Van Havig started brewing in 1995 at Minnesota Brewing Company. He then worked for Rock Bottom Breweries for 16 years in Minneapolis, Bethesda, Md and Portland. In 2012 he started Gigantic Brewing Company with Ben Love, where he now gets to say whatever he wants. Van is a former board member and past president of the Oregon Brewers Guild, currently is the scholarship chair for the Hop Quality Group, and is recipient of the MBAA Inge Russel Award. He likes cars, dogs and robots as well as beer.
Dan Cooper has worked in the malting and brewing industry for over twenty years. With a degree and Ph.D. in brewing science from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh he has held various production, technical and quality positions with a number of maltsters in the UK and Europe. He is currently a key account manager for Brewers Select part of Bairds Malt.
SEASON 3, EPISODE 6: FIFTY SHADES OF PALE
GRANT LAWRENCE – TERRITORY MANAGER, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
ZACH GROSSFELD – SALES REPRESENTATIVE, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
JOHN EGAN – TERRITORY MANAGER, COUNTRY MALT GROUP
VAN HAVIG – CO-OWNER AND MASTER BREWER, GIGANTIC BREWING COMPANY
DAN COOPER – KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER, BAIRDS MALT
Key Points From This Episode:
- Why some brewers still enjoy using pale ale malt, but sales have slowed down.
- Pilsner vs. Lager: Why you need the right tools and ingredients to make the right beer.
- Why brewers are pressured to blend in lighter malts as pale ale market shifts.
- Perspective on Problems: How years of experience and methodology make better brewers.
- How color, flavor, and alcohol content are influencers for beer balance.
Transcript - Fifty Shades of Pale
EPISODE S.3, E.6
[FIFTY SHADES OF PALE]
[00:00:00] GL: All right, we are back with another episode of The BrewDeck, this time talking all things pale ale malt. Kind of looking for brewers out there that enjoy using it. Sadly, general sales on Pale Ale Malt are just slowing down over the years, and I think that’s a big mistake.
I’m your host, Grant Lawrence. I wanted to do this episode all about pale ale malt. I’ve got my co-worker, Zach Grossfeld, with me today, representing the Pacific Northwest.
[00:00:32] ZG: Hey, how’s it going?
[00:00:34] GL: Our first guest today we have Van Havig from Gigantic Brewing in Portland.
[00:00:42] VH: How are you, guys?
[00:00:43] GL: We are doing good. It’s raining cats and dogs here in Texas. It’s just a complete thunderstorm. I hope you don’t overhear that in the audio. It’s bad out there.
[00:00:56] VH: Yeah, we’re just having a typical Oregon day. Just being sort of a constant drizzle, and it’d be far colder than it should be.
[00:01:05] ZG: Standard March day.
[00:01:09] GL: Standard March day. Awesome. Let’s get going. I guess I already gave it away. Our first guest of the day talking pale ale malt; who are you, which brewery are you at, and where is it located?
[00:01:20] VH: My name is Van Havig. I am the master brewer and one of the owners at Gigantic Brewing Company in beautiful Portland, Oregon.
[00:01:30] GL: All right. Van, can you give us a little bit of a brief background on pale ale malt usage at your brewery?
[00:01:36] VH: Man, I’ve been brewing for a long time. I started brewing in 1995. I remember when Great Western first started having commonly available what we call Northwest pale ale malt, or I will call Blue, for everyone who isn’t as old as I am out there. The pale ale malt bags used to be printed with blue ink, whereas the two-row bags were printed with black ink.
When you have a bunch of assistant brewers, and you keep telling them, just bring them all up in there; they would get confused. We would just start saying, but just put blue. We’re going to use black, or we’re going to use blue. Now there’s an organic malt that was green. Still to this day, I call that malt blue. Everyone at this brewery calls it blue.
[00:02:24] ZG: I like that color-coding system. We should go back to that.
[00:02:28] VH: Yeah, it was great. It worked out great. It avoids confusion. It Sounds ridiculous because, as brewers, we shouldn’t, but we have a lot of loose and free language. We will use barley and malt interchangeably, and they’re, of course, not the same thing. We will use base malt to refer to anything. We will say pale malt, meaning any malt that isn’t roasted or high dry. That’s pretty bad.
[00:03:02] GL: Yeah. All very good points and things that can get confusing sometimes, especially when people are ordering malt from you.
[00:03:10] VH: Yeah. That’s why it used to be great to be like, no, I’m talking about the blue bags, and everyone would be like, oh, yeah, we know you’re talking about. Blue, got it. I remember when that malt came out, at least when it came out nationally. I was talking to Karl Ockert just the other day, and he was telling me that that malt was originally made for Bridgeport. I don’t know what year that was, but I’m assuming it would have been probably sometime in the late ’80s or early ’90s. We were able to get it nationally or right about ’94 or ’95, something like that.
It was a revelation because the only malts you could get before that were these domestic […] two-row American large brewery spec malts that were 1.8 Lovibond kind of. Not really a pilsner malt, not an ale malt, because the spec on them is different for protein, fan, diastatic, and everything between those two malts and proper pilsner malts.
Anyway, we were thrilled with this malt because it was a way to get a little bit more color and flavor into your beer without having to pay for British malt. I’m not going to tell anyone that Blue is some kind of perfect substitute for Maris Otter because they’re wildly different. But Blue is a really great base malt that gives you a much better malt backbone than a regular two-row malt would do for literally two-row pale malt. You know what I mean, one of those damn lager malts.
Not that there’s anything wrong with those lager malts, but it’s very confusing why, to me, small American brewers have so many of them moved over. I mean, the very small brewers for whom the cost is less of a concern because the vast majority of the beer is sold direct to consumers, and how many of them have moved over to European pilsner malt to make American hop-forward beers. What are you doing?
I don’t get it because I honestly think the beers are just better with a little bit of malt backbone. There’s no more breadth to the beer, and there’s a little bit more for the hops to play off of. But then again, I guess maybe they just don’t want anything there.
[00:05:45] ZG: Yeah. I found in the last couple of years, more and more questions of brewers wanting almost a blank canvas to display the hops that they’re getting. That’s a new kind of trendy hop. They want no malt to stand in the way, and that’s not the kind of beer I grew up on
[00:06:01] VH: Yeah, it’s confusing to me. It honestly is because you’re like, well, then, why are we working with foreground materials? Why don’t you just make sugar and put hops in it?
