Podcast Episode 240: Eric Larkin of Cohesion Approaches Lager Expression Through Limitation

Through his career, Cohesion’s Eric Larkin has always gravitated to breweries with narrower style focuses. Now, with the Czech-style lager focus of his new endeavor, he’s exploring the creativity possible within the bounds of style expectations.

Jamie Bogner May 28, 2022 - 5 min read

Podcast Episode 240: Eric Larkin of Cohesion Approaches Lager Expression Through Limitation Primary Image

Photo © Starchefs

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Eric Larkin enjoys constraints. Throughout his brewing career, he’s been drawn to breweries that have set up their own guardrails around the styles of beer they brew—such as Allagash’s Belgian style focus, or the hazy IPAs of Odd13. With Cohesion in Denver, he and his wife Lisa have fully embraced Czech-style lager. The presentation is top-notch, with a focus on foam and a variety of beers and pour styles, but narrowing down the beer approach has given Larkin a tight range within which to work, and he thrives on that challenge.

Don’t call them “authentic,” though—these beers are traditional, even reverent, but they don’t need to lean on that difficult “A” word to be worth drinking. Instead, the experience of drinking them at the brewery clearly expresses their intentionality. The presentation and care is evident in every pour.

In this episode, Larkin discusses their approach to brewing Czech-style lagers, including:

  • the importance of dialing in soft water
  • developing an under-modified pilsner malt with a local craft maltster
  • the necessity of decoction, and levels of decoction for specific beers
  • adjusting for mash temperature impacts of decoction
  • working with lower-attenuating Czech yeast in open fermentors
  • whole-cone versus pellet hops
  • the range of possibility within the seemingly narrow tradition

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].