Last week I was honored to have attended the “Farewell Party” for former Firehouse Brewery & Grill assistant brewer Jason Gutierrez. Gutierrez decided to take a brewing position at Southern Star Brewery where he will be part of a 3-man brew crew.
Big Boy Decisions
The decision to leave was not an easy one. San Jose has been Gutierrez’ home for a number of years now and he is leaving behind all things familiar. But there comes a time in everyone’s life where they need to take a good, hard look at where they are professionally and see if it’s really the best fit for them. The craft beer scene in the Bay Area is fantastic, unfortunately craft beer jobs, at least the type Gutierrez is looking for, are finite in number. So he had to go where the jobs were. In this case, it was to the lone star state.
But before he left, Gutierrez had a little “Farewell Party” at Harry’s Hofbrau. Dozens of people showed up to wish him well and to give their goodbyes. Harry’s Hofbrau General Manager Kevin Olcese was kind enough to set some tables aside for us, despite the short notice, where we could all hangout and enjoy ourselves. It was good to see his personal and professional friends co-mingle and lend him their support.
It’s All You
After the obligatory “Speech! Speech!” prompts from Firehouse brewmaster Steve Donohue, Gutierrez got up and thanked everyone for their support. In particular, Gutierrez thanked Steve Donohue for sharing his knowledge and experience regarding the art of brewing and myself, for introducing him to Donohue.
While I am flattered and embarrassed by the acknowledgement, the person who requires the most credit for Gutierrez’ success is himself. All I did was ask him to come down to Firehouse and try their beers and meet their brewmaster. It was up to him to make the most of the opportunity and that’s exactly what he did. Gutierrez spent countless hours volunteering his time at Firehouse. He raked out ton after ton of spent grain and cleaned too many kegs to count. All his hard work eventually paid off in the form of a job. Southern Star Brewery is lucky to have him.
The Circle of Brewery Life
Steve Donohue is happy for his former protegé. While the loss of Gutierrez will be felt in the brewhouse, Donohue is realistic to know that this day would eventually come. It brings back memories of a time when he was an assistant brewer hungry for more responsibility and looking for an opportunity to work a brewery solo.
As you might imagine, the assistant brewer position at Firehouse Brewery is “open”. I use open in quotes simply because Donohue isn’t event sure if the owners will allow him to hire someone new. But if the position did open up, you might want to see what you’re really getting into. In speaking with Donohue before, he’s looking more for someone who will be doing more brewery cleaning and maintenance, as well as delivering Firehouse beers to their various accounts, as opposed to actual brewing.
Of course this is what he told me last week. If you’re truly interested, I’d suggest dropping by Firehouse on a day he’s there and seeing what he’s looking for.
Back when I was younger, I spent a couple of years in Phoenix, AZ. I still remember the day my family, after helping me move, drove off to go home. They turned the corner and I knew this was it, they weren’t coming back and I would be on my own for the foreseeable future. I had no job, no friends, and no family around for support. It was an emotional moment but one I had worked hard for; to finally step out on my own and be my own person.
I wish Gutierrez luck in this new chapter of his life as he takes further steps in becoming his own person. The journey may not be easy, or even enjoyable, but it will certainly be worth the experiences.
Mabuhay buddy, we miss you already!