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 - 5 min read

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

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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:

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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].