The BrewDeck Podcast
Summary: We'll be focusing on a myriad of topics to help Inspire Your Craft. We have a line up of special guests that we're pulling out of the woodwork across the globe to discuss everything brewing and distilling. We'll cover topics from selecting and sourcing raw materials for production to innovative new trends and products; you won't want to miss an episode. So mark your calendars, grab your favorite craft beer or spirit, and join us for some inspiration - Cheers!
Our guests weigh in on the essential attribute of pilsner malt, their favorite pilsner malt, hop, and, in their opinion, a pilsner malt all brewers out there should try! Each of our guests dives deep into these questions, giving advice on many different malts and hops on their radars, some of which are household favorites, and others a little more niched! They also sign off with some of the most exciting beers coming out of their breweries, so for all this and more today, be sure to tune in!
For breweries of a specific size, the question of silos will arise at some point or another. To help us get to grips with this critical yet intensive and expensive step, we are joined by Jack Paulson from Newleaf Equipment Solutions to share the vast amount of wisdom that he has gained from over two decades in the industry. Jack takes us through some of that journey, looking back at landmark moments for himself and the culture, before diving into some specifics related to the choice to upgrade to a silo and the options available. We get into the size of different silos, materials used, and some of the features that Jack recommends to his customers regularly. He then comments on some potential hurdles encountered when installing a silo, highlighting the challenges posed in smaller counties where municipalities are not accustomed to brewery-specific silos. Listeners can expect an extremely comprehensive look at when to think about taking a step up, with particular attention given to the time and money involved in this regard. So for anyone who is considering this down the road, make sure to give this great episode an ear!
Maintaining a high standard of cleanliness is essential to brewing beer, and many brewers could produce a better product by taking sterilization more seriously. Today we have Dana Johnson and George Allen from Birko on the show to share their expertise on best practices for sterilization in the brewing lifecycle. Dana is Technical Director of Craft Brewing and Distilling at Birko, and George is the Business Development Director for Brewing and Distilling at the same firm. Our conversation starts with George and Dana giving listeners a window into their different careers the how they got to occupy their current roles at Birko. We then take a deep dive into brewing hygiene's technicalities, talking about the other chemicals and processes for cleaning tanks, cans, heat exchangers, lines, and more. On the subject of passivation, George and Dana weigh in on techniques old and new and share their thoughts on the best method to use, especially considering the lower grade stainless that many brewers have to work with nowadays. George and Dana talk about using different acids, caustics, and surfactants in the cleaning process. They share their views on temperature and dose, how to best apply them under which conditions, and how flavor, longevity, and more will be affected depending on the choices brewers make in this regard. We explore some common mistakes smaller-scale breweries make and what they should consider as they transition into professional ones. So, for an expert briefing on keeping things clean no matter your process or scale, be sure to tune in today!
Dextrin malts are specially made to boost your beer’s body, taste and mouthfeel. To dive into the secrets of brewing with these malts, we’re joined by Mike Heinrich, Sales Manager at Great Western Malting, local expert Bob Hansen of Briess Malt & Ingredients Co, along with Dirk Schneider and Tom Lembrick of BESTMALZ in Germany. We open our conversation with Mike, talking about Great Western Maltings Dextra Pils malt and then get right into the scientific details of what makes dextrin malts special. We follow that up with Bob, chatting about his brewing history. He then unpacks what dextrin malts are before sharing what Briess’s Carapils malt adds to the brewing process. While reflecting on why their malt is so unique, Bob untangles the differences between malt types. After talking about the history of two and six-row barley growing in the US, Bob opens up about the beers he’s drinking and why brewers should explore making lower-alcohol beers. From Briess, we jump to BESTMALZ in the Rheinhessen, Germany’s wine and beer heartland. As BESTMALZ’s quality assurance experts, Dirk and Tom reveal how brewers use their dextrin malts. They discuss the features of their Caramel Pils, why it’s distinct from crystal malts, and why they only use two-row barley. They also share their insights on how Germany regulates beer, which brews dominate the German market, and how brewers should approach chit malt. Tune in to hear more insider information on brewing with dextrin malts.
