Podcast Episode 181: Jeff Wiederkehr of Burning Beard Believes Authenticity is the Best Policy

On the industrial eastern edge of San Diego County, a group of self-described delinquents have embraced a bit of SoCal outlaw culture with Burning Beard Brewing. The secret sauce? Being authentic and embracing fun, while painstakingly improving everything.

Jamie Bogner Apr 5, 2021 - 6 min read

Podcast Episode 181: Jeff Wiederkehr of Burning Beard Believes Authenticity is the Best Policy Primary Image

Subscribe to the Craft Beer & Brewing Podcast:

“Be your authentic self, and they will come to you,” says Burning Beard cofounder Jeff Wiederkehr. It’s not about marketing calculus or cynically appealing to here-today, gone-tomorrow hype chasers. Instead, Burning Beard has built a rabid fan base by remaining small and embracing fun, all while quietly working in the brewhouse to refine, tweak, and experiment. From spontaneous coolship beers to traditional-style pilsners (and even IPAs that revisit crystal malts), Burning Beard has positioned itself as insurgent by embracing tradition, not running from it.

In this wide-ranging episode, Wiederkehr discusses:

  • Coolshipping in the warm climate of San Diego county
  • How poor cellaring techniques ruined early batches of spontaneous beer
  • Maintaining a through-line from homebrewed spontaneous projects to commercial batches in the brewery
  • Creating a San Diego beer that develops with age, inspired by Orval
  • Embracing 750 ml bottles in a market that avoids the format
  • Aging and brewing spontaneous beer with higher-alpha hop varieties
  • Developing a Czech-style pale lager recipe from early homebrew days through today
  • Driving out Saaz hop character that tastes like DMS through boil addition timing
  • Recalibrating for subtlety over intensity with lagers
  • The evolution of San Diego IPA
  • Re-embracing crystal malts in IPA

What kind of brewery would you build if you cared more about authenticity than success or profit? Wiederkehr and Burning Beard strive to live the answer to that question every day.

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, reliability and dedication to their customer’s craft. New this year, Redundancy meets Efficiency! G&D’s Micro-Channel Condensers are built with all aluminum construction which eliminates galvanic corrosion. Using half the refrigerant of conventional condensers with fewer brazed connections, translates to a lower GWP and less opportunity for leaks. Call G&D Chillers today to discuss your project or reach out directly at GDChillers.com

BSG
Meet the latest in the BSG Hop solutions portfolio, Citiva. Strong expressions of stone fruit, floral, and resinous/pine flavors and aromas define this blend, crafted specifically for use in hazy IPAs, and other hop-forward beers. Citiva is ideal for aroma, whirlpool, and dry hop additions to Hazy and Juicy IPAs, or for any other hoppy styles where a combination of citrus, tropical fruit, and pine aromatics are desired. Go to bsgcraftbrewing.com to learn more, or call 1-800-374-2739.

Old Orchard logo 200px
The most common complaint about hard seltzers? They need more flavor. Extract alone is a weak flavoring agent and can leave a chemical aftertaste. But there's a better way. The craft concentrate blends from Old Orchard are packed with REAL FRUIT FIRST, no added sugars, and just enough natural flavor. Breweries are turning to Old Orchard concentrates for seltzer with more body, color, and aroma. Turn seltzer skeptics into supporters with seltzer that drinks like a beer. Get started at www.oldorchard.com/brewer.

BreweryDB LogoC 200px
For years, BreweryDB® has been the industry’s only professionally curated source of brewery and beer information. In 2019, over one million brewery visits were made by craft fans searching for breweries on BreweryDB.com! In just a few weeks, BreweryDB® will unveil an all-new experience to help craft lovers get back on the brewery trail! To take full advantage of the enhanced marketing power of BreweryDB® – and increase your tap room traffic, setup your account on MarketMyBrewery.com. It’s easy and it’s free!

Ss-Brewtech-logo-200px
The founders launched Ss Brewtech with a very clear goal to advance brewing equipment design, performance, and quality to the very highest standards in the industry. With a team that draws upon strong functional backgrounds in brewing science, mechanical engineering, industrial design, supply chain, and manufacturing, Ss Brewtech has the people and skill sets you would want and expect from your supplier of pro brewing equipment. Head over to SsBrewtech.com for more information on their brewhouses and brewing gear.

clarion-lubricants-logo-200px
When it comes to brewing, nobody has your back like Clarion. Because their food-grade lubricants are formulated to help make your brewing system 100% food safe. That means, when you switch to Clarion, you can put the costly potential of contamination and recall out of your mind. All you need to worry about is brewing great beer. And since you already do that, well, it’s more like focusing on business as usual. Go to clarionlubricants.com to learn more.

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

ARTICLES FOR YOU