It’s a love of lagers episode on the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast from four brewers that have fully embraced the traditions to the style and are working to have modern conversations in the space. You’ll hear from Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Bagby Beer, Heater Allen, and Cohesion Brewing.
It was a beautiful weather day in Duluth, Georgia last weekend as Good Word Brewing put on its third Little Beer Festival. Todd DiMatteo, who you’ve heard on this show, hosted a celebration of low ABV lagers and ales from top-notch brewers from around the country.
The brewery has already set the date for Little Beer IV: Saturday April 13, 2024. It’s a perfect setting and a charming town just outside of Atlanta and if you’re serious about great beer and the people who make it, be sure to be there next year.
It’s not just beer drinking at this fest but also some education. Under the shade of a large tree in the middle of the green John Holl was able to sit down with four brewers of note to talk about their love of lagers and the steps they are taking to create delicious beers.
Lisa Allen of Heater Allen and Gold Dot Beer in Oregon, came to be a brewer via the wine industry, but is no stranger to craft beer. A native Oregonian, Lisa grew up in a family of homebrewers and craft beer enthusiasts. In 2007 her father, Rick Allen, started Heater Allen Brewing, concentrating on German and Czech-style lager beers. Lisa joined the brewery in late 2009 and started as many brewers do: cleaning kegs. Since then Lisa has done just about every job there is to do in a brewery and currently runs the day to day operations. Earlier this year Lisa and her partner, Kevin Davey, announced their purchase of Heater Allen Brewing and launched their own brand, Gold Dot Beer.
Jeff Bagby of Bagby Beer in California, has been a professional brewer in San Diego for 25 years. He left a key position as Director of Brewery Operations at Pizza Port at the end of 2011 to start Bagby Beer Company with his wife Dande. Jeff started his professional brewing career at Stone in 1997. He has spent time brewing for Oggi’s and just over a decade at Pizza Port. Jeff is a native San Diegan – only leaving Southern California to complete his higher education at UCSB. Jeff is passionate about creating excellent, classic, true-to-style, and drinkable beers. Jeff is also responsible for the cocktail, spirit, and guest beer programs at Bagby Beer.
Ashleigh Carter of Bierstadt Lagerhaus in Denver Colorado, is one of the owners and is the Head Brewer at Bierstadt Lagerhaus in Denver Colorado. In her eleven year career in brewing, she has gone from working in a homebrew shop packaging specialty malt, to an assistant brewer at Dry Dock Brewing (Aurora, CO), to the Lead Brewer at Prost Brewing (Denver, CO), and now is in charge of everything beer at Bierstadt. Her vision of a three malt, two hop lager brewery, replete with horizontal lager tanks and a hard-to-find outside of Bavaria floatation tank is firmly rooted in traditional techniques and patience.
Eric Larkin of Cohesion Brewing in Denver is a beer enthusiast, who has worked in the brewing industry for just over 11 years. After swearing he would never open a brewery, he found himself captivated by the culture, history, and production methods of lager in the Czech Republic and opened Cohesion Brewing with his wife Lisa in 2021. Prior to that, Eric worked at a number of breweries also known for exploration of specific styles including New England IPAs at Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette, CO and Belgian styles at Allagash Brewing in Portland, ME. Now, he tries to find any excuse to explore beer across the US and Europe for what can be dubbed a “work trip”.