White Labs is pretty much the nerdiest brewery we have ever been to. With one wall showcasing the DNA of two different yeast strains allowing customers to view the similarities and differences between the two. The tasting room is absolutely gorgeous with one wall dedicated to the history and science behind yeast and what White Labs is all about. Light fixtures and chandeliers made up of beaker flasks light up the bar with their 32 tap handles made of tester tubes, staying true to their love of science. We quickly grabbed a pint with Erika and sat down to discuss her awesomeness and learn more about what White Labs is all about.
Erika has been working as an analytical lab tech for about a year now, and spends her days analyzing beer, wine, spirits and kombucha. Performing quality control for beers sent in from all around the world, for example one of her tasks includes assessing what has infected a certain beverage and informing customers of ways to prevent future issues.
Erika is originally from New Jersey with a degree in Chemistry from Alfred University in Alfred, NY. Originally wanting to get into the wine industry, Erika switched gears when her friend Jake of Intergalactic Brewing Company introduced her to Alex Van Horne, owner of Intergalactic. Erika assisted in brewery operations as well as beer-tending in the stellar Mira Mar brewery. Van Horne introduced Erika to the UCSD beer extension program. Through this program Erika was able to get an internship at Stone Brewing Company where she worked in what feels like every area possible, from the brewhouse to the cellar, lab and packaging. Erika’s passion for science and beer is what lead her to apply at White Labs. She is able to apply her scientific background in an environment dedicated to both creating delicious beer and helping others practice what they love.
We got to sneak a peak into the Analytical Services lab and were awestruck by all the equipment used in testing quality control of the beer. Erika explained what most of the equipment was used for, which we wish our beer-soaked mind could recall, but it was impressive none the less! Erika informed us that one of their services at White Labs is finding out how a beer got infected and how to fix said problem! This service goes out to breweries as well as home-brewers, insuring that good beer is produced for all to enjoy. Another service that we were informed of is yeast banking, if you stumble upon a certain yeast strain that you particularly like White Labs will freeze and store it for you so that you can go back and retrieve your yeast for future beers! Like having little yeast children waiting to grow up into beer and get in our bellies!
If you have yet to check out White Labs we highly suggest you make the trip down! Great beer and an amazing atmosphere make for a good time in our book.