[00:06:13] GL: Yeah. You know what, Zach knows this. I am a huge pilsner fanboy for sure. If you make every single beer with the same base malt of just using the pils, then the lines get pretty blurred there. To me, if you’re doing a big double IPA, you really need something like the Northwest Pale Ale malt, like a little bit more to stand up to it and compliment the hops.
[00:06:41] VH: Why are you a pilsner malt fanboy?
[00:06:43] GL: Because I’m a lager fanboy.
[00:06:46] VH: So then you’re not really a pilsner malt fan; you’re a lager fan, right?
[00:06:49] GL: Okay.
[00:06:50] VH: You’re just talking about liking the right tools to make the right beer.
[00:06:54] GL: The right tools, yeah.
[00:06:58] VH: I get it. I may be a little bit pedantic, but I’m trying to get out of the point of the right tool for the right beer, the right ingredient for the right beer.
[00:07:05] GL: Yeah. I think we’re in agreement then.
[00:07:09] VH: Yeah. I would never say that I’m a pilsner malt fanboy. It’s a giant classification mark. I might say I’m a Barke fan; I might say I’m a Maris Otter fan, an Optic fan, or I might say I’m a fan of a particular Maltster.
I’ve been using Great Western. It was my main base malt for 27 years, something like that. It’s definitely a get-it-on-your-podcast. I sound like a […] show. It’s absolutely my favorite domestic maltster. The reason for that is I like the malts that you produce, and I like the flavors they have.
This is going to sound weird, and it’s going to sound like I’m being contradictory, but I’m not. The thing about what Great Western is doing with malt and always has done from all this; is they make a very, very clean malt. Clean doesn’t necessarily mean that it has no flavor. That’s not what I mean.
What I mean is that it doesn’t have any humongo signature. Oh, I can tell what that is. There was a while in the mid-2000s where if somebody gave me a beer made with organic malt, which at the time in this area was heavily based on […] malting, you didn’t even have to tell me I could taste the beer.
It didn’t matter what kind of beer it was. You’re like, oh, it’s organic, isn’t it? Like, how do you know? Because that crap tastes like rutabagas. Sorry, I didn’t mean to bad-mouth another maltster. I just didn’t like their organic malt. But still, maltsters have these flavors that are very noticeable and very strong.
Great Western’s malt has always been kind of right in the dead center target of malt flavor to me. It makes it really easy to build on those flavors. I don’t have to hide anything. It’s a perfect building block. What I like about Blue as malt is that it’s got enough there to be able to build on it, but I also don’t have to.
When we first brewed our IPA, the very first batch of beer, we’ve always tripled that beer. Three […] into one fermenter. That beer was originally probably, 1100 pounds of Blue, and it was a bag of probably 50 Lovibond crystal malt. I honestly can’t remember whose crystal malt it was. Just 5% is in 4%, or whatever.
We literally did one […] with it. We looked at it, and we’re like, oh, […], that’s way too dark. But it was a new brewhouse, it’s a direct fire kettle, and we get a lot of Maillard reactions in it, et cetera. That beer has always been 100% Blue. That’s all it is, but it can get you great malt flavor, malt character just by itself. But if you want to build on it, it’s really easy to do without anything being excessive.
It allows you to have a stepping stone. If you had a very small amount of crystal malt, you get a good increase in color and flavor without being like, oh my Jesus, this tastes like Werther’s candy or whatever excessively crystally bad stuff we used to do back in the ’90s. That’s why I like that one. We base almost everything on it.
[00:10:41] ZG: Have you felt any pressure to either move away from the crystal malts and blend in other lighter malts like we were talking about as the markets shifted, or do you feel really confident and sticking with that pale ale base?
[00:10:56] VH: Okay. I feel 100% confident sticking with that pale ale base. Ben, my business partner, he’s like, oh, okay, for these kinds of beers, can we blend in a third black bag, people, Great Western two-row? We reluctantly do that just to bring the color down a little bit. I think if everyone did the same thing, I don’t know why we would all make beer.
[00:11:23] ZG: I appreciate that, and I take it. As a drinker of a lot of your beer, I appreciate that it is something different. This is the kind of beer that I prefer to drink, something with a little bit more of that malt body and some of that sweetness that comes with it too.
[00:11:39] VH: I don’t think by any stretch it means we’re making these huge malty beers. For crying out loud, we attenuate the living daylights out of our beer. Our IPA is a 15-gravity beer, and it comes down to 2–2.5 at the end.
[00:11:58] GL: That’s something that I’ve noticed newer brewers and stuff. They think about doing a 100% pale ale malt beer. For some reason, they have it in their head that it will be sweet, and it’s like, no, it doesn’t work that way. It’s still going to be dry. It’s still going to be refreshing.
[00:12:17] VH: Do you know how to make beer, for crying out loud? Seriously, do you know what a mash temperature is? Do you know how to choose a yeast strain? Do you know why your yeast strain behaves? For […] sake, grow up and learn a skill.
[00:12:33] GL: Not that I’ve been brewing nearly as long as you have. I’ve only been in the game for like a decade at this point. I have to remind myself sometimes that a lot of breweries have folks that have only really been brewing professionally for two years. The way I think about it is in their mind, they have the last two-year trend on their brain. They don’t really have much knowledge of what happened before then.
[00:12:55] VH: Yeah, they have limited experience, obviously. If anyone’s listening and thinks I’m a snot, I just want to be very clear. I think it takes seven years to become a brewer. That’s just because it takes that amount of time to see all the situations and all the problems to be able to address all the situations and problems that you’re inevitably going to face in this career.
You may be very good at your job in two years, but to me, you’re not ready yet. You just haven’t seen enough problems. If you’ve seen that many problems in two years, then there’s a different issue going on. That said, they have limited experience and they have a limited worldview. You got to go out there and try a bunch of stuff to know.
[00:13:41] GL: Yeah. I think this current situation that brewers are finding themselves in with this relatively challenged 2021 crop of barley, and then now there are some hops shortages. I think this is the kind of stuff where they see a couple of these cycles in their career, and then they’re more ready for it the next time.
[00:14:05] VH: Every younger brewer I know is terrified of what they hear about malt. Scott’s our head brewer. I first started working with Scott in 2001, and he’d been brewing for a few years. We both have 20+ years of experience. We just got in 2021 crop year malt. We looked at the spec sheet, and we’re like, all right, okay, here we go. Let’s do a few things. We’re both like, yield’s down a touch. But when we run it through the brewhouse, everything’s fine. We know how to react.
[00:14:39] GL: Yeah, for sure. It’s obviously yield being down across the board. Wherever you’re getting malt from out of North America, it’s just the case. One thing that blows my mind is I feel like a lot of folks haven’t even noticed it because they’re not tracking it closely enough.