The highest quality beer can only be made when there is a connection between farmers and brewers. Today we talk about the importance of this connection while also hearing insights into hops growing and beer brewing from today’s guests; Yakima Chief Ranches CEO Jason Perrault and supply chain ‘hoperations’ manager Joe Catron, and Bale Break Brewery co-owners Kevin Smith and Kevin Quinn. We open our conversation by asking Jason how hops brewing has changed over the decades. After discussing Yakima Chief Ranches' focus on improving the quality of every link in their supply chain, we explore Bale Breaker Brewerys' origins. We then unpack the mad science that goes into hop breeding and why consistency and not the effects of terroir are valued in brewing. Later, we chat about why “the best fertilizer is a farmer's footprints in the field,” highlighting the need for growers and brewers to nurture their relationships. We round off our discussion by touching on why contracting hops is so vital in stabilizing the market, why new hops varieties tend to have funky names, and which hop combinations our guests most prefer. In this episode, we share insider information that’s been brewed over four generations of hops farming. Join us to hear from some of the top growers and brewers in the Yakima Valley.
Today we welcome Eddie Douglas onto the show to talk about the new Sassy varietal known as Malt 2.0. As the commercial director for Bairds Malt, Eddie comes with a wealth of knowledge and shares a variety of details on what makes Bairds’ barley so sensational. He tells us how care is taken from the very beginning of the barley’s life cycle, starting from the seed to its germination and beyond. The Sassy varietal itself came through demonstration plots in Scotland, which was a good testing ground where it proved itself to handle the tough climate. Big, bold, and generating good agronomic yields, the plump kernel has now become the varietal of choice for distillers and malters alike. Eddie talks to us about how he managed to get so many farmers hooked on Sassy and why it competes so well against other crops like wheat. Eddie puts this down to a few attributes, some of which include its fine quality, consistency, and overall value. To find out about the origins of Malt 2.0 and how it’s going to meet the needs of next-generation brewers. Later, we are joined by Bryce, Master Distiller and Operations Manager at Last Best Brewing and Distilling in Calgary, Alberta for The Whirlpool portion of the episode. All this and more, so make sure to tune in today!
Today we sit with Tim Matthews of CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective (Oskar Blues, Cigar City, Deep Ellum, Perrin, Squatters, Three Weavers, and Wasatch) and Ira Leibtag, founder of Cholaca. Tim and Ira teamed up to successfully create a tasty, refreshing beer with the addition of cacao, and later, coconut. To kick things off, Tim shares the origin story of the pair’s success. Sitting in a coffee shop, Tim noticed a sign for “Cholaca.” Curious, he sent an email to this mystery company, and an hour or so later, he received an email back. The rest is history, and Tim and Ira have been mastering cacao-infused beer ever since. In the show, we find out how, out of all the brewers who’ve tried this before, Tim and Ira managed to master it. The two touch on the process, cacao quality, and why they’ll always use liquid coconut over nibs and disks. Later, Ira shares Cholaca’s story and how his business is structured around rejuvenation. We also hear about liquid coconut as Tim and Ira talk about the effects it has on beers and their similarities and differences to Cholaca. Thirsty yet? Be sure to tune in with us to find out more! Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode: Toby Tucker on LinkedIn The BrewDeck Podcast Tim Matthews on LinkedIn CANarchy Oscar Blues Cigar City Ira Leibtag on LinkedIn Cholaca Shamrock Brewing Denver Beer Co Barking Dog Coffee shop
Today we sit with James Loughran from Loughran Family Malts to talk about the art of farming and preparing barley. According to some, this cornerstone ingredient of craft beer takes a tremendous amount of care, planning, and even magic. We open the show by asking James about the challenges and rewards of farming this important grain. After learning about the finer nuances of the grain’s journey, James walks us through the history of his family’s farm, sharing stories about its evolution. James continues by explaining why the Irish climate is especially favorable to his farm and touches on harvesting months, frosty nights, and, of course, Irish mythology and local legend. Moving in tandem with the crop cycle, we move onto the next phase, the post-harvest. We ask James to elaborate on his kilning methods. He talks about the Texan barbeque approach and shares why “low and slow” is beneficial to the process. As our conversation brews, James takes a few moments to tell us about his favorite beer stories. He shares anecdotes about drinking in the US, and the number of pints helps him reach equilibrium. In the second half of the show, we introduce our surprise guest, Brian Roth of Southern Brewing. He tells us why Irish barley is preferable to work with and what makes Loughran malt so special. To hear more from Brian on the topic, be sure to join us today!
