Brewer Q&A: Brewing a Beer with Instant Potatoes

With the launch of our new Faux Snow IPA, we opted to bring back our Brewer Q&A series to discuss what makes this beer so special. One of our blog writers, Dan Shapiro sat down with Head Brewer Layton Cutler and asked him a few questions about our latest release.

Dan: So we made a White IPA called Faux Snow. What does a White IPA mean?

Layton: White IPA tends to use no colored malts, it’s super pale. Sometimes you can use Belgian yeast too, but not always. A lot of oats, tons of wheat. It makes it a little more grainy, generally a better beer to convey all the hops, because there’s no malt character that comes through to make it sweeter. It’s pretty much a beer that we try to push for hop flavor and aroma, without the malt background to distract.

D: What kind of hops did we use?

L: Because it’s called Faux Snow and we wanted to give it a “Winter Wonderland” theme, we used very piney hops like Chinook and Simcoe®, that tend to have that piney aroma and flavor.

D: We used some extra ingredients here as well. What are they, and what do they do?

L: We used spruce tips to double down on that piney flavor. They give you that aroma and flavor of a freshly cut Christmas tree. We also used a very small amount of potato flakes – it was kind of our inside joke. In Hollywood, when they use fake snow it’s with potato flakes and giant fans. But it is a starch, so it will ferment.

D: How exactly did you add the potato flakes in?

L: We put them in the mash. We wanted the starch to be converted to fermentable sugars, so we put it in then when the enzymes would turn it to sugar. But when you add water to it, it expands a lot, so we couldn’t add too much because it would gunk up the whole process. We had a lot left over, and it was our intern’s last day so we decided to prank him. He really likes mashed potatoes, so we made a giant bucket of the stuff and poured it on him. He wasn’t too happy about that.

D: Are potato flakes the weirdest ingredient you’ve used in beer?

L: No, but the spruce needles were really fun to experiment with because we’ve never really used them before. We knew it would give us that pine needle flavor, but they’re also really fruity. They bring out some other flavors that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from spruce.

D: What would you pair with this beer?

L: The touch of pine in this beer would pair nicely with some hearty Scandinavian dishes that you’d cook in the wintertime, like roast venison and potatoes. You might even have it with Thanksgiving dinner!

If you want to bring something to your Thanksgiving table (Venison optional), make sure to stop by the Public House and grab a bottle or two of Faux Snow. No pranks, we promise.