[00:14:53] VH: That they should, though. You should. You see it right away.
[00:14:59] GL: In the scheme of things, though, compared to other challenging malt years where your beta-glucans are off the charts. Honestly, all things said and done, I think the maltsters did a great job with this crop to not have to worry about any of that.
[00:15:14] VH: Yeah. As I said, this first […] has been fine. You’ve got a little bit because proteins are up. It just pushes. If your proteins are higher, you […] much sugar, it’s kind of obvious. But it’s been fine. I think people are going to have problems with it, for sure.
[00:15:34] GL: Everyone’s basically 100% inclusion, really. At this point, I’ve just been telling folks, yeah, it’s not really going to change your beer. This is it at this point.
[00:15:46] VH: No. Why I think that’s shifting is if you put some of the younger brewers with as much experience are worried about it changing the flavor, and they’re like, no. It’s going to change your cost structure, and it’s going to change the length of your day.
[00:16:00] GL: Most importantly, your meal gaps.
[00:16:04] VH: Yeah, just a ton of stuff. Those brewers that don’t have a fully integrated methodology from the mill through to the kettle are going to have problems because that’s just the way it is.
[00:16:21] ZG: Yeah, I really appreciate that kind of change of perspective on it. I’m not thinking about it changing the flavor, but […].
[00:16:32] VH: If it’s not going to change the flavor, it doesn’t.
[00:16:35] ZG: Yeah, but the cost structure and how you’re going to have to approach this malt, I just appreciate that kind of view of it.
[00:16:43] VH: There’s a lot of brewers out there, young and old. Karl Ockert, was the original brewmaster of Bridgeport and was there for a long time. He works today, being in a few other places. He’s been heavily involved in the technical side of MBA and a bunch of stuff. He’s a really smart guy. He’s been around for a long time.
He was just over last week, and we had been chatting for a couple of hours. We were just talking about how there are a lot of brewers out there that don’t really understand that your brewhouse is built for a certain methodology. If you don’t use that methodology, I’m not saying you’re going to, but you potentially have problems.
That’s everything from, do you have a mash kettle? Do you transfer to a lauter tun? Do you have a mash lauter? Do you have rakes in either of those kinds of tanks? All those things are really related in terms of what your grist should look like, what your liquid to grist ratio should be, how you do your mash, and all that stuff. It’s all of a piece.
[00:17:57] ZG: Yeah. Do you feel that your brewing system and equipment really play a big part in the type of beers that you design and produce, or do you feel like you’ve adapted in some ways? I know you’ve been at the same spot for quite some time now. How has that influenced the types of beers that you’ve been producing?
[00:18:17] VH: Okay, our brewhouse I refer to as very much a 19th-century British brewhouse. It is a mash lauter tun with no rakes. We just have a plow that helps us with mash out, and we have a direct fire kettle. That’s it. Its bones basic. I don’t really care what the Deutsche thinks. Those brewing systems have been very successful for a very long time. You just have to do everything right starting in the mill.
I will tell you this. Because our brewhouse is the way it is, we don’t really want to brew traditional pilsner. We don’t really have the right brewhouse. Because we have a mash lauter time, it’s not impossible, but it’s difficult for us to go through a few different saccharification steps, […] say like a proteolytically and then a saccharification step. It’s doable, but it’s not easy.
We have a direct fire kettle, which doesn’t really treat pilsner malt well in terms of making traditional pilsner. You can make a new American pilsner, and it’s fine. The way you use hops is very different from traditional. There’s a bunch of stuff that’s just a little off. It does affect us a little bit. But again, if we all have the same breweries, all have used the same stuff, and make the same beers, what is the point of having breweries? We have our techniques, which are very old, but they’re all of a piece. They all work together.
We use Blue. We have a very coarse grind. We run a very close to 2:1 liquor to grist ratio. We have very thick mash beds, and we float mash beds. We actually have a sparge of water on top of the green bed very gently. We do that because it allows us to have good extract efficiency while at the same time getting other things done at the brewery. You don’t have to babysit it constantly.
[00:20:32] GL: Yeah, it makes sense. I know what you’re saying about the Deutsche. I was brewing on a more German system. The lauter was a lot, I guess, the geometry was different. It wasn’t set up to what you’re saying.
[00:20:48] VH: Yeah, (a) you’re going to have a shallower tun, (b) you’re going to have a really thin mash. If your system is designed well, you’re going to have rakes and manometers. The rakes are going to be adjustable for speed and height. There’s all this stuff. Some of it is with that thin mash, and you’ve got no buoyancy in the batch, so all your grains want to compact. If your grain compacts, then it’s going to channel, so you need something to de-channel it, which is why you have rake.
The method we’re using is we’re lautering probably a little bit slower than you are, and we’re just using physics to draw sugar out of the center of the grain. We have a really floaty mash tun, which means it’s equivalent […] everywhere, but we know what works. I should say, you know everything’s working because the bed continues to flow. As soon as you have greater flow in one area of the bed than another, then it upsets the balance of the bed, and the bed will literally tilt and sink like the Titanic.
At that point, you know you don’t even have to flow them, and you’ll have a problem. Provided everything’s floating, you have even flow, and hey, bam. No one does this anymore. Few people do this anymore because, essentially, American brewing history is German.
[00:22:10] ZG: Yeah. That was in my experience. It’s really interesting to hear you say that because that makes a ton of sense for the type of mash bed that you’re describing. I believe in rakes. I wanted more rakes. I wanted to control the channeling as much as possible with that, but it makes total sense.
[00:22:28] VH: Yeah. We have a six-foot-wide mash tun. The interior is diameter six-feet wide. We will put 1500 pounds of malt into that thing, and there’s not a rake to be seen. We don’t even paddle it. The mashing system, it’s really funny how much brewing now just changed.
Back in the ’90s, if you said Steel’s Masher, literally, everyone knew what you were talking about. I mentioned Steel’s Masher now, and no one knows what the hell I’m talking about. Everybody out there, go google Steel’s Masher. We don’t have one. They’re expensive.
[00:23:03] ZG: I’ll need to google that right after this.
[00:23:06] VH: Steel’s Masher is what the British use. It’s a mechanical auger where you have lauter and grain coming in at one end. Then the auger is just a very short distance, usually maybe two feet, and then it comes out into the tun. What it does is it mixes the mash before it goes into the tun. Therefore, you have a consistent mash mixing. Just throw it in there. It’ll level itself out. You don’t need to do anything.
