As the craft beer scene in the Hudson Valley has grown exponentially over the past two decades, so too has interest in brewing. Whether the product be small batches of homemade beer or macro lagers, drinkers want to know how the sausage is made, then make it themselves.
Brewing, as it turns out, is just as much a science as it is an art, and its lexicon can be quite intimidating. In the process of making a beer, a brewer malts, mills, mashes, extracts, boils, cools, aerates, ferments, adds hops, and separates yeast, just to name a few of the verbs involved.
To get a better idea of what goes into the process of making a beer, we asked Chase Planson—head brewer at The Drowned Lands Brewery in Warwick—a few questions about his job.
“I really enjoy the balance of science and art that beer making entails. It is very fulfilling creating something and then being able to consume and enjoy it.”
On the production side, it starts with using simple, high-quality ingredients. After that, it’s all about a diligent process. From a consumer standpoint, I believe time and place play a more significant [role] than just the beer itself—which can make the beer even better.
Brewing has a lot of daily repetition. Most of the time, you are doing the same motions and movements, but using different ingredients and making a completely different style of beer. Brewing is also a very physically demanding job, so you have to be willing to sweat, get wet, and move around a lot.
It’s taking a deeper look into everything it takes to make beer, from enzyme reactions in malt to calculating fluid dynamics. It really rounds out your perspective on how truly complicated the beer-making process is.
I really enjoy the balance of science and art that beer making entails. It is very fulfilling creating something and then being able to consume and enjoy it. It’s also nice to make a product that brings people together and sparks conversation.
We [make] many different styles of beer utilizing old and new world techniques—from simple, low-ABV table beers to fruited sours to triple IPAs. Aside from doing clean stainless-steel beers, we have many foeders (large oak vessels) where we [facilitate] mixed fermentations and clean conditioning.
We are big fans of Belgian beers, so being able to create those brings us great joy, and they are rarely brewed here in the Hudson Valley. Also, Warwick is full of beautiful landscapes and rich agricultural history, which our brewery and tasting room truly captures.
Find Time, Helles Lager. It’s such an easy drinking and balanced beer for daily drinking.
I think we’ll continue to see the movement toward low-ABV beers, particularly lagers. Low-ABV beers have survived the test of time, so there’s really no surprise people are getting back into it.