Podcast Episode 203: Sam Tierney of Firestone Walker Takes the Dynamic Approach to Flavor

Firestone Walker’s Propagator brewhouse manager discusses the R&D process for popular beer families such as Luponic Distortion and Mind Haze, as they follow the path of subtle but continual evolution.

Jamie Bogner Sep 7, 2021 - 5 min read

Podcast Episode 203: Sam Tierney of Firestone Walker Takes the Dynamic Approach to Flavor Primary Image

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Firestone Walker doesn’t rest on its laurels. Innovation and new product development are constants within the creative boundaries of flavor that define the brewery. Underpinning all of that is an expectation of quality—i.e., it’s Firestone Walker, so it has to be great.

Sam Tierney, who heads up Firestone Walker’s Propagator brewery in Los Angeles, has carved out space in this high-performance organization, earning respect for flavor-driven experimentation that continues to feed into the evolution of Firestone Walker beers.

In this episode, Tierney discusses:

  • The parameters of the innovation process
  • Triangulating experimental beers with new hops against existing brewery knowledge
  • The consumer-focused tasting and evaluation process using Firestone taprooms
  • Mind Haze and hop evaluation in the world of hazy beer
  • The influence of Bavarian hefeweizen and Belgian witbier on hazy IPA
  • How appearance affects flavor perception
  • Moving to malted more than flaked ingredients
  • How ABV affects hop expression
  • Pushing beers to the “ester breaking point”
  • Tailoring base recipes to ingredient approach in IPA
  • Exploring hoppy lager and the impact of sulfur on hop expression

And more.

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].