We don’t have that, but we have a system setup that will mimic that. We don’t need to mix or mash really at all. It keeps everything buoyant and whatnot. Again, as I said, mashing and lautering is a system. It’s all a piece to us.
I think every small brewer should use a coarse grinder. These are coarse-grind, floating beds. We call it the poor man’s Steel’s Masher, et cetera. It’s all in the system, and it allows us to get through these difficult crop years in a much easier way because we’re using the same toolkit.
[00:24:18] GL: When you say thick mash, I think quarts per pound is usually what most people use for it. Is that what you do?
[00:24:27] VH: Two to one.
[00:24:30] GL: Okay.
[00:24:32] VH: It’s thick. If you take a paddle in it, you stick it in there, and you stick the paddle in about 10 inches; the paddle just sticks up.
[00:24:38] GL: Got it.
[00:24:39] VH: It’s really thick. When you start to lauter, you run sparge water on top, and you don’t develop cover water. We have a sparge that rotates around and lays water on very gently. Provided you’re not digging into the mash; the mash will literally float up.
You won’t even be able to tell what’s happening until you stick a yardstick down in there. The mash used to be 20 inches from the top of the tun, and now it’s 18, but you can’t tell by looking in because it just looks the same all the time. There’s no cover water, zero cover water.
[00:25:24] GL: Right on. Okay, I see what you’re saying. That’s pretty crazy. It’s so thick that it’s stuck together as a mass, and it’s more buoyant that way. It makes sense.
[00:25:34] VH: Yeah, it’s buoyant. If you stick a paddle in and shake it, it shakes like pudding. If we have a 12-gravity beer, we routinely get 93%, 94% efficiency on it.
[00:25:51] GL: Yeah. On a smaller system, for anybody out there listening, that’s fantastic.
[00:26:00] VH: It’s completely cheap. It’s a 15-barrel system. It’s not that small. It stuns me that you go see these very, very small breweries that have a three-barrel system, and there are rakes. I’m like, what the […] is that? It’s three barrels. It’s like a children’s setup. Why do you need rakes? For crying out loud, if you need to cut the bed, just use a paddle. Let me know what equipment manufacturer there is. I want to see the greatest salesman in the history of the brewery.
[00:26:32] ZG: It’s funny. I think a lot of these brewing equipment companies have taken the same ideas of these larger German systems with the rakes and everything and then just miniaturized them. I think you’re absolutely right.
[00:26:47] VH: (A) They haven’t miniaturized them because what they’ve done is they’ve taken what the Germans have engineered, very sophisticated rake designs. (B) With manometers, sophisticatedly set up draw points on the bottom, and the ability to move the rakes up and down, so you don’t disturb the bed, what they do is they’re like, I’m going to put some zigzag pieces of metal in there, and I’m going to put it on there. It’s going to be great. Yeah, but what is that?
There’s a ton of people out there; they’re like birds out there like, oh my God, I need this. What do you mean you need it?
[00:27:28] ZG: Because that’s what the big breweries have, and it looks just the same.
[00:27:31] VH: Yeah, it is exactly like […]. You’re exactly right.
[00:27:37] ZG: Yeah, I want to shift just a bit. With the types of beers that you’re making, and I can speak for myself, have you felt the market change move towards certain styles? The pale ale is still selling well in the Northwest. I know I can find a number of examples. But from your perspective, what have you seen?
[00:27:57] VH: The consumer is in love with anything you call IPA, to be frank. If you call something a pale ale, it’s more difficult to sell in the market, at least in the Pacific Northwest. I think that’s a little bit ridiculous. I’m 52 years old; I’m about to be 52. I just don’t care anymore. I don’t want a beer that’s 6.8% alcohol. I want it when it’s 5.5% alcohol. If we just all agree that IPA and pale ale, at this point in the game, have differences in alcohol level more than anything else.
[00:28:43] GL: Amen to that, yeah.
[00:28:45] VH: That’d be great, right? Session IPA was just a way to say, hey, I’m making a modern pale ale. That’s what it was, right?
[00:28:54] ZG: You see those inboard submissions. The things winning the pale ale categories are labeled IPA.
[00:29:02] VH: You’re right. It’s silly because customers are like, oh, I know I like IPA. I like that hoppiness. Pale ale, I don’t know. You’re like; we’ll make them the same way. It’s just an alcohol difference.
I wish that it was easier to sell pale ale. I think it’s truer, and we have beer that we call a pale ale. That’s a regular beer buzz. But I wish that the consumer would just realize that, at this point, almost every brewery in the country makes hop-forward American beer. That’s really the dominant style of what we’re doing. I’m not surprised either.
You can lament the demise of Belgian-style beers, sours, or whatever. I think hop-forward American beer was an inevitability. Jeff Alworth is a friend of mine and a pretty long-time beer blogger. He totally disagrees with this statement, but to me, I think once Anchor made Liberty, and then Sierra made Pale Ale, I think it was inevitable. I think everything was inevitable from that point on.
[00:30:16] ZG: And they differentiated themselves?
[00:30:19] VH: No. Let’s face it; those beers were a huge departure from beer that had been inevitable. These citrusy American hops and being much more hop-forward than anyone has ever made beer before, even though today they seem to retain. The market now is inevitable starting down from 1976 to 1980. It took a long time, but I think it was inevitable.
[00:30:44] ZG: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I come from someone who grew up in Northern California. My parents had those in the fridge growing up. That was probably the start of the departure. But moving up to the Northwest, I can definitely attest to that being the predominant style everywhere.
I personally prefer when I see a pale ale on draft somewhere because that will be the lower alcohol percentage. I don’t even think I’ve acknowledged that association in my mind, but that’s absolutely true. If I want something more alcohol, I’ll look for that pale ale.
[00:31:21] VH: Oh, absolutely. As far as using Blue is concerned, if it’s an American hop-forward beer, I think it’s the right malt. End of story. It works.
[00:31:34] ZG: Yeah. Do you see anyone else in town producing beer that you’ve been really impressed with that you’d want to give a shout out to or something you have in your fridge that is an example of the type of brewing that you appreciate?
[00:31:46] VH: There’s a bunch of breweries out there that I didn’t like the beer. I think the Bartlett guys are pretty small. I think they’re doing a really good job because they make a wide variety of beers, and they’re weirdos. I think they’ve converted over the environment and pils for all their beers, which I just do not understand.
