In this panel discussion on lagers recorded at the Forever Lager ’24 Festival at Notch Brewing, Khris Johnson of Green Bench Brewing, Ben Howe of Otherlands Brewing, and Tom Clark of Berwick Brewing, talk about where lagers are today, and ways to honor tradition while looking forward.

What goes through the mind of a brewer when they begin brewing a lager? What have the advancements of ingredients brought to the glass? And are there ways to experiment with the style without losing sight of tradition? The trio of brewers weigh in.


Ben Howe started brewing professionally in 2007 after landing a gig washing, filling, and delivering kegs at Cambridge Brewing Company.  After 4 years learning under Will Meyers and Megan Parisi, Ben was arrogant enough to open Enlightenment Ales in Lowell, MA in 2012, a project focused on biere de Champagne and farmhouse ales. In 2014 he partnered up with Idle Hands Brewing Co., producing both brands in Everett, MA. In 2015 Ben accepted a job as head brewer at Ebeltoft Gårdbryggeri in rural Denmark and in 2017 was lucky enough to intern at two small breweries in Franconia, Germany and northern France. After returning to the US in 2017 he worked under Kevin Davey at Wayfinder Beer in Portland Oregon, finally opening Otherlands Beer in Bellingham, WA with his wife Karolina Lobrow in 2020, right into the goddamned pandemic. It’s never what you expect.”

Tom Clark is the owner of Berwick Brewing Co. in Pennsylvania, where he focuses on German-style lagers.He began as a brewing apprentice at New Amsterdam Brewing, before launching a homebrew supply business in Red Bank, New Jersey, with later became Red Bank Brewing Co. Later he worked as a brewer in Germany, and as an assistant brewmaster at Minnesota Brewing Co. He has also worked as a brewery consultant.

Khris Johnson is the Head Brewer and Co-Owner of Green Bench Brewing Co. and Webb’s City Cellar. An industry professional for over 14 years, Khris is also a Founding Faculty Member of the USF St. Petersburg Brewing Arts Program, the Vice President of Beer Kulture, a Board Member of The Michael James Jackson Foundation for Brewing and Distilling, and a Founding Board Member of the National Black Brewers Association of America. 

Hear the whole conversation on the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast. Download via Apple PodcastsSpotify, Overcast, or wherever you download shows.