Today we examine the craft style phenomenon which seems to be highly divisive, Hazy or New England IPAs. You either love ’em or hate ’em!
We assembled a panel of local expert brewers from the Chicagoland area who join Phil ‘The Brit’ Clark to examine this relatively new style. They include my co-host Chuck Fort, Sr. Brewing Consultant at Church Street Brewing, head brewer Eric Bramwell from Riverlands Brewing, and Steve Kamp from Evil Horse Brewing.
We dive into what the style is, the differences between NEIPA and West Coast IPAs, what hops are used, how the boil process goes, and we even talk about hop and pint pricing and how the costs are rising these days, and also if you should add lactose or not. All this and more as The Brit gets educated in an effort to get a better appreciation for the style.
We begin a new series of podcasts where we try to delve a little deeper into the business of craft beer. We want to go Behind the Pint. To kick us off, we’re asking if Craft Beer is really just beer, or if it’s a marketing ploy that has exploded into an industry.
We have three local Chicago industry experts, 2 brewers and one craft beer guru, on hand to pass opinions and talk about the topic in general. First up is my co-host for this episode. brewmaster at Hopvine Brewing in Aurora IL, Ken McMullen. Supporting the brewing side is owner/brewer Chris Valleau from Forest Park’s Exit Strategy Brewing. And finally, beer consultant, educator and writer, and international beer judge, Marty Nachel who helps provide the bridge between the brewers and the consumer. Phil ‘The Brit’ Clark asks the questions, and of course we all have something good to drink while we chat, which we list below.
What’s the final verdict on ‘craft beer’ – listen in and find out! Cheers!!
What We Are Drinking:
The Brit – Orenda Vol 2, Orenda – Volume 2 (Grape Brandy 2017-2021), 11.0% ABV, Pollyanna Brewing
Ken – Double BBA Vlad the Second Mexican Chocolate, Russian Imperial Stout, 14.1% ABV, Hailstorm Brewing
Chris – Corazón, Mexican hot chocolate-inspired Milk Stout, 7.2% ABV, Exit Strategy Brewing
Back in February, owner Lisa Gregor from Church Street Brewing Company gave The Brit a call and asked “Wanna stop by?” Alas, for several reasons he couldn’t be there in person but he asked co-host Chuck Fort to man the smartphone camera and we did a Zoom video call!
It’s not as great as we hoped, but we think it gives you a flavor for the fun day these brewing industry stars had. Thanks to the Leadership Squad of PBS for chatting with us, and the resulting brew was a pale ale called Cosmic Nunchucks. It was released in March and there may still be a few cans at local breweries as we publish this page.
I’ve included below the review we did of it with The Midwest Brew Review team. Cheers!
In this edition, my co-host Chuck Fort (Church Street Brewing) and The Brit welcome a 2021 GABF Gold Medal winner and someone who is intensely passionate about his craft. Matt Manthe is the brewer behind Odd Breed Ales, a small brewery in Pompano Beach FL, who is making quite a mark in the arena of wild and farmhouse ales using a unique mixed culture of wild yeast and bacteria, and aged them in oak barrels. His success at GABF came in the Mixed-Culture Brett Beer category, and Matt tells us all about how he comes to be able to make such fantastic brews. Also joining us is return guest and chum of the podcast, Kevin Abbott, who is Director of Operations for Barrel of Monks Brewing in Boca Raton FL. BoM is the partner brewery to Odd Breed and he tells us how the relationship came into being and the many benefits it brings both parties.
This is an in-depth podcast which should appeal to home and professional brewers as well as the craft beer drinker who wants to understand more about this side of the industry.
Want to know what a puncheon is? Want to hear Matt’s thoughts on how to store the bottles in your cellar? Does the water quality affect the type of beers Matt makes? These and many more questions are answered here.
It was recorded via Zoom and Matt’s connection sometimes suffers from connection ‘blips’, so please forgive those few seconds, as this is a great opportunity to hear from an expert who has a passion for working with wild yeast and barrels. Alas, distribution has not reached Illinois yet (any out there who want to jump in, please contact Matt and Kevin!), but listen for Matt hinting about possibly entering a brew into this years FOBAB…we can only hope!
If you liked this edition, we are hoping to get Matt back on for more insight, so please send us your comments, emails and questions, and we’ll work on a better mic and connection for Matt!! Cheers!