I do think that for some of their hop-forward beers, they’re like, oh, yeah, I can taste it. But that’s fine. Again, if everyone made the same beer, it would be lame. I think they’re doing a really good job. There are a bunch of breweries. When I’m on the spot, I’m always taken aback. I like Kevin Davies beers for his lagers. I think they’re really good. I think everyone likes Kevin’s beers. He’s good at making traditional lager.
[00:32:27] GL: We had him on the show a while back. It was good having him on.
[00:32:30] VH: Yeah. He knows a lot about traditional lager making. It’s really good. I think that ForeLand down in McMinnville, Sean Burke’s place, has done a good job of making both lager and American hop-forward beer that I think has been pretty darn good.
[00:32:50] ZG: Yeah, I’ve been really impressed with all their stuff. There are some in their taproom too.
[00:32:55] VH: Yeah, I haven’t really been there, but they’re all good.
[00:32:58] ZG: I didn’t mean to put you on the spot. I’m always interested in hearing what kind of beers you’re interested in. I’m a similar way, and I appreciate everyone that you brought up.
[00:33:12] VH: I’m happy to say, honestly, that I mainly drink our beer. I’m an after-work drinker, so I get to go out to the bar at the end of the day and have a beer. I really like the beer we make. I suppose every brewer should. I don’t get tired of it.
To tell you the truth, what I drink around here is I drink Kolsch because I love Kolsch. True, it’s not made with Blue, but the other beer that I drink all the time is a beer called Sassy Pony, which is Blue with 2%, 30 Lovibond crystal malts, and a bunch of American hops. It’s a modern, juicy, hop-forward pale ale, but it’s 5.5% alcohol.
[00:33:58] ZG: I would say Sassy Pony is one of my favorites from you all too.
[00:34:01] VH: Thanks. It’s really emblematic of what we do here. It’s basically our Blue and hops.
[00:34:11] ZG: That’s great. Is there anything else you even want to plug? Any events, festivals, social media, Gigantic Brewing as a whole? Anyone you want to shout out too?
[00:34:24] VH: I’m terrible about this. I’m in the brewery, and everyone else here does that stuff. Seriously, right here’s an amazing commercial. I’m Van from Gigantic. Please drink our beer. We think it’s pretty cool.
[00:34:43] ZG: All right, I’m convinced. You have that new taproom opening up down the street from where I live, not to […] myself.
[00:34:51] VH: We have a terrifying new venture. We bought a building on 44th and Hawthorne, and we’re going to put a new taproom in. It’s going to have a really awesome patio, which is fantastic. It’s going to scare the living bejesus out of me. You’ll be able to get food at Gigantic, holy cow. We’re going to open that in August or September.
[00:35:17] ZG: That’s great. As someone in the neighborhood, I can only speak to how excited I’ve heard everyone about it. We’ll all be looking forward to that.
[00:35:25] VH: It’s my neighborhood too. I live on 50th, just south of Belmont.
[00:35:30] GL: I will have to check it out next time I’m up that way. Hopefully, for hops selection this year. We’ll see.
[00:35:35] VH: Oh, yeah. Always exciting. That’d be good. If we could get it open by hops selection, not that I would expect brewers to come by, but it’d be nice to have that done.
[00:35:49] ZG: I think a lot of people make a pit stop in Portland.
[00:35:53] VH: They usually […], which is understandable.
[00:35:57] GL: They should.
[00:35:58] VH: But when they find out we have […] and sandwiches, boom.
[00:36:05] ZG: Grant, do you have any other questions?
[00:36:07] GL: No, I think that about wraps it up. If you’re out there listening and you haven’t embraced the pale ale malt, mix it up. Use a different base malt. Try the Great Western Northwest pale, the Blue, as we’re going to eventually call it now. If you’re up in the Portland area in a few months, check out the new taproom for Gigantic.
[00:36:32] VH: Yeah, sounds good.
[00:36:34] ZG: All right. Thanks for coming on, Van. We really appreciate you coming on.
[00:36:37] VH: Thanks for having me, and thanks for allowing me to plug the malt that I think might be the right malt.
[00:36:43] GL: The right malt for the time and place.
We are back with another segment of The BrewDeck podcast talking about all things pale ale malt this week. We got some great interviews lined up for you today on the show. We’re going to have Dan Cooper from Bairds Malting joining us all the way from the UK. How’s it going, Dan?
[00:37:05] DC: Yeah, not too bad. Thanks. It’s good to be here.
[00:37:08] GL: I know you’re relatively new not to the industry, Dan, but to Bairds in general. What’s your official title?
[00:37:16] DC: I’m the key account manager for Brewers Select. Brewers Select is a one-stop-shop for malt and brewing ingredients. We’re affiliated with […] malt. I’ve literally been with Brewers Select for two weeks, I think. I’m pretty much very new.
[00:37:40] GL: Jumping right into it.
[00:37:42] DC: Yeah. Very new to the business.
[00:37:45] GL: Awesome. I’ve also got John Egan joining us from San Diego, Mr. SoCal, on our episode today again. He was a co-host with me in the past. How’s it going, John?
[00:37:56] JE: I’m doing great, Grant. Thanks for having me.
[00:37:58] GL: Yeah. Awesome. Dan, I know you’ve got a pretty solid malting background. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing before working for Bairds?
[00:38:10] DC: Yeah, okay. I’ll try really hard not to mention the competitors. I’ve been in the brewing and distilling industry for […] of my career. Twenty years now, I have done a degree in Ph.D. in brewing science at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. After that, I went into research really on the brewing side before I joined Brewing Research International as it was then used to be.
I don’t know whether you guys know about BRI. It used to be the research facility for the brewing industry in the UK. It went through a number of iterations. I was there when it was Brewing Research International. Now it’s known as Campden BRI. It’s a big food and drinks research association.
I was there for four or so years before I went and joined the malting industry. First positions within the malting industry with the various competitors, I think you could probably say I’ve been around the block a little bit within the malting industry—production and managing malting plants.
I spent a bit of time as the technical brewer in a liquid extract plant making liquid malt extracts, especially for homebrew kits, before I then went into quality management. I was a quality manager for a company for the UK and Ireland production facilities. Then I moved into a European quality role managing the quality output from 15 malting plants. That was before I joined Bairds and Brewers Select.
[00:39:58] GL: Stoked to have you on today.
[00:40:01] DC: Thank you for having me.
[00:40:03] GL: Yeah, it sounds like we’re going right to the source here in terms of just English malting experience. I don’t think we could have gotten anyone better, so that’s great. We got to have American craft brewing perspectives on the show, which is why I wanted to have you on.
