Written by Bradley, our head brewer
Change is inevitable. Whether it be the seasons or your new favorite restaurant (Petite Leon) or favorite Fall seasonal beer (Fresh Hop). For me when I was first starting in this industry 14 years ago (f*ck, I’m old) the ingredient I was most obsessed with were hops of course. Yes, it helped to work at a brewery that brewed award-winning IPA as well as many other styles. The fact that some of the best hops in the world were grown in our back yard no doubt also played into that. Driving out to Yakima and seeing the vast acres of hop fields made it more tangible. You walk the fields with the growers and get a sense of the terroir and all the hard work that goes into cultivating these amazing flowers.
I’m still fascinated with hops and all the new varieties that continue to become available to brewers around the world. But like I mentioned at the beginning change is inevitable. Currently, my focus has shifted over the past 3 to 4 years to yeast. The most mysterious (in my opinion) of the four main ingredients in beer. At one point it was referred to as “God is good”. Before microscopes, we were in the dark so to speak as to how fermentation occurred or did not occur.
History lesson aside, today yeast labs all over the world are pushing the envelope as to what flavor profiles can be achieved using yeast. There are some exciting new “designer yeasts” available to brewers and others still in the developmental phase. Currently, we are utilizing one of these “designer yeasts” to create sour beers in primary fermentation. No more kettle souring for this guy. The more research I come across, the more I’m finding out that soon brewers will have the option to create juicy tropical Hazy Bois using a fraction of the hops we are currently throwing at these beers. Imagine selecting a yeast or blending yeasts to achieve these types of flavor profiles and increasing your yields while keeping your costs down. No more $25.00 4-packs? Well, one can hope.
Another game-changer new to the scene in the USA is kveik. Who knew you could brew pseudo lagers in 10 days versus 10 weeks! These yeasts have a remarkable story behind them. If you want to know more about that I recommend Larsblog. He is a wealth of information on Norwegian Farmhouse, Sahti, and raw ale to name a few. Thanks to his research and willingness to do the hard work in sourcing these yeasts from small villages in Norway, Finland, and Lithuania and sending them to Labs for analysis we as brewers now have more tools at our disposal. At Dual Citizen we have brewed with three different kveik strains. All were unique, flavorful, and cut fermentation time in half. How’s that for increasing production. This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what yeasts are available to brewers today. These are just a few examples as to why Yeast is my newest favorite ingredient to research and apply to the brewhouse. I look forward to bringing these beers to you. I only hope you are as excited as I am.