With the ability to complement nearly every style of beer, crafting with fruit is how top breweries are creating some of their most innovative brews. Today we speak with Oregon Fruit Products Director of Brewing Sales Chris Hodge about the benefits of putting fruit in your beer. After host Toby Tucker opens the show with a fruit medley of low-hanging puns, we explore Chris’s history in the brewing industry. We chat about getting over the fear of using fruit in your beers and Chris gives listeners insight into how fruit can fit with abundant beer styles. Near the end of this episode, Chris draws from his 34-years of experience in beer to talk about his favorite beer style. Following our conversation with Chris Hodge of Oregon Fruit Products, we jump into the practical side of brewing with fruit by chatting to Gary Sernack, head brewer and owner of Bhramari Brewing. After a tasty digression on smoking meat, we talk about Gary’s approach to brewing. He shares insights into how he brews with fruit, the setup he uses to develop new beers, why he’ll never ship unfermented fruit beer, and how people are drawn to colorful beer. Later we ask Gary about his infamous but great tasting pizza beer. As Gary explains, “it’s not about making whacky beer. It has to taste good or it’s not worth serving.” We wrap up the episode with Gary opening up about the brewing companies that he would most like to collaborate with. Tune in for more on Gary — and to learn if he really put whole pizzas into his brew.
Non-alcoholic beer is certainly having its moment in the U.S. The Dry January and “sober-curious” movements have piqued many people’s curiosity about non-alcoholic beer. Athletic Brewing Company is a leader in this segment of the market. John Walker, the company’s co-founder and head brewer joins us to shed light on the business and non-alcoholic beer generally. We kick off by hearing about his transition from Second Street Brewery to Athletic Brewing and the world of non-alcoholic beers. We find out about his homebrewing adventures and the many batches it took to get a market-ready product. John then talks about Athletic Brewing’s culture and why it needed to go beyond convention branding. From there, we touch on the technical side of non-alcoholic brewing, diving into dry hopping and malts. As the conversation continues, John talks about some of the challenges and opportunities that come with being in the non-alcoholic market, how supply chain disruptions have affected them, and the food safety regulations specific to non-alcoholic beers. We wrap up by looking at the award that has meant the most to John and the people who have helped him along the way.
Brewing great beer requires a combination of creativity and science, and a brewer’s dance with yeast is one of the most important parts of the entire process. Today we speak with three experts in the field and discuss the intricacies of working with yeast. After introducing our guests and hearing about their backgrounds, we open the show by taking a look at yeast’s two main forms — dry and liquid. Exploring further, our guests tell us about the difference between the two, their qualities, and shelf life to name a few. We then hear about the common misconceptions of fermentation and propagation, learning their differences as we go. Talking about the process of propagation, we touch on topics including why labs have the best output, performing quality control tests, and how sugar impacts your brew. In the latter half of the episode, we turn our focus toward working with new yeast strains, before looking at a modified, hybrid, and blended yeast, and gathering the opinions from each of our guests. Before we put a cap on the show, Pablo, Eric, and Marcelo share a catalog of tips for new brewers and veterans alike, with advice for best lab practice as a finishing touch. Be sure to tune in with us today!
The holidays are around the corner and it’s getting cold in Texas, but on this episode of The BrewDeck, things warm up nicely in this interview Toby Tucker has with Bart Whipple. Bart is the assistant brewmaster and supply manager at the one and only Sierra Nevada, and has been involved in the legendary brewery for 36 years. Having transitioned from the brewery operations to the raw ingredients side of the business, Bart takes the lead when it comes to sourcing new malts and presenting it to the brewers. He talks about his “bloodhound” ability to smell and taste a good quality malt when it is still in the railcar, describes their formal and informal processes for checking the quality before accepting a load, and shares his take on how the consistency and quality of malt in the US have changed in the last 40 years. Joining in today, listeners will also hear the two chat about Sierra Nevadas’s sustainability efforts, their recent community outreach programs, and what beer lovers can expect in terms of upcoming trends.
SOME OF THE TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE: James talks about their approach to producing malt and the UK’s ideal climate for barley. The tendency of American breweries to use different malts at the cost of defining their brand. James reveals his favorite part about doing business with American brewers. What John did to land the job as head brewer at The Vermont Pub & Brewery in 1995. The particular characteristics of Fawcett’s Pearl malt that makes it John’s obvious favorite. The different experiences of drinking the same number of beers in the US versus the UK. The guests consider whether it is possible to make a terrible beer from the best ingredients
SOME OF THE TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE: Sara talks about what drew her into the brewery scene and starting a Brewing Science club at the University of California, San Diego. She also talks about the story of how Origin Malt started and the unique barley they use for their malt. Chris talks about how using Origin Malt gives Rhinegeist’s witbier, Whiffle the distinctive character and flavor
SOME OF THE TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE: Teri discusses her history with beer and fascination with fermentation at a young age, ranging from the science of bread baking to the development of new kinds of malt. The journey of The Road Brewer, and how she found herself connecting with women brewers across the country, eventually leading to the founding of the Pink Boots Society. Pushing for new innovation with different ways of malting in the Malt Innovation Center. Toby Tucker gets Country Malt Group’s very own John Egan to talk about how past brewing experiments transformed into biofuel.