Brewing beer is not all pouring pints and catching up with the locals. It's back breaking work. It's lifting grain bags, waking up at the crack of dawn, handling boiling water, and potentially exposing skin to caustic cleaning chemicals.
This week I hung out with Ben Lovell, the head brewer and founder of our local brewery aptly named North Haven Brewing Co. I talked to Ben because for years he has worked a number of manual labor jobs on the island and his hands have taken a beating.
His dry skin cracks then bleeds causing him excruciating pain. And only recently has Ben found a product that really works for him --- our Floral Body Oil. He swears by it.
So I pulled him away from his brew day (they’re brewing a batch of the Highliner Pale Ale) to ask him a few questions about his skin and what it’s like to live + own a business on North Haven!
Tell me about you skin history?
Well I’ve always been abusive to my skin in the fact that most of my jobs are pretty demanding especially on my hands. They’re either outside in rough weather cutting wood in the winter and lobstering in the fall or they’re inside of gloves in a steamy hot brewery environment. When I used to lobster full time, I was constantly using my hands and bounding them. I’ve been really rough on my hands.
So what does that look like?
Usually they get really dry, crack and bleed. It’s super uncomfortable and I have a hard time keeping any sort of moisture in.
What skincare routines have you had in the past and what has worked for you?
Really all...I’ve gone through just about every different type of skin moisturizer and it’s been really really hard. I find all these mass market ones and they say they’re not oily or they’re for super sensitive skin but they never really work that well. I use Floral Body Oil now and that’s really is a good way to put some moisture back in especially at the end of the day. And I don’t have to apply it as much either, with a lot of those other ones I had to constantly be applying it. With this, that moisture stays in there which is nice.
What is your favorite self care practice?
Does drinking rye whiskey count?? At the end of the day, especially in the winter time, starting a wood stove, sitting down with some rye whiskey and just putting my feet up is the best.
Where is your favorite place on the island?
There are a lot of them. It depends on the season and my mood. I love the very tip of Crabtree Point. I love all of the North Shore, especially sunsets from early spring to late fall and there’s this one really nice conservation partners trail that goes through a birch stand which you don’t see a lot of out here.
Name your jobs!
Ice Cream Scooper, Road Crew, Gravedigger, Lobster Fisherman, Teacher, Bartender, Wood Cutter and Brewer.
What made you want to start an island business?
Well, because first of all why not? I live out here so I might as well start my business out here. But I think there’s also a cool entrepreneurial spirit on North Haven and the fact that it’s such a small community with so few existing businesses, anyone can really get a free shot at trying whatever it is they want to try in whatever industry they want to try it in without a lot of other competition. And when the end result is beer...it’s great!
Want to learn more about our own North Haven Brewery? Check them out at northhavenbrewing.com.