How our beer is brewed
Water, barley, hops, and yeast. 4 basic ingredients.
We brew our beer using quality ingredients sourced as close to home as possible. Our beer celebrates our local watershed, pacific northwest hops, American barley, and is brewed with love.
(If you’re only interested in the end product, we don’t blame you, head straight to Our Beer.)
Step 1: Malting
Technically the first step is harvesting. But then comes malting, a start/stop germination and heat treatment process during which barley develops its distinct flavor. Like most distribution breweries, we leave our grain malting to the experts; we source our malted barley directly from the Great Western Malting Company.
Step 2: Grinding
Picture the coffee grinder you have at home, only huge. It’s called a grist mill and that’s what we use to crush the barley hulls, exposing the starchy substance inside. It also helps to ensure the grist — or milled barley powder — is the perfect consistency for the next steps.
Step 3: Mashing
In this case, mash refers more to the product than the process. Grist is combined with hot water in a ‘mash tun’ to stimulate a natural enzymatic reaction where starches in the grist convert into sugars. What we’re after here is the liquid byproduct called wort, which will eventually turn into beer.
Step 4: Lautering
The barley’s enzymes have done their job in the Mash process, we have sweet wort. In order to collect the wort, we must separate it from the grain, and add it to our large boiling kettle. The grain gets rinsed with hot water during the collection, in a process called sparging, to extract as much sugar as possible. This liquid also gets added to the kettle.
Step 5: Boiling and hop Addition
Boiling sterilizes the wort and stops the enzymatic reactions so we can control the sugar content. We also add hops to the boil to impart hop flavor and bitterness to balance the malts sweetness. Early-addition hops are used for bittering, and late-addition for flavor and aroma.
Step 6: Fermentation
Now it starts to get beer-y. The wort is cooled using a counter flow heat exchanger as it is transferred to a fermentation vessel. We then add the yeast, which is hungry for all that delicious sugar we just created. When the sugar gets metabolized by the yeast it turns to — drumroll please — alcohol! And CO2. This process takes anywhere from three days to several weeks depending on the style of beer.
Step 7: Dry-Hopping
In short, dry-hopping means hops are added later in the process, during fermentation or conditioning, to cultivate unique flavors and aromas without imparting as much bitterness as boiling the hops does. Not every brew gets dry-hopped, only the ones that are hop forward and would benefit from an aromatic punch, like our IPAs.
Step 8: Conditioning
Fermentation length is dictated by the amount of fermentable sugar in each beer. After all fermentable sugars have been metabolized by the yeast, the beer has reached “Terminal Gravity”, and fermentation is complete. The beer is then cold crashed, or cooled to the point when the yeast becomes dormant, and begins to settle to the bottom of the tank where it can be harvested for re-pitching into a new batch. Once the beer is clear, it gets transferred to a Brite tank for conditioning where proper carbonation and clarification is achieved.
Steps 9 & 10: Packaging
Packaging is the final step to complete our product. Once our beer is carbonated to proper levels, it is then transferred into either kegs, bottles, or cans. We use rigorous operating procedures to ensure our product is packaged with minimal exposure to oxygen, and is handled with extreme care. Once the beer has been packaged, it is ready for the best part, consumption! Cheers!