On this episode of Brewer to Brewer Mitch Steele of New Realm Brewing Co. interviews Matt Cole of Fat Head’s Brewery. The duo talk about competitions, both beer and barbecue.

The Conversation

Mitch Steele: There’s a lot of breweries that come and go in these competitions that win for a few years in a row, make a great name for themselves, and then kind of drop off from the metal counts.

I haven’t seen that from you. Obviously, Head Hunter is an amazing IPA. It’s one of the best IPAs in the world. How do you how do you approach entering these competitions? And what would you attribute your success to more than anything?

Matt Cole: That it’s a loaded question, for sure.

I really believe it starts with raw materials. We try to source the best hops in the world, and we’re not a small brewery so we have a little buying power. We try to find great hops that will make  impactful contributions to our beer.

We really look at packaging. I’m not afraid to disclose that a lot of our smaller brewery brew pub beers we try to not even transfer them. We fine and carbonate right in the tank. We look for very low PPM of packaging and try to get below 30 in our filler. We try to get into the single digits to try to ultimately have the best shelf life we can.

But it’s really about balance. You know what I mean? It’s about drinkability and I don’t want to, steer off too far but having Head Hunter willing in the World Beer Cup, you have European judges, and it’s different from the Great American Beer Festival. I think that sometimes the GABF might be a little bit about who can outrank their neighbor in bigger aromas, and more aggressive even.

I think it really boils down to raw materials, great packaging, and a lot of attention to detail. It’s really about good sound brewing practices, throwing the best raw materials in there, and creating drinkability, and having a great beer. I think that’s, that’s key.

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This episode is sponsored by:

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The above transcript was condensed and edited for clarity.