Talking Shop with Melissa Rainville of Fitger’s Brewhouse

G: How did you land at Fitger’s Brewhouse?

MR: I had interviewed at The Brewhouse back in 2011 and was bested by a brewer with more experience than myself. The guys were completely forthright with me about being “runner up,” so I offered my spare time to help out and work in The Brewhouse with the hope that I’d be kept in mind for future opportunities. In March of this year they offered (and I accepted) a full-time position there.

G: What are your other passions in life? Do they influence your brewing?

MR: I’m a sucker for making things by hand. I knit. I sew. I keep bees. I have recently started bread baking and cheese making. I still brew at home. The walls in the spare bedroom at home are lined with industrial steel shelving that house upwards of 50 fermenters, ten kettles of various sizes, 18 Cornelius kegs, two propane burners, and a stockpile of grain. There are also a couple of chest freezers, a kegerator and a microscope strewn about the house. Is it fair for me to say that brewing influences my brewing? Because it’s brewing at home that gets me stepping out of my comfort zone, trying new things and troubleshooting recipes.

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G: What would you be doing if you weren’t brewing professionally?

MR: I’d likely be living in a tent trying to keep my carboys from freezing, growing vegetables, and trying to run a CSA.

G: What style(s) of beer do you see trending in 2014?

MR: Bière de Garde. 

G: What keeps you inspired?

MR: Seasons. Changes in the seasons keep me at the kettle, designing recipes to keep what I feel to be “seasonally appropriate” beer on hand.

G: Where is your favorite place to put one back?

MR: Upstairs at First Ave.

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Brian Kaufenberg is the editor-in-chief of The Growler Magazine.

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