Set Your Compass for Lindgren Craft Brewery, Duncannon PA
Greetings! Thank you for navigating to the BSG Blog. Today we’re spending a little quality time with Rahr North Star Pils™, a domestic pilsner malt with low color, low modification, and irresistible overtones of honey and sweet bread.
Joining us is Jason Simmons, Head Brewer at Lindgren Craft Brewery in Duncannon, PA. Jason was a career EMT and firefighter before he discovered homebrewing in 2003. His passion for beer soon led to cleaning and filling kegs at a local brewery, and he’s been hopping wort and pitching yeast ever since. The following back-and-forth on beer has been edited for length and clarity.
BSG: Hi Jason! What can you tell us about Lindgren Craft Brewery?
Jason: Our brewery is a father and son team – Clifford and Michael Lindgren. They are both commercial turkey farmers. I met my boss, Michael, when I was working at a local brewery down the road here in Harrisburg. He was my intern, and over the years he went to Siebel, got his advanced brewing degree, and started up a brewery. Because I knew about his business background and brewing background, I knew we could succeed; I joined them as Head Brewer five years ago.
We’re located on the Appalachian Trail, and we say that our motto is we are Adventurously Brewed. We love brewing with everything we can. I love breaking apart the science and creating odd stuff. And because we believe beer is agriculture, we deal with as many farms as we can in our county and surrounding area.
BSG: What kind of beers are you known for brewing?
Jason: We love classic styles. We love working with different farmers. One we just finished up was a Saison brewed with shiitake mushrooms from a local forest farm. We make a Sweet Potato Pale Ale, a Popcorn Cream Ale, and we did a Fig Brown Ale with a local fig farmer. This year we made seven batches of fresh hop beers – when the hop farmer got sick during harvest we picked the hops by hand. All the growers got together and we just picked like busy beavers for five days.
We have an excellent relationship with them and we share what we learn. We get the farmers bringing people in and drinking the beer we made with ingredients from their field.
BSG: Let’s hear about Exploring the North Star, your Pennsylvania Hop Hash Lager.
Jason: Of course. One of the local hop farms we work with had just finished drying [their crop], and I wanted to showcase the flavors in a nice, light, clean and easy-drinking lager.
We decided to use North Star Pils after seeing it on Instagram. The description of honey and bread was something we wanted. Not only is the [malt] great for showcasing hops, but you don’t really need [to hop] that much when you’re putting in 13 IBU.
Then we used our Appalachian water, untouched, because it’s nice and soft and basic. It came out at 4.5% ABV and everybody’s been loving it. Nothing over the top, just an all-day beer.
BSG: How did North Star Pils perform in the brewhouse?
Jason: Amazing. It looked great and gave us excellent mash efficiency. Everything was as expected and the flavor’s amazing too. I got a clean cracker type of flavor with a soft, light honey finish. I didn’t get much nuttiness in the finished beer. We are extremely proud of this beer and 100%, we’re definitely keeping it around.
BSG: Where else might you use Rahr NSP?
Jason: I’ve used it in an Oat Ale that was 55% oats and 40% NSP. Just because I wanted to drink it. We also used 5% of the Rahr Distillers Malt in there just to get a little extra diastatic power for all that oats. I wasn’t sure how it would fare out, but I got a three-hour boil and it came out as handsomely clear as you can imagine.
I’ve also brewed a Pale Ale with NSP and like 5% Simpsons Aromatic to throw flavor at it. We used a local farmer’s Comet hops in that one and it came out amazing – we keep that on every day. It’s called Cats Are Like Comets, because they got tails and they do what they want.
BSG: What else is on the horizon for Lindgren Craft Brewery? Are you renovating right now?
Jason: Yes. We bought a bank in downtown Duncannon in January of 2020, two months before the pandemic hit. It was built in 1924 from Indiana limestone and closed in 2016. We started at the family farm in a 16×16 foot room. We’re currently on a 3BBL Stout system with six fermenters and two brites. We’re increasing to 15 barrels, and we’ll have an actual tasting room and restaurant. We’re partnering with friends down the road who have a steak shop called Old Trail Tavern. We’ve been big fans of them. They’ve been serving our beer for five years and they’re super smart.
BSG: Sounds like there’s loads to look forward to! Thanks for telling us about your beers, Jason!
Want to read more about Jason’s adventures in brewing? Check out his article on the Pennsylvania Swankey. For everything else, contact your BSG rep.