Can you tell us a little bit about how to use just a classic pale ale malt here? How’s that viewed in the UK? Would you say that’s the number one most popular base malt? Are you seeing your craft brewers there go to lighter-colored malts like pils? I just wanted to get an idea of what’s happening over there.
[00:40:46] DC: I would say, certainly within the craft brewing industry, a lot changes over time. I would say very much. Personally, from my taste of the market is that we’re very much influenced by the American craft brewing industry. The trends that you’re seeing, we eventually see over here. We’re starting to see a lot of the New England IPAs, the West Coast IPAs, all of those American styles of beer.
A real showpiece for hops. The good thing is, I also suppose, especially things like New England IPA, it’s a good showcase for the grain that goes in as well. Quite often, the brewers tend to forget that without the malt, there’s no beer. They are starting to showcase a little bit more of the malt characters, which is really good to see.
When I first joined the industry, with ale malts and pale ale malts especially, the colors were looking at 5–8 on the EBC, so we’re looking at around about 2.5–4 on your SRM. They’re gradually getting paler and paler and paler. Those higher color pale ale malts of 5–7, 5–8 EBC, we’re looking at now, maybe 4–6. Gradually, the colors get lower and lower.
I think they’re going to get even lower because people want that kind of very pale, golden sort of yellow color. You’re almost drifting into the lager malt territory. But still, I’d say pale ale malt and extra pale ale malt are probably the bedrock that most brewers in the UK would be building their beers on.
[00:42:46] GL: So you’re saying that the number one most popular base malt still is a pale ale malt, just something a little more under modified?
[00:40:46] DC: Yeah. Obviously, as we’re going paler, to really be able to get that very light color, you’re kind of pulling back on that protein modification a little bit. You’re reducing the modification a little bit, but you still want to maintain it. Obviously, for me, an ale malt is a good, nice, well-balanced, well-modified malt, whereas your lager malt is a little bit on the unmodified side.
You still want to try to maintain that kind of modification, that kind of protein solubilization. You want to see the SNR at a certain level. Otherwise, you are drifting too much into the larger territory. I think you lose a little bit of the character of the malt when you start to drift into that larger character.
[00:43:47] GL: Yeah, I would agree with you there. We had another guest on, and he was a big fan of one of the pale ale malts we produce here in the US in Great Western. Similar thing, he was like, you just lose out when you move to a pils malt and some of these beers. I agree with him.
When they developed those New England style IPAs to begin with, when they first started coming around ten years ago in the New England area here in the States, Vermont, that sort of thing, to my knowledge, they were using UK pale malts as a base form.
[00:44:28] DC: It’s a classic malt. As I say, it’s a base rock for the kind of beers that you want to produce. Certainly, in terms of the flavor characteristics, because of the killing that you’re subjecting the malt to, it creates a lot of really nice juicy malt characters, sort of biscuity, malty caramel, some really good flavors that complement the hop notes really, really well. That’s the strength of the malt is that flavor character that it brings out. It balances those really bold beers out very nicely.
[00:45:07] GL: These hazy New England IPAs, they’re pushing 7% pretty often. One of the things that I’ve heard over the past few years from craft brewers here is they’re so worried about anything getting in the way of hops. They’re putting in these relatively expensive Cryo Hops, all these experimental hops, and that sort of thing. They’re so worried about malt getting in the way of it. What they’re not realizing is that they should consider using a pale ale malt, something that would really compliment it, like you’re saying.
[00:45:41] DC: Yeah. I suppose I’m biased because I’m a maltster, and I like malt. Don’t get me wrong; I like hops. I like a good hoppy beer. I like the hop character, but you can find that you’ll lose the balance in the beer and you drift over into it just really being a hop show, which is fine.
I know lots of people really enjoy that. But for me, a really well-brewed beer has got all of those balancing notes out, so you’ve got the malt characteristics, the floral hop aroma, and then you’ve got the fruity characteristics coming through from the esters that come from the yeast.
I think the real skill of the brewer is to bring all of those flavors together and develop that really well-balanced beer. That’s where the true skill is. For me, the malt is key to the whole process.
[00:46:37] JE: Going back to the trend with color on the pale malt, do you feel or see that that trend is something that the maltsters have been doing based on demand from the brewer, or the changes in barley varieties might also be playing into that?
[00:47:00] DC: That’s a good question. A lot of the modern varieties can give rise to a lower color, but I don’t think it’s a predominantly varietal-driven thing. I think, really, it’s driven by the market trends. I really think that the drive from the market is these paler and paler and paler malts.
I expect to know often with these things, they’re quite cyclical, and I expect that the trend will flip, and people will start to move towards darker beers again. I really think it’s a trend-based thing and driven very much by the craft market. After all, we tend to respond very much to what the customer is looking for, what the brewer wants. I think it’s very much down to that demand for paler malts.
[00:47:56] JE: Right. And part of that, do you see any changes to that classic pale malt character when it’s moving towards being a lighter malt? Are we losing any of that flavor character that we’re so used to?
[00:48:12] DC: Yeah, I think so. You imagine the color that you’re generating is created during the Maillard reaction, that interaction between proteins and sugars. As well as color, it generates flavor. As you lose that color, you start to lose some of that flavor. You’ll be losing some of those really attractive malty, biscuity caramel notes that would be sitting in that slightly darker pale ale malt. I think you do lose some of that. Certainly, as you’re going paler, those characteristics, you will lose.
[00:49:00] GL: Another thing that popped into my mind talking about overall trends moving to lighter colored malts, depending on these beers, depending on a bunch of factors, and depending on the malt house itself and how well of a job they’re doing, when you’re going lighter and lighter, do you not run the risk of having more DMS in the malts that are often with darker colored pale malt?
[00:49:26] DC: Yeah, absolutely. If you look at your lager malt, one of the flavor notes that drifts to the fore are a more of a green kind of sweet, corny flavor. That’s DMS. As you drop down the color, you’re reducing the temperature profile in the kiln. You’re not driving off that DMS.
You would expect, unless you do something in your brewing process, you’re going to start pulling that DMS note through. Certainly, some brewers, they want to bring that flavor character through. If it’s a flavor characteristic that you’re particularly sensitive to and you don’t want, then you’re going ever lighter. You’re going to start getting more of that in the malt. You have a valid point there that if you don’t want DMS, going lighter is not going to help.
[00:50:20] GL: It’s a little strange to me. Sometimes, just talking with a brewer, I’ll hear them say, oh, I want a lighter-colored base malt or a cleaner flavor. It always just strikes me as a little strange because, in my opinion, you would get a little bit of a cleaner flavor with maybe a little bit more color, like you’re saying.
