the past five years I’ve had a really good job where I’ve done some meaningful work that I’m very proud of and I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really fantastic people. I’m really going to miss seeing those guys every day!

As my final day of work approached, the admin assistant in charge of timekeeping annotated my last ever timesheet:

Timesheet

On my second last day of work, my coworkers threw me a little farewell at the pub near our office. They also showed that they really know me well, as they gave me a farewell card in an envelope addressed like this:

Farewell Card

Which included a gift certificate for a brewery tour for two:

Brewery Tour gift cert

Like I said, these guys know me really well!

On my last day of work, I decided it was time to finally wear my “I am not an epidemiologist” shirt to the office. I had this tshirt made awhile back after being introduced as an epidemiologist one too many times2.

Last Day of Work

At the end of the day, after I’d handed in my ID badge and my keys and made my rounds of the office saying “bye” to everyone, my coworkers with whom I shared an office – a room affectionately known as “The Observatory” – played this song for me:

I managed to avoid crying. Barely.

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Final farewell photo with my Observatory buddies! (Left to right: Christina, Salman, me, Geoff, Diana, Rahul).

My last day of that job was Tuesday and since there is no rest for the wicked, I started my new job on Wednesday.

When I’d told my mom that I’d gotten a new job, the first thing she said was that I needed to have a new pair of shoes for my first day at a new job. And who am I to argue with my own mother? I went out and bought this pair and then had to wait very impatiently for nearly a month to wear them3:

New Shoes for a New Job

They were totally worth the wait. Both comfortable *and* stylish!

My first three days on the job have confirmed that I made the right decision in taking this new position. The project that I’m working on is a major one – it’s going to be fast-paced, challenging work and it’s going to be having a major impact in the lives of a large number of people. I spent my first three days in many meetings to meet many people working on the project, getting the lay of the land and figuring out what pieces of work I’ll be needing to do and thinking about how I want to build my team to do them. All the people I’ve met have been fantastic – a brilliant group doing some amazing work and all so friendly and helpful! So exciting!

I also spent some time doing the usual administrative things one needs to do when they get a new job – setting up email accounts, ordering a laptop, completing copious amounts of paperwork to ensure I get a paycheque, and getting an ID badge. To do the last item on that list, I had to go to a location that wasn’t at either of my offices. In fact, I had to go to this building:

Doctors Residence

And, of course, I couldn’t resist snapping that pic! It’s my residence! (Also, shouldn’t it be “Doctors’ Residence”?)

And, yes, I did say “either of my offices”, because I have two of them. One of them is technically a cubicle, but it’s so much bigger than the desk I was sitting at in my old job, that it feels like an office. And I even have a view of the mountains:

View from one of my new offices

…if I lean back and look around my cubicle wall.

My second office is an actual office – with walls and a door and everything! The view isn’t quite as nice as office #1, but I’m honestly happy to have an office *and* a window!

View from my office window

If you look close, you can see the pigeon spikes on my window ledge:

Pigeon spikes

I haven’t yet had a chance to decorate either office, but I did make sure to bring this to put on my desk:

New Beginnings

My friend Sarah gave me that when I left Ontario for BC and it’s seen me through a number of new beginnings these past 14 years. I have kept in on my desk in every job I’ve had during that time and it continues to make me smile to this day.

Footnotes:

  1. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the quote I used as the title of this posting, which I know from the song “Closing Time”, is actually a quote from the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger. Which seems much more sophisticated than being from the lyrics of a song about being kicked out of a club at the end of the night. []
  2. Not that there’s anything wrong with being an epidemiologist. Some of my best friends are epidemiologists. But, for the record, I’m an evaluator. Which is a completely different profession from epidemiology, though it shares the similarities of (a) starts with the letter “e”, (b) deals with data, and (c) no one outside your field knows what you do. []
  3. I had to give a month’s notice at my last job. []