As beer drinkers, we get to enjoy the end product of an arduous and lengthy process. Thousands of brewers out there bust their asses to provide us with a finely crafted product for consumption.

What do we see? What do we get? We get that liquid pouring from the taps, cans and bottles. We sit in the bars, and on our couches, sipping stouts, porters, IPAs, pale ales, lagers, Belgians, and a variety of other beers from breweries large and small from around the world. We spend our money and get our drink on.

1487379_10202235057853996_2052665297_nAnd there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

I mean, it is, after all, why those brewers are creating beer – for the enjoyment of we, the brewpublic. For the love. But it’s worth remembering that beer is made with blood, sweat and tears. At times, there’s too much blood involved.

We don’t think about it this way, but brewing is a dangerous profession. There’s a lot that can happen during the brewing process that can be dangerous. It’s something most of us don’t think about very often, but it happens quite a bit. A couple of years ago, a brewer was cleaning a keg at the Redhook Brewing facility in New Hampshire.

Many of you might have heard about this one – the keg’s structural integrity was compromised, and the high-pressure washer caused the keg to explode. The keg explosion took Redhook employee Benjamin Harris, the man cleaning the keg, with it. This is not an isolated incident.

Earlier this year, seven died in an accident at the Modelo Brewing Company’s flagship facility in Mexico City, and there was another death at the Stone Brewery in August. While death is the extreme example, there are plenty of other serious accidents throughout the industry that should serve as a reminder that brewing is a dangerous profession. One of Maryland’s own brewers tore up a thumb on his bottling line, and this month in Texas an employee at a Miller/Coors facility fell into a mass of hot grain, and sustained second degree burns on his legs.

We don’t think about it much, but these men and women are working with boiling water, hot grains, cleaning chemicals, in a manufacturing setting with slick, wet floors, and also deal with heavy bags of grain, hops, and other adjunct ingredients.

The number of things that could go wrong and cause injury or fatality is legion. It’s easy to forget that brewing is a dangerous profession, and just more reason to not only show your appreciation for what these people do everyday, but thank them when you see them.

Tapped and Uncapped

It hasn’t made it to Maryland yet, but you can find this week’s recommendation in Northern Virginia. This week’s recommendation? Hoppyum IPA from Foothills Brewing in North Carolina. This is a great little package of bitterness. Notes of pine and citrus, with a definite malt backbone, this is an enjoyable, well balanced entrant into the world of IPA’s, and definitely worth both the cost of the six pack, and the trip into Loudoun County to find it.

Beer of the Week

This is a sponsored segment.

This week’s beer of the week from Barley and Hops is Snowmageddon. For all you malt-monkeys out there, this winter ale will tickle your fancy. Named for the epic snowball fight in Baker Park back in 2009, Snowmageddon is, in the words of the brewer, “malty ale with an abundance of caramel, nut and chocolate malt character. It also has just enough American hop flavor to balance all that malt.”

In my words, it’s just a damn good beer. Get yourself some.

Until next week, be well, drink good beer, and have a safe and happy holiday.

Slainte, my beer-braised meat-sacks.