Podcast Episode 201: Michael Messenie of Dutchess Ales Loves to Keep Ale Real

It’s hard work to keep things simple, and this New York brewery proves that maxim with complex fermentations for their core beers and an ongoing focus on ales served on cask.

Jamie Bogner Aug 23, 2021 - 5 min read

Podcast Episode 201: Michael Messenie of Dutchess Ales Loves to Keep Ale Real Primary Image

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For cofounders Michael Messenie and Tim Lee, the idea behind Dutchess Ales in Wassaic, New York, was to recreate the kinds of cask-conditioned ale they loved when living in Britain. If you’ve enjoyed a proper pint of cask ale in New York City in recent years, there’s a good chance it came from Dutchess.

Today, the brewery is branching out, brewing beer for distribution at a host brewery on Long Island, and even making forays into lagers (such as Ketzer Helles, which scored a 98/100 with our blind panel). But their first love is, and always will be, cask ale.

These are no historical reenactors. Messenie blends just a touch of inspiration from his Southern California roots with this British focus, resulting in beers that aren’t slavish renditions but exhibit a flash of personality (within proper context). That same fusion with a heavy dose of tradition informs newer beers such as GB Pale Ale, where seven malts and a copitched blend of three yeast strains lends it notes of past and present.

In this episode, Messenie discusses:

  • Cask ale roots, history, and inspiration
  • How pale ale speaks in a more compelling way than IPA
  • Brewing GB Pale Ale with blended yeast and an evolving malt bill
  • Tilting pub ales toward a drier finish
  • Blending malts to build character
  • Finding interesting notes in lesser-known English hops
  • Working collaboratively through contract brewing

And more.

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