Podcast Episode 144: Cellarmaker’s Tim Sciascia and Connor Casey on Ethereal Hops and Hazy West Coast IPA

The brewers at Cellarmaker are known among peers for their nuanced approach to hops. Here, they discuss everything from finding hops that punch hard to understanding how “bag appeal” translates to finished beer, how stored hops change over time, and more.

Jamie Bogner Jul 18, 2020


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Connor Casey and Tim Sciascia of San Francisco’s Cellarmaker Brewing have a well-earned reputation among peers as savants when it comes to hops. From the colorful descriptive language they’ve developed for describing hop attributes, to the tightly iterated processes around blending hops lots, they’ve developed ideas and techniques around hops use that have influenced the way other brewers now brew.

In this episode, they share some of that hard-earned hops knowledge, touching on a wide range of subjects including:
- Approaching brewing like certain chefs approach cooking, with inspiring ingredients that value quality and experience over consistency
- Building beers around unique lots of hops, with specific and unrepeatable flavors
- Selecting hops for “grit” that will punch harder in a beer
- Understanding how stored hops evolve and change throughout the year, even under cold storage, never producing the same beer twice
- The impact of hops processing on the expression of hops flavors
- Understanding “bag appeal” and how it’s not a perfect indicator of hops flavors in finished beer
- Working with challenging Southern Hemisphere hops
- The all-or-nothing nature of Sabro
- Making hard choices to throw away expensive hops that don’t meet expectations

And more.

“The beer you drink in March with all the hops that were harvested six months ago—you will never experience that exact flavor even with those same lots of everything, same brewer, same system,” says Casey. “If you [make and] drink that same beer in September, it is not the same. [Hops] are evolving. Some varieties might get better, some just get different. That moment is fleeting, so enjoy that experience.”

This episode is brought to you by:

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