You asked - he answered. Get to know our head brewer, Matt Redpath through a few questions posed by our online community.
1. Do you plan to make brown ales?
Funny that this question was asked. I have been thinking about making a brown ale at WGBCo. Not many breweries make a brown ale and I feel it is one of those "archaic" brews that are being left behind in the wake of the overly adjunct beers that are flooding the market. If you can make a good brown ale, the flavors that arise are beautifully rich and deep and add complexity with balance. As for the question of a hot dog being a sandwich I refer you to this https://minnesotalawreview.org/2019/02/22/constructing-the-sandwich/
2. What is your favorite wild ale and are there any opportunities for wild ales using local fruits and fermenting/aging in oak barrels ahead?
I question what is "wild" anymore. Most breweries that embrace this style started off with propagating wild yeast, however, they seemed to have domesticated that strain for the consistency of their brews. But if we are discussing using brettanomyces, lactobacillus, acetobacter, and other microorganisms, my first thought "gose" to De Garde. Most of everything they make is well executed and and beautifully crafted, plus, the brewery resides back home from where I hail from. So, every time I go back to visit my family, I usually stop and have a few while spending over $100 to bring some beer back with me. However, I have found a hidden gem in Alesong, A touch of brett. This beer caught me from the first sip. Like its name, it has a touch of brett that helps elevate and accentuate the beer without over bearing the base of it. I do question my logic at times with these two. Alesong comes from Eugene, where I have spent a good decade living and beginning to learn my craft as a brewer by diving into the ranks of homebrewdom. In response to the second part of your question, I do see getting into "wild" ales. Since we are in the middle of farm country and have access to fruits and oak barrels, I am pretty excited to begin a sour program in hopes to propagate local microflora to get a truly local and unique flavor profile. Even though we will not have a coolship initially, I do have some ideas in capturing what is available to us and see what happens. However, with that being said, we do need to be careful in instituting such a program as to not contaminate the rest of the brewery with wild microflora.
3. What was your favorite beer you ever had?
I would have to say this is probably the toughest question that is asked. What was my favorite beer I ever had? Hard to say. I have had so many great beers in my life to now that I would be hard pressed to really give just one. In my college days, I really liked Anderson Valley's IPA and was always my go to. Being from Oregon, there were so many great beers, especially seasonals that I really enjoyed. Twilight and Jubelale from Deshutes, but you can not leave out Black Butte Porter. Haymaker from BridgePort was a nice easy drinking beer. Sessions lager, which came in a stubby bottle, was always good. Moylans kilt lifter Scotch Ale was always a great treat. Pliny the Elder from Russian River, which got me into some trouble at my first paid brewing position. Some of the beers that I did with my head brewer at Gordon Biersch in San Jose were pretty amazing. Rauch Schwarzbier, Eisebock, and an Imperial oaked aged Pilsner. The Alesong, A touch of Brett. Many of De Garde's beers. Green State Lager from Zero Gravity. The list goes on and on, so to try and answer that question, I am stumped to give a single beer that I can point to as my favorite.
4. What style is your favorite to brew? And to drink?
This question is a little in line of the previous question. However, I have enjoyed many styles that I have brewed. Much of which I have to say has given me the experience to bring to WGBCo. In the end, there will always be a soft spot for me and lagers. They are truly one of the best styles and probably hardest to get right. Many probably stick their noses up to lagers because there is this sentiment of wanting to be smacked in the face with fruits or over abundance of hops or some off the wall flavoring that really hides the base beer. However, if you nail a lager just right, the nuances of that beer work in a harmonious melody that exudes balance. That is what I was taught when I worked for Gordon Biersch, full flavor beer that operates in a world of balance. The Germans knew how to create and sell beer. You want to take a drink and get a sensation of flavor, but it should drop off. As it drops off, and the need to experience that rush of flavor comes over you and you drink again to experience that first sip. It never overpowers your palate to the point of exhaustion. When it comes down to the beers that I tend to drink, being from the West Coast, or what I have been told, Left Coast, I am a hop head at heart and will always enjoy a good IPA, but I will always enjoy a well crafted lager. If you ever want to know how a brewery is doing, drink their lightest beer. Lightest in alcohol, and flavor. That is their base beer.
5. How long have you been brewing?
Depends on when you want to start. If you are asking about when I started brewing, like my homebrewing days, I have been brewing for about 18 years. If you are looking at my professional experience only, I have been brewing for 12 years.
6. How often do you taste test?
As much as this seems to be a funny question, it is also a professional question. My answer is everyday with beers in the tank and on tap at the brewery. It is not to really enjoy the beer, but to actually see where in the process the beer resides and making sure it is tasting good coming out of the beer taps. If at any point you sense an off flavor, then you must begin the process of what you are tasting and what could be the cause. Because in the end, a responsible brewer will have to make the determination of dumping the beer. We do not take it lightly and understand the possible wasted sales, but it comes down to the brewery and the brewer's reputation.
7. Do you like to add unusual flavors to your beer or stick to more traditional flavors?
I don't mind adding "unusual" flavors to beers. There are many ingredients outside the main four that adds to the experience and flavor of beer. I encourage using any extra ingredients to give your beer an added dimension to its flavor profile. I do condemn using "unusual" ingredients in excess in which it overpowers the base of the beer. As for "traditional," there are many traditional beers that have used ingredients outside of the main four. I am hoping to try some traditional farmhouse beers that use some unusual ingredients, like juniper. Outside of those types of "traditional," I do enjoy just brewing beers as well. In the end, I believe that the base beer or "traditional" beer should not be overshadowed by the "unusual" ingredient.
8. What inspired you to go into beer making?
There were many factors that inspired me to get into brewing. Being from Oregon, I was surrounded by craft beer. While at college, my roommate came home with some homebrew equipment that he acquired from his girlfriend's parents at the time. So we did our first brew, which was a Newcastle clone. We did everything wrong to that batch, but what really came out of it was the new found love for brewing. At the time, I was not really looking to brew professionally. Until, I was offered a job at a homebrew shop in Santa Cruz, CA. So, I moved from Eugene to Santa Cruz and really delved into my craft on the homebrew level. I was steeped in a wonderful community of brewing and was volunteering my time at local breweries. I sought out to get into a paid position and begin my career. I started at a brewpub group called BJ's Restaurants and Brewhouse. After six months, they closed the brewery down and I was offered an assistant brewer's position at Gordon Biersch in San Jose with a head brewer who I highly respected in the industry. I believe my interest really piqued because I got to work with an amazing brewer.
9. Do you plan on making any gluten reduced beers (e.g. Brewers Clarex)?
We probably will not start off with a gluten reduced beer, but it is definitely on my radar to include.