Podcast Episode 105: August Schell's Jace Marti on Creating Distinctive Lagers and Historically Inspired Berliner Weisse

Marti discusses how their approach to craft lagers has evolved, how they've borrowed innovative processes from the IPA world for their traditional lagers, and how they've painstakingly built a sour program based on mixed-culture Berliner weisse.

Jamie Bogner 4 months ago


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August Schell is not a new brewery, and sparking attention from today’s craft beer consumer is more difficult than ever. But in this conversation, Jace Marti—assistant brewmaster and sixth generation of the Schell family—dives deep into the storied lager brewer’s approach. He discusses the evolution of recipe and technique for marquee beers like their Pilsner, explains how they develop and change beers over time. He also outlines the thorough way they went about launching a sour program relevant to the Schell brand (while also making great beer).

Their Pilsner is on version 4.0 and has seen many changes since its launch in the 1980’s. Today, they even borrow techniques from IPA brewers, like dry-hopping during active fermentation, and apply them to their lager process—adding hops at 24 hours to the cold lager fermentation. Other moves, like shifting hot-side hops from an early to a middle addition, changing up the base malt, and embracing “modern” Noble hops have helped them build a Pilsner that’s both to-style and distinctly their own.

On the sour side, Marti recounts the deep historical research into Berliner weisse that led to them building house cultures for mixed fermentation, and touches on everything from maintaining and selecting cultures to cleaning process and fruit usage. How does a 160-year-old brewery balance the weight of tradition with the need to be innovative? Listen in…

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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].