[00:50:41] DC: Yeah, exactly. The clean flavor is an interesting thing to describe because if you look at the flavor of malt, it’s very, very complex. There are lots of different flavor compounds sitting in that little grain. By the maltster adapting what they’re doing, they can bring certain notes through. You’re not necessarily making it cleaner; you’re just bringing different notes through.
You’ll lose some of those sweeter biscuity notes, and then you start to bring some of the greener notes through. It’s how you want to balance your flavors, really, in your beer. It’s a bit like an artist’s palette, really. You play around with your raw materials, and you blend them together to get the right color, and that’s your beer.
Certainly, playing around with the color of your malt will really also influence the flavor. Then it becomes dependent upon how much in the way of hops you put in because some of those very, very subtle characteristics in the malt will then be completely swamped by using a lot of hops.
[00:51:49] GL: Just for the listeners out there that may not be familiar with Baird’s pale ale malts, Bairds makes quite a few. You’ve got the Maris Otter, the Golden Promise, and the standard Pale. Can you walk us through the characteristics of those?
[00:52:08] DC: Yeah. They’ll all be pretty much made towards the same kind of recipe. We’re looking for relatively low nitrogen, mid nitrogen barley, less than 1.65% TN. You’ve talked about those three varieties, the Maris Otter, the Golden Promise, and the standard.
The standard will be produced from a modern variety, whether that be a spring or a winter variety. Maris Otter and the Golden Promise they’re two old, traditional varieties. Maris Otter, I think most breweries or brewers would recognize Maris Otter. It is the quintessential British variety. I think it was first developed in the 1950s, and it just survived and survived and survived. Whereas most other varieties just very much disappeared.
A lot of brewers just lay their hat on Maris Otter. You must have this variety. It is the brewing variety. They brew with Maris Otter. But essentially, it’s malted to more or less the same process.
[00:53:22] GL: Same killing profile, that sort of thing?
[00:53:25] DC: Yeah, so steeped in the same way, germinated in the same way, and then kilned, in the same way, to really derive that color and that flavor. It really is just whether the brewer wants those particular, I suppose, heritage varieties like Maris Otter and Golden Promise or whether they want just a standard pale ale made from a modern variety.
[00:53:51] GL: When you’re saying modern variety, the last time I remember, would that be like Irina, Concierto? Am I leaving any out there?
[00:54:00] DC: Concierto, we’re starting to see less of. Irina is not really around anymore. The varieties that you’re looking at at the moment, if you’re looking at spring varieties, typically Planets or Laureates, but we more likely do Planet. If it’s winter variety, you’re probably looking for more Craft. Those are the varieties that are currently in the maltsters’ toolkit at the moment.
[00:54:30] GL: I always highlight to my child brewers that the growing climate there is so special; in the UK versus here. There is just a difference like apples to oranges. The UK has that maritime climate. It just makes for a really awesome high extract, low protein malt.
[00:54:51] DC: Yeah. The British always complain about the weather. It’s either raining, it’s snowy, or sometimes the sun shines. Typically, you have four seasons in the same day, but really in terms of growing barley, it’s perfect.
All across the eastern seaboard of the UK, you’ve got some fantastic growing land, and it’s just supported by a great climate. You get perfect soil and water at the right time. We get a very good, nice, low nitrogen, good quality barley coming through. We’re kind of blessed in that respect for producing very, very good quality barley.
Throughout my career, I’ve been pretty lucky. We’ve never had, touch wood, too many disastrous harvests. We have some challenges, but generally, the processing is not too bad.
[00:55:58] JE: Everything went good this year as far as quality looking?
[00:56:02] DC: Yeah. It’s certainly still early in the season. We’ve come to the end of March. The spring crop will probably mostly have been sown. From what I’ve heard, it’s looking good—the seeds go in the ground. We’ll just see what happens as the season progresses.
We want a bit of rain. I was looking at some fields the other day, and the ground looks quite moist still, so there’s good moisture in the ground. A bit more moisture, some sunshine, and it should look good. Last year’s crop was pretty good as well. Everything’s reasonably good for the brewery in terms of the quality of the barley and the quality of the malt that’s coming through.
[00:56:52] JE: Great to hear.
[00:56:53] GL: Yeah, we’re a little bit envious of your 21-crop that the UK and Europe had over there […] challenge.
[00:57:03] DC: How does it compare to yours?
[00:57:06] GL: Just a lot lower protein. You mentioned the Laureate as a variety that’s grown widely over there. For our maltings here, we brought in some Laureate to blend and to hit spec. I think a lot of maltsters did that. It took some logistical execution there, but I think you’re exactly right; Laureate has been performing very well in the malt houses.
[00:57:33] DC: Yeah. Certainly, Laureate is a variety. We’re also kind of lucky in some respects that we’ve got the distilling industry up in Scotland. A lot of our farmers very much got an eye on the distilling market where there is a real drive for low protein and low nitrogen barley so that they can maximize their alcohol yields.
The old adage, I suppose, is that if you miss the distilling spec a little bit, you still will be able to hit the brewing spec. That gives us good low nitrogen barley, really. It’s useful to have the distilling industry sitting like a big pull on the market.
[00:58:15] GL: Absolutely, yeah. That’s one thing I’m trying to tell folks. I guess the Scottish distillers, to my understanding, it’s all about the predicted spirit and yield of the barley. Once it’s an accepted variety, it’s all about the predicted spirit yield. They’re really driving for the best of the best. That’s what Bairds puts out for those kinds of folks. We get it over here in the States. I just feel like a lot of people don’t quite key in on that, but it really is some of the best of the best barley in the world.
[00:58:48] DC: Yeah. I’ve said this before, but we are quite blessed in that respect. You’ve got some farmers that really know what they’re doing when they’re growing the grain. They’re really aiming a lot of cases to produce distilling grade barley. As you said, what they want is extract and fermentable extract because, for them, it’s all about alcohol. PSY is king. As I said, if you don’t quite meet the distilling spec, then we can certainly use it in brewing. It gives us some good extracts. It looks pretty good.
[00:59:32] GL: I wanted to go back earlier when we mentioned Golden Promise and Maris Otter. I don’t know if it’s just something that we’re a little stuck in the past here when we think of brewing certain styles of American craft brewing. A lot of folks gravitate towards those, surprisingly. They used to really only want Maris Otter, Golden Promise, or one of those heritage varieties.
