Podcast Episode 154: Jake Gardner of Westbound & Down Tackles Complex Brewing Challenges

From West Coast-style IPA to barleywine, Jake Gardner shares his strategies for making flavorful beer, by solving the technical puzzles posed by how people drink it.

Jamie Bogner Oct 2, 2020

100%x200

Subscribe to the Craft Beer & Brewing Podcast:

For Jake Gardner, head brewer of Westbound & Down in Idaho Springs, Colorado, brewing means defining goals for a beer and mapping out the way to achieve those goals—naming the challenges and articulating solutions at each step of the process. Proceeding in a thoroughly planned and detailed manner brings clarity to the process, and this methodical approach has served Gardner well over his past decade in professional brewing.

Gardner’s patience and approach was rewarded in 2019 with a silver medal in the Great American Beer Festival's hotly contested Imperial IPA category. But the Westbound & Down approach is anything but conventional—with English yeast strains and specific bittering hops that scrub off the palate quickly, the brewery has carved out a soft and fruity yet bright and tightly controlled niche in the broader world of West Coast IPA. They continue to expand that niche with creative explorations of contemporary hops, yeast experimentation, and focusing on the minutiae of brewing that make a big impact on the finished beer.

In the barleywine category, Gardner calls upon prior experience brewing English-style ales at Hogshead in Denver, and he discusses the various design concerns for these barrel-aged beers designed for aging. From managing free amino nitrogen to double-mashing and dialing back oxidative malts, Gardner discusses the ways they’ve built their medal-winning Louie barleywine—its Double Barrel version also won silver at GABF—to taste great not only when fresh, but also with a few years under its belt, as it ages and oxidizes with grace.

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

BSG
BSG is partnering with Leopold Bros. to bring a new line of small-batch, handmade malts to brewers and distillers. Leopold Bros. is a family owned floor malting operation and distillery and 2020 James Beard Award Finalist, located in Denver, Colorado. Since brothers Scott and Todd Leopold first opened their doors in 1999, they have created everything from classic unfiltered lagers to a number of spirits, including a wide array of whiskey styles. Learn more about the upcoming malt line by going online to BSGCraftbrewing.com, or contact BSG at 1.800.374.2739

Mountain Rose Herbs logo
This episode is brought to you by Mountain Rose Herbs, purveyors of the highest quality, organic herbs, spices, and teas. Whether you want to add depth to your next golden tripel with classic notes of cinnamon, pepper and clove, or artfully layer exotic, zesty grains of paradise into a perfect ale, adding botanicals to your brewing is an easy way to customize a delicious flavor profile. Mountain Rose Herbs has been providing organic herbs and spices to chefs, herbalists, and dedicated brewers for more than three decades. Learn more at mountainroseherbs.com and get 10% off of your first order with the code “craftbeer10”.

Yakima Valley Hops logo 200px Yakima Valley Hops is your hop source whether you are brewing 5 gallons or 5 barrels. Get all the hops you want, when you want them. We source the highest quality hops from the Yakima Valley and premium growing regions around the world so that you have access to the largest hop portfolio possible - even the hard to find varieties like Citra®, Nelson Sauvin, and Galaxy®. Homebrewers: YakimaValleyHops.com // Wholesale: SpotHops.com

abs-commercial-logo-200px
ABS Commercial is excited to be a part of today’s Podcast! ABS is a full brewery outfitter offering brewhouses, tanks, keg washers and small parts. ABS wanted to do something fun for the craft beer industry, so they are giving away an ABS Keg Viking Keg Washer LIVE on December 5th, which happens to be national repeal day. To enter, go to www.abs-commercial.com, click on “Keg Viking” page and fill out the contest form for your chance to win!

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

ARTICLES FOR YOU