We couldn’t think of a better way to introduce Nate than to ask him questions about his craft. Getting a handle on Nate’s approach and brewing style is best left to your taste buds, but there’s some things you can’t know until you ask. If you think we left anything out:
Q: How were your experiences working with Founders and Deschutes Brewery?
A: Amazing! They are such incredible breweries. Their teams make great beer. I grew a lot as a brewer at both and cherish the relationships I made there.
Q: What makes a good brewer?
A: Cleanliness! Clean beer starts with a clean brewery.
Q: What’s the best piece of brewing advice you’ve ever received?
A: If you want to make a small fortune brewing, start with a large one.
Q: In the brewing scene, grudge match Portland vs Bend, who wins?
A: Bend- It’s currently the only area when you drink the beer I brewed 😉
Q: Does having a degree in chemical engineering give you a unique perspective on brewing? Did you have a specific moment while attending university where your understanding really took off, or did that happen in the field?
A: The chemical engineering degree I wouldn’t say has given me a unique perspective, there are a lot of us out there with such degrees. What I would say with regards to that particular degree is that it’s given me confidence to solve problems when they arise in the brewery and it has also helped with getting interviews.
Q: How key are quality ingredients in the brewing process?
A: Like clean beer, quality beer starts off with quality ingredients. Not all hops, malt, yeast and the companies who provide them are created equal. A cascade hop is a cascade hop but depending on the lot it came from you can actually have quit a bit a difference in the intensities of the flavors. So I like to make sure when selecting ingredients that we are using the best available to us.
Q: What are some traditional styles you’re fond of?
A: My favorite traditional style would have to be Imperial Stout, I love the bold flavors and there are so many versions of them to try.
Q: What fringe ingredients have you had successes with especially with respect to style of beer?
A: If you make it down to the pub, you can try my potato stout that’s on nitro. The potatoes don’t add any flavor but it enhances the mouthfeel and gets even creamier with the addition of Nitrogen. It’s like an and oatmeal stout on steroids.
Q: Tell us about a project you had high hopes for that turned into a disaster.
A: Potato stout has been a work in progress, the potato can really gum up the mash tun and can wreck havoc on a brew day.
Q: What’s your current favorite Craft beer and why?
A: 9th Plague Imperial Stout- It’s a beer that I’ve been working on professionally for a few years. It’s got a lot of character for an imperial stout with no bells or whistles. I have a few versions I’m working on for this year.
Q: West coast IPA’s…what would you use? Flowers, pellets, extract, powder, or oil?
A: From my experience you can make incredible beers with any of those products. I will say I primarily use pellets but was really impressed with oils when I’ve worked with them in the large breweries.
Q: What are some bad habits you feel like brewers should watch out for?
A: Lack of cleanliness, bashing fellow brewers and breweries, and rushing product through process.
Q: Can you offer any advice to the amateur brewers out there looking to craft an epic creation?
A: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and push the limits of your ability and brewhouse. It’ll be a sad day but all brewers make mistakes and sometimes the beer ends up down the drain. Don’t panic it’s just money. The important thing is you learn from them and get back on the brewhouse!
about the author
A beer nerd of epic proportions, Courtney spends her time heckling her friends, making sarcastic remarks, and appreciating the finer qualities of good beer. She has over 3k check-ins on Untappd, but they are not politically correct enough to be made public.
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