Podcast Episode 130: Destihl Founder Matt Potts on Developing Your Voice with Sours and Hazy IPAs

Destihl Brewery started as a small-town brewpub, but it was sour beer that put them on the map in the late 2000’s. In this episode, Founder Matt Potts discusses how they’ve developed these different beers, from traditional to kettle sours.

Jamie Bogner Apr 11, 2020 - 5 min read

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In the midst of the last Great Recession, Potts felt the itch to turn his brewing hobby into a profession. While preparing and studying at the Siebel Institute, he fell in love with sour beer. He set out to brew it at his own brewery in an unlikely place for sour beer—smack dab in the middle of the agricultural heartland of Illinois. After seeing the demand at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011, Destihl committed to expanding its sour beer production. That has led them on a trajectory they’ve followed to the current day, where 50 percent of the beer they brew is of the sour variety.

Quick-sour beers are a large part of that volume, but unlike typical kettle sours, Destihl doesn’t just push a fast Lactobacillus fermentation. Instead, they use their own mixed culture built from a spontaneous capture in the brewery—an approach that gives them flavors they can call their own. Developing a process to scale their quick-sour program was not easy, and Potts walks us through the successes and setbacks along the way.

That process of innovation is one that they’ve applied with similar force to evolving styles like hazy IPA, and Potts also talks about how they developed their own take on the style—one that’s shelf-stable and capable of tasting great in their far-flung retail markets. They’ve done it without sacrificing elements they find crucial to the style, such as dry hopping during active fermentation to achieve bio-transformative effects.

Location is no impediment to brewing great sour beer, as long as you seek out your own process and your own creative voice. Destihl is proof of that.

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].