When Double Mountain Brewer Jen House clocks in for the day, she means business. With a background in microbiology from a university situated in one of the most saturated microbrew cities in the United States—Fort Collins, Colorado—and a graduate degree in food science, she has slashed open more than a few hop bags in her life.
We caught up with Jen on a rare slow day in the Hood River, Oregon brewery after she had been carrying the HVAS™ around for a few weeks. Before she agreed to field test for CRKT®, she had grown accustomed to carrying a multitool—mostly because no one seems to be able to return the needle nose pliers to their home. Once she subbed in the HVAS™, though, the simplicity and capability of Jesper Voxnaes’ clean design was evident.
If there’s one universal truth about brewing, it’s this: “you spend about 95% of your time cleaning,” Jen laughs as she pushes open the sliding glass door that separates the industrial-feeling pourhouse and pizza joint from the brewery. “That’s something you don’t quite realize when you start down this path.”
But one thing she most appreciates about brewing for Double Mountain is that while there’s a defined hierarchy among the brewers—same as there would be elsewhere—each brewer is adept in performing each task. No day for Jen is ever the same as the last. Her favorite, she shares, “are the days spent experimenting with fruit. Especially cherries.”
Because the brewery is relatively small compared to its mighty output, there’s no room for small-batch experimentation. “There’s really no such thing as a trial process,” Jen explains, “so when we decided to create a beer that highlighted local cherry flavors, we went all out.” That meant a full day of slashing open sticky bags of cherries and digging in with no holds barred. In a similar situation, she disclosed that she would simply bring in an old knife and toss it when she was through and it was sticky beyond repair.
“After fruit days like that, and hours spent cleaning foam off of lines, Field Strip is great. It’s nice to get my knife back to working regularly without having to completely dismantle it,” she explains, as she fiddles with the rear release wheel. That’s not to mention the grain, hops, and myriad brewery grime that converge to coat the insides of her pockets. When we asked her about her regular maintenance routine using Field Strip, she simply grinned and pulled a handful of miscellaneous grains out of her pocket.