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We recorded this episode of the podcast live from Odell Brewing on Sloan’s Lake as part of our recent Brewery Workshop: New Brewery Accelerator event in Denver. The three panel guests—Jake Gardner, director of brewing operations at Westbound & Down; Marni Wahlquist, head brewer at Odell Sloan’s Lake; and Sean Buchan, owner and head brewer at Cerebral—represent a compelling cross-section of IPA from Denver and the Rocky Mountain region. All three are Great American Beer Festival medal winners, and Westbound & Down is fresh off GABF 2023 gold in West Coast–Style IPA and silver in New Zealand IPA (not to mention a bronze for their Coloradan Mexican-style lager).
In this episode, these three panelists cover the gamut of IPA, from hazy to clear, as they discuss the ingredients, techniques, and general approaches that define their IPA brewing programs. Over the course of the discussion, they touch on:
- the impact of hazy IPA on West Coast IPA
- selecting hop lots to span different IPA styles
- maximizing hop saturation with modern hop products
- designing malt support in contemporary IPA
- drying out West Coast IPA without sacrificing body
- avoiding the trap of sweet-on-sweet in hazy IPA
- choosing bittering hops for smoothness
- maximizing hop quality without participating in hop selection
- the reversion to the mean of drinkability in hop-forward styles
And more. While brewing cutting-edge IPA might not be the most profitable thing for a brewery to do, it speaks to why so many brewers and consumers are attracted to craft beer in general. As Gardner says, “Westbound & Down’s history is not a good one to show how hop product can make you more money. They’re just a way we light money on fire to have tons of fun. But that being said, there’s a business strategy in that too. Our customer base is along for the ride.”
This episode is brought to you by:
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