Running a brewpub isn’t easy- it’s a lot of work, a lot of sweat and the occasional tears.
There are a lot of good, earnest people working behind the scenes, who put in a great deal of effort, round-the-clock, to ensure that everything you love about Toit stays that way.
And these people are none other than our never-tiring, ever-inspiring staff.
Our very own Toit Army- a battalion dedicated to the cause of good beer!
He started out as our senior bartender, but now handles just one kind of drink—our precious brews. Say hello to Assistant Brewer, Manu.
When did you join Toit?
I joined in 2011, June 1st.
And what were you doing before that?
I was working as a senior bartender. I was also freelancing. We used to do big marriage functions as well. One of the weddings I bartended at was Vivek Oberoi’s. That was a big event.
Then I joined Toit. Because freelance work you only get once in a while. In a month, we used to work for 7 days or so. Not 30 days. That money wasn’t sufficient, so I came here.
My friend Jeffin (our other senior assistant brewer) was working here and he recommended that I come and join here.
Because freelance work you only get once in a while. That money wasn’t sufficient…
There was a vacancy at that time, and I joined as a senior bartender. After that, I got promoted to Bar Supervisor. There was a vacancy in the brewery after that, so I went and asked the Management. They said ok, and that they will give me the training for it.
So I used to come here at 7:30 am in the morning, used to finish brewing by 3:30 pm, and then I’d go for a 3-4 hour break and come back and work as bartender till the night.
I was doing half and half because it was a training period for the brewery. I did this for 6 months, after which they made me give some exams, which I passed. Then I permanently moved into the brewery and they promoted me as Assistant Brewer.
How has the shift been? Which is more hectic?
Working at the brewery is more hectic than working at the bar. Because everyday we need to work. This is a science, so we need to work both physically and mentally.
We need to take care of a lot of details, so more concentration is also required.
Brewing is happening, but along with that a lot of other things like cleaning and all also happens at the same time. So we need to manage all that also.
Once we get to Toit, we don’t take any rest. Only when we leave, do we rest.
Do you enjoy it?
Yes! I get to work with my colleagues also, and we have fun.
Because we don’t take rest, we don’t know how time passes.
This is a science, so we need to work both physically and mentally.
Can you describe a typical work day?
We come here at 7:30 am, and start writing whatever we need to do for the day.
A checklist is there, so we will write one by one. We need to check the gravity, which beer is ready, test the beers, test the water, then we flush the lines and then we start brewing.
According to the brew-sheet, we will brew those particular beers for the day.
There is a cold room, so we sanitise that and transfer the beer to the serving tanks. Then we start cleaning. This will go on till 3:30 pm. After that, we transfer the wort into the fermentation tank and then go for lunch.
We don’t look at the time.
Then housekeeping comes to clean, so we guide them, with which kinds of acids and chemicals to use.
So we’re here till 5:30 pm normally. Sometimes, when needed we stay back to handle other work. So there is no fixed timing like that. We don’t look at the time. We come at 7:30 in the morning, but we leave sometimes early, sometimes late.
What are the most important things an assistant brewer should keep in mind?
We need to check if malt is available. If it gets over, we need to order it. And have a weekly plan. Same for the hops also. We need to check the yeast, as well.
Main thing is cleaning—each and every part of the brewery needs to be clean. It cannot be dirty. Sometimes I clean, sometimes I guide the others on how to clean. So, we need to look at all the things.
What is best and worst thing about your job then?
I can say that in one word only—brewing. Brewing is nice only, but sometimes brewing is the worst.
Because, it involves a lot of physical work also. Everything good and bad is brewing.
Which beers are the most popular at Toit?
Actually, Indian people like light beers. People are of course aware of the rest of the beers like IPAs and Irish Reds.
But Tint-In-Wit and Toit Hefeweizen get over fast.
We have a cycling process to handle that. One will be on tap, and then fermentation is also happening on the side. Once that happens, we start brewing the next batch.
…each and every part of the brewery needs to be clean. It cannot be dirty.
Everyday we do our regular six beers, one every day of the week. And monthly once we have our seasonal beers also. It’s nice!
Which is your favourite special beer?
I like the Double IPA. We did that long back, a bitter one, with a nice dry, hoppy mouthfeel. I really like that. From the regular beers, Toit Red is my favourite.
One more thing I do, sometimes when I finish early and go home, I’ll come in the evening as a guest and have some of the beers, with a couple of starters. We need to know what we make! Whether it’s perfect or not perfect.
We taste it otherwise also, everyday. Only once we’re satisfied it goes on tap.
On your off days, what do you like doing?
I like to cook on my off-days. I like to make Chinese food and also cuisine from my hometown, Kerala. I also wash all my clothes on my off-day. Jeffin and I stay together.
In the night, we will be relaxing and having a couple of beers, and talking about Toit only.
I also go to church on my off-day, and if any movies are playing, I go watch with my friends.
In the evening, I sometimes go to some nice bars and try their beers. Especially if there is a new property, we go try the beers there.
Do you have any hobbies apart from cooking?
Travelling is another hobby I have.
Which place did you travel to most recently?
Recently, I went to Sri Lanka! I liked it.
We went to Kandy and Colombo. Arun sir suggested some places for me to go to. Jeffin and I went, along with two other friends.
We’re planning to go to Germany also, for the Oktoberfest. We plan so that we can do one trip abroad yearly.
But another property is also opening and we’ll be very busy, so we need to see and plan when we can go.
We’re planning to go to Germany also, for the Oktoberfest.
Do you miss Kerala?
Yes. But I go there monthly once or twice because my kid, and my family, is there.
What is it like working with Matt? Do you really understand what he’s saying?
Ah! Yeah, he speaks very softly. But I ask him to repeat it one more time if I don’t understand.
And if you still don’t understand?
He’ll smile. I’ll also smile. *laughs*
Whatever he says, I ask him to repeat it one more time. I’ll get one word from that, and I’ll make it into a sentence. If I can get one word, then I can understand what he is saying.
What’s he like to work with?
He’s very nice. He has a lot of experience, because he has been working in so many countries for so many years as a brewer.
I have experience only in Toit, so I’ll ask him about my doubts and he will explain everything to me. I keep on learning from him.
Tell us a secret about Matt.
When he’s stressed, he smokes.
Finally, it’s been 6 years here now. How has it been?
It’s been a good experience.
The management is very friendly, so whatever issues we might have, we can go and tell them directly. There is no wall or anything. We can talk directly.
When he’s stressed, he smokes.
They are behind us, backing us for whatever we need.
I’ve worked in other places also, but maximum for a year and a half. This property, I have been working for more than 6 years. Because you don’t find management like this anywhere else. That’s why I’m here.