Podcast Episode 332: Chicago’s Dovetail Finds Harmony and Cohesion in their Modern Approach to Traditional Methods

What’s old is new again for Chicago’s Dovetail—direct-fire decoction, open fermentation, and coolshipping hoppy lager with whole-cone hops are just a few of the ways this classically focused brewery finds ways to build character in their lagers.

Jamie Bogner Dec 1, 2023 - 6 min read

Podcast Episode 332: Chicago’s Dovetail Finds Harmony and Cohesion in their Modern Approach to Traditional Methods Primary Image

Brittany Gedwill, Hagen Dost, and Dan Modica of Dovetail

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Chicago’s Dovetail has earned a reputation for its refined yet flavorful lagers, but the team’s dogged approach to traditional methods is less about religion and more about expression—these techniques and processes allow them to imbue their beers with attributes they want while minimizing those they want to avoid or keep in the background. Each beer they make is like a musical score—a recipe designed to hit the right notes with the orchestra of instruments they’ve assembled. Whether that’s multiple decoctions, dropping temperatures in the coolship before adding whole-cone hops to a hop-forward lager, or how often they skim the open fermentors, they’ve considered the cumulative impact of each of the intermediate notes.

In this episode, cofounder Hagen Dost, production manager Brittany Gedwill, and sales director Dan Modica outline their reverent and rigorous approach to making helles, pilsner, and Kölsch-style ale. Along the way, they also touch on:

  • creating slushies with aged spontaneous beer
  • defining parameters around “traditional methods” for lager brewing
  • the benefits of direct-fire decoction
  • coolshipping lagers with whole-cone hops for “harmony and cohesion”
  • the varying impacts of step mashing, single decoction, and triple decoction with thick and thin mashes
  • the necessity of sulfur and malt character in helles
  • walking the fine line in timing of Kölsch fermentation
  • brewing rauchbier with 95 percent smoked malt

And more.

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