Bad Weather, Great Lagers
Bad Weather Brewing Company of St. Paul, MN has built a reputation on their flavorful ales like flagships Ominous (a double brown ale) and Windvane (a red IPA). Recently, though, they’ve added a series of German lagers to their lineup that have been very well received both in and out of the taproom – BSG HandCraft was lucky enough to pour a couple kegs of their Dortmunder at their beer station during Homebrew Con in Minneapolis this June.
We sat down with Bad Weather’s head brewer Andy Ruhland to talk lagers:
BSG: The Dortmunder is one of a few pale lagers that Bad Weather has done after many years of intensely-flavored ales – what brought it into being? Market forces, labor of love, a challenge, or just an opportunity to change it up?
AR: From day 1 of being hired it was my intention to brew lagers. Specifically Pale German Lagers. They are my favorite styles to drink, they are simple and elegant yet incredibly hard to brew, and I love a challenge. Limited tank space kept us from doing that right away. After our first cellar expansion the window opened. We started with a Munich Helles, then the Dortmunder Export, and a Maibock (available at the time of this writing, taproom only). I’m hoping to continue at least 1 lager offering fairly regularly at the taproom.
BSG: What were the malts used in the Dortmunder?
AR: We used all Weyermann® malts with the Dortmunder. Barke® Pils, Barke® Munich, Carafoam®, and Acidulated malts.
BSG: How were they to work with?
AR: We had excellent extract and clarity on the brewhouse. I was looking for a malt that would help me get that authentic “Dort” character. I think we achieved that along with the double decoction mash. In reality a single infusion would suffice for these malts but when I think of how these beers have been brewed historically you don’t mess with tradition.