Podcast Episode 350: Kelly McKnight of New Belgium Highlights the R&D Behind Some of Craft’s Biggest Beers

Beer as a whole may be navigating rough seas in 2024, but New Belgium has found a map to growth with flavor-forward hazy IPAs in their Voodoo Ranger family. In this episode, lead R&D brewer Kelly McKnight sheds light on the team and process behind these industry-changing beers.

Jamie Bogner Mar 15, 2024 - 5 min read

Podcast Episode 350: Kelly McKnight of New Belgium Highlights the R&D Behind Some of Craft’s Biggest Beers Primary Image

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Kelly McKnight could have done a lot of other things—she was a sponsored pro skateboarder and snowboarder in her younger years, and she studied pre-med at Harvard—but she found such solace and relief in brewing that she changed paths to brew professionally. Now, she’s lead R&D brewer in one of the beer world’s most successful innovation programs, using all of tools at the their disposal to understand flavor and expression in beer.

In this episode, the New Belgium brewer touches on:

  • bench testing new ingredients
  • the process behind reinventing Fat Tire
  • chemical analysis of hops and hop blends
  • using natural flavors in IPA
  • process engineering to move ideas to large-scale production
  • exacting dry-hop automation
  • offbeat fruits that work well in beer

And more.

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ProBrew is changing the game at this year’s CBC in Las Vegas. As part of ProMach Craft Beer Solutions, we are presenting a holistic approach to craft brewing operations. Through our display of animations, holograms, and machinery, we will be highlighting how we can advance every aspect of your production line. Visit go.probrew.com/CBC24 or contact us at [email protected] to schedule one on one time with one of our subject matter experts at Booth #1783 at this year’s show. ProBrew, Brew YOUR Beer.

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Old Orchard has supplied flavored craft juice-concentrate blends to more than 46 states for the production of fruit-forward beer, cider, seltzer, wine, spirits, and more. By partnering with some of the biggest names in the craft-brewing landscape, Old Orchard has become a go-to source of fruit-forward ingredients. To learn more and request your free samples, head over to oldorchard.com/brewer.

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ABS Commercial has been a full-service brewery outfitter for more than 10 years. We are proud to offer brewhouses, tanks, keg washers, and preventative maintenance parts to brewers across the country as well as equipment for distilling, cider-making, wine-making, and more! We know the ins and outs of the brewing and installation process and can design the perfect set-up for you, whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand. Contact us today at [email protected] to discuss your customized brewery needs. ABS Commercial. We are brewers.

Ss Brewtech was founded by a group of home and craft-beer brewers, dedicated to bringing an engineering-first approach to brewery equipment. Ss brewhouses are used to formulate new beer recipes at some of the world’s greatest breweries and are the cornerstone of many local breweries. To learn more about Ss Brewtech’s innovation list, head over to SsBrewtech.com.

Some brewers want their water profile to be that of their city and that sounds great ... except for one factor: Depending upon the city and day, the water quality can vary 40 to 50 percent. So a Monday brew can taste very different from a Thursday brew. Savvy brewers know that since beer is like 95 percent water, the best method is to start with the same water every time. Reverse Osmosis gives you that power. Visit US Water Systems.com for a free expert analysis.

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