It’s always a little surprising to me that they haven’t considered even using the standard pale ale malt from a UK maltster. We talked about that a little bit already. One thing I hear often, and I just want to get your perspective as a maltster, is when you look at Maris Otter or Golden Promise, they are very nice plump kernels. Just so we’re clear here, they don’t have the exact same extract as a modern variety, which is why they’re still around, but they’re not really the mainstay for a lot of brewers over there. Am I correct in that?
[01:00:40] DC: They still have good extracts. If you have a handful of a modern variety like Planets and you have a handful of Maris Otter, it’s instantly recognizable which hand has got the Planet and which hand has got the Maris Otter. You don’t have to tell me because the Maris Otter is a very, very small grain compared to the Planet.
If you compare kernel by kernel, then the modern variety would have more extract because it’s a bigger grain; it’s a bolder grain. Also, to a certain extent, over time really, the seed breeders, when they’ve been looking at what varieties the maltsters want, they are looking at the varieties that give us more extracts, all the way through their development process within the toolkit that they throw at the development activity, they’re looking to really boost the extracts.
Personally, I’m not an active brewer, but from my experience, modern variety tends to give you better—this is probably blasphemous in certain circles as well to say—I think it gives you certain advantages over a heritage variety.
Certainly, it’s great to have Maris Otter there because it gives us that touch with history. If you want to produce a beer and you want to say, look, this is a variety that was brewed by my grandparents, and my grandparents enjoyed the beer produced from this variety, Maris Otter is where you go to or Golden Promise. But if you’re looking to get that efficiency and get that extract, I’m persuaded that modern varieties are where you get that benefit.
It really depends on what you want to try and achieve with your beer. I suppose the story that you’re trying to tell with your beer. I’ve seen breweries that very, very cleverly use the story and the heritage of Maris Otter to create a brand, which gains resonance amongst the drinkers that enjoy that beer. I can fully understand now, but you can do some really great things with bond varieties. Don’t turn your back on them if you can.
Certainly, again, probably this is a little blasphemous, but a few years ago, there was a slight shortage of Maris Otter barley. Certainly, for some of our UK customers—this is a number of years back—we offered them the option because we simply didn’t have enough Maris Otter to supply all of the demand. We offered them a modern variety. A number of those brewers who took the modern varieties never went back.
They never went back to Maris Otter. They took the modern variety. They saw that the extracts were improved. They saw that the processability was better. They were happy, and they never went back.
[01:04:13] GL: It’s kind of my experience as well. Like you’re saying, keep the historic varieties in the toolkit. It’s really fun to do a single hop, single malt beer with Maris Otter; that’s great. But for a flagship or something like that, I’ve seen the same thing where we had to offer them a modern variety, and they never went back.
[01:04:39] DC: Yeah. I like the history and heritage; I really do. I think it’s great that we still have it, but I think there’s a place for it. If you’re looking for that kind of processability and extract, I’m not sure you can beat a modern variety.
[01:05:02] JE: It’s pretty interesting. Some brewers like to stay in their corner and just keep continuing with what they know, talking about these heritage barley varieties—Maris Otter and Golden Promise. But staying open to trying new things is super important as a brewer.
As you said, Dan and Grant, folks that try something new often stick with it, and they find the benefits of it. I think that’s really important to keep in mind when looking at different malts to time and a place for everything.
[01:05:42] DC: Yeah, I agree. I think that’s an open mind to what’s available out there. Looking at history again, I suppose one of the biggest innovations in brewing since God invented yeast was a pale ale. Prior to that, we were producing very, very dark beers, brown ales, porters, and stouts because the maltster couldn’t produce the malt light enough and pale enough.
But it was the use of […] in the kiln. It gave them better control over the temperature in the kiln. They could produce these pale ale malts or paler malts. Hence, the reason why we got this whole raft of pale malts and then a whole raft of pale ale type beers. It’s an amazing innovation. The brewer, like you’re saying, could have sat back and said, well, no, I really like to use brown malt, and I really like to use the dark malts. I’m not going to use this new pale ale malt. I’m going to stick with what I know, and we would never have had those new beers.
Innovation is a brilliant thing, and utilizing all the raw materials and the potential of all those raw materials is a great thing. Certainly, with beer, you can do that. You’ve got so many options available to you in terms of malts, hops, and yeast varieties. It’s just a fantastic place to be if you’re a craft brewer.
[01:07:13] JE: Absolutely. I couldn’t have said it any better.
[01:07:16] GL: Yeah. We always ask the final question in a lot of our interviews. We just want to ask, what’s in your beer fridge? What’s your go-to beer? It doesn’t have to be beer, I guess. Whiskey? What’s your go-to malt beverage?
[01:07:36] DC: That’s a really good question. If I said to my wife, what’s my go-to beverage? She’d say, you don’t have one. You just keep changing your mind.
[01:07:45] GL: Fair enough.
[01:07:46] DC: Yeah. It’s beer. Don’t get me wrong; I like my whiskey. I lived up in Scotland for seven years, so I love whiskey. I’m getting to the age where too much whiskey is not good for me, so I stick to the beers. I’m getting into my stronger ales, so over Christmas—I hope I’m allowed to give a little bit of a plug.
[01:08:15] GL: You absolutely are, yeah.
[01:08:18] DC: There’s a Fuller’s Brewery. I’ve always been a fan of Fuller’s Brewery. When I was a kid, the first beer that I believe I drank was a London Pride. They produce on an annual basis a vintage ale. Every year, they do something different. It’s always a strong ale. It’s perfect.
Their 2021 ale was just something to drink. It really was special. I bought one way back in 2003. I think that’s the first time I started buying them. I’ve started buying one that I drink and one that I save. I’ve had some beers from 2003 but have yet to crack open. I’m not sure when I’m going to crack it open. That’d be an interesting beer to taste. The vintage ale, if you can get it in the States, I can recommend it. It’s a great beer.
[01:09:15] GL: Yeah. I was getting a little vertical developing there to invite some friends over and do a little vertical tasting on this.
[01:09:25] DC: Yeah. I think the one that they brewed this year was 8% or something like that, but you did not know you were drinking 8%. It was just a great beer.
[01:09:37] JE: It sounds really good. My mouth’s starting to water, thinking about it.
[01:09:41] GL: All right. Thanks for joining us, Dan. If you’re out there listening to our show this week, get out there and try some different pale ale malts. Maris is great. Don’t necessarily be stuck to it. There are plenty of other pale options that use more modern varieties, as we just talked about. Thanks for joining us. That’s it for this one.
[01:10:02] JE: Thank you, Dan.
[01:10:03] DC: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.