Podcast Episode 123: Blake Tyers of Creature Comforts on Wood-Aging Beer

The wood cellar and mixed-fermentation director for fast-growing Creature Comforts in Athens, Georgia, dives deep into brewing and blending barrel-aged beer.

Jamie Bogner Feb 21, 2020

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It takes a huge leap of faith to abandon a linear production model to embrace the chaos and uncertainty of a blending-focused wood cellar. But Athens, Georgia’s Creature Comforts Brewing is unburdened by the past and unafraid when it comes to turning typical brewing practice on its head. Their process of continuous improvement is reflected in a number of other shifts to the way they operate, like jettisoning their negative approach to blending (eliminating bad barrels and blending the rest) and replacing it with a positive one (building a blend that accomplishes a specific flavor goal). In this episode, Wood Cellar and Mixed Fermentation Director Blake Tyers walks through that and more. He discusses how they construct different blending stock recipes to provide contrasts in the blending process, when to adjunct ingredients, preparing barrel-aged beers for the journey of time, designing “loud” beers that are nonetheless balanced, creating locally relevant approaches to popular styles, structuring a program that nudges customers toward more complex and time-consuming wood-aged beers, low-temp fruit maceration for tightly controlled flavor expression, and much more.

“There’s the old adage, ‘Brew what’s for yourself and sell whatever you’ve got left over,’ and I think that doesn’t necessarily always work,” says Tyers. “There’s a fine line there. The integrity and the fun comes from the pursuit of excellence within the framework that may be palatable or accessible to your consumer. You don’t have to love every single thing to the max that you make. But you should find joy, and pride, and excitement, in what you are making.”

This episode is brought to you by:

G&D
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Old Orchard supplies craft juice blends from the heart of Beer City USA. As the industry blending experts, they supply major national brands and growing breweries alike. They've been the best-kept juicy secret in craft beverage for years, but now the secret's out. Breweries across the board are experiencing a seamless transition to Old Orchard as their new juice supplier. So hop aboard the Old Orchard fruit train; their sample kit starter pack is waiting for you at www.oldorchard.com/brewer.

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The founders launched Ss Brewtech with a very clear goal to advance brewing equipment design, performance, and quality to the very highest standards in the industry. With a team that draws upon strong functional backgrounds in brewing science, mechanical engineering, industrial design, supply chain, and manufacturing, Ss Brewtech has the people and skill sets you would want and expect from your supplier of pro brewing equipment. Head over to SsBrewtech.com for more information on their brewhouses and brewing gear.

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Out of the west a storm surprised, swept down on Captain Pabst,
That mariner and gentleman, his actions swift and fast,
He sailed the seabird against the throes, routing twain wind and fear,
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Pabst’s intuition proved him right, and bore a friendly coast,
The mighty seabird crashed aground, and to that we raise a toast,
For while the seabird indeed was lost, safe were kin and crew,
And without this mighty ship to steer, Captain Pabst... began to brew.
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Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].

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