The short version: What's the best way to go about contacting a brewery to offer myself as free labor in the brewery for a week or a month, in exchange for simply being there and learning more about how a brewery is run?
The long version: I'm employed full time in the software industry, but I'm contemplating a change in career. I enjoy beer and brewing and they say you should do what you love. I'm nowhere near ready to go pro, but maybe ready to apply to a fermentation science program and go the academic route.
But I want to know what working in a brewery is really like. My job affords me a lengthy vacation, during which time I'd like to offer myself to a local brewery (I'm in Seattle, so there are plenty to pick from) as free labor for a week or a month. Maybe multiple weeks at different breweries, if they'll have me. In exchange, all I ask is that I be allowed to observe and ask questions about the brewing process. Consider it an internship.
How do you think a brewery would react to this offer? Would they be likely to take it? Who would be the best person to contact? The head brewer or HR or the owner?
I realize that the obvious answer here is just to go ask some breweries. No penalty for trying, eh? Problem is that I'm a bit of the shy type. Introverted, maybe. I have a hard time striking up conversations with strangers. In person, anyway; I've got no problem spilling my heart out to all you folks on an Internet forum.
So the idea of waltzing into a brewery and trying to get the attention of one of the proprietors and pitch them my idea is scary to me. I'd like to prepare myself with a good approach and a good pitch, hence a little asking about on the ol' Internets.
Your opinion desired.