Are you ready for some hot takes and controversial brewing thoughts?
On this episode of the Brewer to Brewer Podcast Alexandra Nowell of CLS Farms interviews brewer Kevin Davey. From raw ingredients, to lagers, and brewing techniques these long-time friends offer up unparalleled insight into recipes and beyond.
About Kevin Davey
Kevin Davey is a new school lager enthusiast based in the Pacific Northwest who pushes the envelope of what lager can be. After training at the prestigious World Brewing Academy that shares locations in Chicago and Münich, he went on to become lead brewer at Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham, Washington and helped the team to win Small Brewing Company of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011.
After racking up many medals for small-batch, authentic German-style lagers, Kevin moved to Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California to hone his craft at a regional craft brewery. Seattle called him home to the Northwest so he landed as head brewer of Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant in the Pacific Place Mall where he learned the taxing art of brewpub work.
During that time, he won Gold medals for Bock at World Beer Cup and Helles at GABF. He was then sought out to be the principle brewmaster at Wayfinder Beer, marrying his love of Lagers and IPA.
(Davey wrote this bio.)
Alex Nowell: I really want to keep talking about the concept of using rice and corn and beer. And we’re not even going to get on the Cold IPA thing because I feel like you’ve talked about that enough.
I’m not specifically a Budweiser drinker, but I love beer with rice in it. I really do. It’s so light. It’s refreshing. It just has this very clean profile. And I think a lot of times [brewers will say] “I put jasmine rice in this beer.” and I’m like, okay, that’s nice, but I think they missed the point of using rice as a nice, delicate adjunct in the beer.
So where are you using these adjuncts the most?
Kevin Davey: At Wayfinder we have a cereal mash decoction tun. So, we’ve actually been able to take raw product – and at the beginning it was rice flour, we were using literally bags of rice flour – then moving on to a flaked rice just because it was a lot less dusty and mashing it bringing it up to gelatinization rests, boiling it and adding it in as a step decoction.
That works great. Before Cold IPA what I really wanted to do was do adjunct brewing.
And I’ve got friends like Troy Casey, when he was working at AC golden, that I reached out to and asked them what they did.
A lot of them were using syrups. And I asked them about cereal mashing. Does anybody do it still? It’s just so it’s just very, very old school and a lot of people are not doing cereal mashing anymore.
And sadly, I didn’t have any friends at August Schell – I should I should reach out to those people and just chat with them – because I know that they’re still doing a lot of cereal mashing.
I believe Yuengling is doing it as well.
But I’m reaching out to some people that have been in the industry Troy’s dad in particular, Greg Casey, and a raw ingredient supplier. Shout out to Dave Holland at Adams Grains in Sacramento. He used to work at Bud and at some of these other places. And these guys would talk about the flavor profile of corn beers versus rice beers.
And it is subtle, it is nuanced. And I think that from a brewer standpoint, it’s kind of hard to talk about it because we make such hoppy IPA beer and those are not nuanced beers.
But there is something to be said about a beer made with 20 to 30 percent rice. It has a very soft texture. There’s a there’s a there’s a certain pillowy mouthfeel and flavor.
It actually led me into going down a rabbit hole in sake. There’s a local sake brewer here in Oregon, I’ve joined their club and I’ve been buying sake and trying the different ones and different types of polish and trying to learn more about rice itself.
This episode is sponsored by:
Firsd Tea is a proud sponsor of the Brewer to Brewer podcast. Discover the advantage of using new and unique ingredients, like lemon myrtle or lapsang souchong. Firsd Tea has been working with brewers to introduce distinctive, high-quality botanicals for innovative craft beers. They focus on being DIRECT, FLEXIBLE, and FAST. You can find out more about Firsd Tea’s collaborations with brewers and tea ingredients by visiting blog.firsdtea.com.
The above transcript was condensed and edited for clarity.