Podcast Episode 129: Kate Lee and Brian Nelson of Hardywood Park Get Dark and Spicy

The heads of brewing and quality for Hardywood Park in Richmond, Virginia, explore the challenges of brewing their flagship Gingerbread Stout, Pils, Richmond Lager, hazy IPAs, and more.

Jamie Bogner Apr 3, 2020

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In this conversation with Hardywood Park Craft Brewery's Kate Lee, vice president of operations and quality, and Brian Nelson, vice president and head brewer, they dive into a variety of brewing challenges. Their flagship Gingerbread Stout starts the conversation, as they work through their process of establishing and maintaining a brand standard for something that is difficult to quantify, then talk about compensating for year-to-year changes in key ingredients, such as the fresh ginger they source from a local farm. Scaling the recipe up for their new brewhouse was a particular challenge, and they recount, they learned the hard way.

Sometimes, however, mistakes turn into hunches which pay dividends later on, as with a batch of base stout in the new brewery that started at 40°P (1.179)—much higher than they expected the first time around, but which has since become a go-to blending beer for their barrel-aged releases.

One beer they’re particularly known for is their Raspberry Stout, and here they talk about the challenges of adding whole fruit to the beer—from pasteurizing the fruit before conditioning using a small jacketed fermenter, to de-seeding the fruit for best results.

Lager is big for Hardywood Park, and they discuss both Hardywood Pils and Richmond Lager—beers that easily outsell the small-batch hazy IPAs which with they also experiment.

This episode is brought to you by:

G&D
G&D Chillers: As the brewing industry’s premier choice for glycol chilling, G&D Chillers has set the standard on quality, service, and dedication to their customer’s craft. For 25 years G&D has led the way on innovative solutions that match their brewing customers immediate and future needs. With a wide selection of custom built chillers; G&D offers the Nano chiller, the perfect solution for Nano breweries all the way up to their larger capacity units like the Vertical Air Chiller, built for higher volume operations. Contact G&D Chillers today for your chiller sizing needs at 800.555.0973. Reach out online at Gdchillers.com

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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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This episode is brought to you by Hopsteiner–your premium hop supplier dedicated to delivering quality hops and hop products in every package. Visit Hopsteiner.com for a complete list of offerings or select “shop hops” to start ordering today.

FermentisFermentis Logo
Fermentis is the obvious choice for beverage fermentation. They’ve provided the beer industry, from large and small breweries to homebrewers, with the best fermentation yeasts since 2003. Their yeasts are easy to use—just pitch your Fermentis yeast directly into your wort, no rehydration necessary. To learn more about how Fermentis can improve the quality of your fermentation, and for the latest on their exciting new product releases, visit Fermentis.com.

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This episode is brought to you by Brewers Publications, publishers of “Small Brewery Finance” by Maria Pearman, “How to Brew” by John Palmer, and the forthcoming “Historical Brewing Techniques” by Lars Marius Garshol. Established in 1986, Brewers Publications has published more than 50 books of enduring value for amateur and professional brewers alike. Visit BrewersPublications.com today to browse the complete catalog of books and ebooks.

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

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