Photo Essay: Odin Brewery (Seattle, Wa) Pt. II

As a brewer you’re also a janitor. Hygiene and cleanliness within the brewery is mandatory. One live bacteria cell in the wrong liquids with throw off a batch, creating skunky flavors that will make you never want a fresh pint again. So, after each boil, after each process from the mash tun to lauter tun, to kettle and whirlpool, to the last stages of the fermenter and into the keg, each component needs to be cleaned once, twice and three times more to assure the waters are neutral and all ingredients are fresh without stray additives. Drains throughout the brewery are necessary so hoses can be laid while insides and outsides of the equipment are washed clean. Common cleaning agents besides hot water are bleach, iodine and caustic acid.  According to Nick Heppenstall, head brewer at Odin Brewery in Seattle, Washington, “A brewer is just a beer-loving janitor.”

“Belgium was a poor country and they wanted to get drunk, so they used whatever was cheap to make alcohol. And it was whatever happened to be down the street. So, you know, who knows what kind of sugar it was. It probably was more beet-based because there’s not a lot of sugarcane in Europe.”

“I love the regional aspect of craft brewing. Anywhere you have people who love craft beer, you’ll have craft breweries. Take Texas for example.  Austin is full of people who love craft beer and it’s also full of craft breweries. Dallas on the other hand doesn’t have that passion for craft beer, hence no craft breweries.”

Photo Essay: Odin Brewery (Seattle, Wa) Pt. I

A brewer is a chef. It takes knowledge of your ingredients and skills with your equipment to create a fabulous feast. Same goes for beer brewing. You must know your tools, your ingredients, and the science behind their reactions and interactions. Nick Heppenstall, head brewer of Odin Brewery in Seattle, Washington has perfected this science into a tasty art-form of craftsman beers.

With a background in biochemistry, Nick heads up the recipes for all beers coming out of Odin Brewery. His mission is to brew a beer that pairs perfectly with the right kinds of food, and to do this, the beer must have the right density levels of water to sugars, a balanced pH level of acids, and a comfortable temperature with the right carbonation.

“Consistency is my first priority. I believe in keeping things simple. If I can do something simple and good, it’s easier for me to make it better.”

Water, grains and the essential hop flowers are key ingredients to crafting a fine brew; three ingredients combined into a myriad of concoctions to intensify certain aspects of flavor.  Next add nutmeg, orange peel, extra sugar, or a compound called amylase to discover sweet palettes, higher alcohol percentage or a drier taste.

“My experience in microbiology has been absolutely valuable to my understanding of brewing beer. Anyone who want’s to brew good beer should study microbiology.”

“Beer Fest is a great movie, but I prefer Strange Brew!”