Hop Selection: Choosing the Very Best Hops

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, Hop Selection Season! The location: Washington state’s beautiful Yakima Valley. We sent Brewhouse Manager Karl Schmitz and Lead Brewer Mike “The Golden One” Gold on their second-annual trip to hand-select the hops we use in Third Street Brewhouse beers.

Last year was educational. This year, Karl and Mike arrived with a strategy and a better idea of what to look for this year. The number one priority: consistency. It is essential to keep pace with the precedent we’ve set for the Third Street Brewhouse brand – so this year’s hop selection had to be on-point.

The bulk of the hops we use in our beers throughout the year are purchased from Yakima Valley suppliers like Hopsteiner and John I. Haas, Inc. That’s why we sent Karl and Mike out to visit the suppliers and make their selections. Once the decisions are made, we can purchase the hops we want throughout the year as needed.

The actual hop selection ensures we can continue to make the same beers consistently and accurately. It gives us the opportunity to match a new year’s crop with what we used last year. That way, our beers keep a consistent flavor between batches. The Hop Lift you had last fall will taste like the one you have in your fridge right now.

This year, Karl and Mike selected Ekuanot, Glacier, Mosaic, Denali and Bravo hops. For more on the selection process, check out our blog post: Choosing the Perfect Hops.

A Hop’s Life

Hops are grown and harvested once each year. Growers plant the hops each spring when the soil is still cool. As they grow, they’re strung onto wires to encourage vertical growth. Hops need consistent watering, but not too much. It is essential to let the ground dry fully between watering. This prevents mildew from forming. Nobody wants to drink mildew.

Around the summer solstice, as the nights begin to get longer, the cone-shaped burrs begin to form. The hops will continue to bloom and ripen well into August. For many hop varieties, harvest begins in September. Some early crops may be ready in mid-August, and late crops are ready by late-September. The harvest, in general, lasts about six weeks in the Yakima Valley.

After the burrs have been harvested, they are baked in a kiln, low and slow over 8-12 hours, until they are nice and dry. The baked hops are then allowed to cool before being shipped to suppliers for processing.

Suppliers often process the hops into pellets, which are then frozen. Brewers can purchase the frozen, pelletized hops year-round to create the delicious, aromatic brews we know and love.

Experimental Hops

A lot of the experience in Yakima is learning about new varieties of hops. Karl discovered Denali hops last year, which was the first year it was produced commercially. He got to taste some beers brewed with Denali hops, and brought home samples from suppliers. The crew at Third Street Brewhouse liked Denali and knew we wanted to use it somehow.

When we were formulating Sanity Break, we knew Denali hops would be an excellent complement to the Mosaic hops we were already planning to use. The blend turned out incredibly well. Sanity Break is an incredibly balanced session IPA that is full of hoppy flavor without the high ABV.

Now that Denali hops are commercially available, Karl and Mike got to select the hops. They chose the specific lot that best matched Sanity Break this year.

Karl and Mike got a sneak peek of a few experimental hops. These hops don’t even have names yet. One variety had a lemon-pear aroma that immediately got Karl thinking of a hefeweisen or a pilsner. They brought some samples back and can hardly wait to have our brewers get their hands on it. There’s definitely some inspiration to be had with this one, and we’re excited to sample the results.

To the Year Ahead

We’ve certainly got our work cut out for us in the coming year. We’ve got beer to brew and opportunities to experiment with new hops. Until next year, Yakima.

Cold Spring Brewing Co. and Third Street Brewhouse Announce Second Beer in Historic Beer Series, Cold Spring Pilsner – Available Now

COLD SPRING, MN – Cold Spring Brewing Co. (CSBC) and Third Street Brewhouse are excited to announce the release of Cold Spring Pilsner, the second beer in the company’s Historic Beer Series. This beer is a dry-hopped pilsner brewed with Cascade hops This beer honors Michael Sargl, the brewmaster who founded CSBC, and can be found in stores and on tap beginning October 1, 2017. The first Historic Beer was Brewer’s Tears released in June 2017 and Kegle Brau will be released in February 2018.

“The original Cold Spring Pilsner was an innovative brew. It was very ahead of its time,” said Karl Schmitz, Brewhouse Manager. “Our recreation is a tribute to the long history of our brewery and Brewmaster Sargl, who pioneered it all. He brought German beer to Minnesota.”

In 1874, German immigrant Michael Sargl came upon “Pure Spring Waters” and opened Cold Spring Brewery to bring a piece of the old country to his new home. Sargl longed to brew beer like he did back in Germany and made do with brewing outside in a kettle near the spring.

Nearly 100 years later, CSBC became famous for an export style pilsner that would have made Sargl proud. This brew was dry-hopped, making it truly unique. In the 1970s, not many brewers were experimenting with the dry-hopping process. The brewers at CSBC were known for this style of brewing, which speaks volumes of their innovation and forward-thinking.

Dry-hopping is a brewing technique typically seen in modern IPAs and pale ales. The process involves adding additional hops after fermentation is complete. Because the additional hops are steeped rather than boiled, the dry-hopping process allows beer to take on more intense hop aroma and flavor without increasing bitterness.

Cold Spring Pilsner is a rich, golden color of traditional pilsners as well as has bright, hoppy aromas and flavors. Bringing this historical brew to market is a testament to CSBC’s innovation and ability to stand the test of time.

Find Cold Spring Pilsner near you today!
Click on the Pilsner box to use the Beer Locator.

The first beer in CSBC’s Historic Beer Series was Brewer’s Tears, a pre-prohibition lager brewed from a hand-written recipe, found deep in CSBC’s archives. When prohibition was enacted, CSBC was forced to pause production and dispose of all alcohol. Brewery owners stood by stoically watching this tragedy. Brewmaster Hermanutz walked away with a tear in his eye – hence the name, Brewer’s Tears. The surviving Hermanutz family were excited and proud to honor their grandfather’s history with the recreation of this historical brew, receiving the first cases of this release at the release party in June 2017.

CSBC plans to release the third and final beer in the Historic Beer Series with a celebration in early 2018.

Look for Cold Spring Pilsner and other Third Street Brewhouse brews at a local retailer near you. Cold Spring Pilsner will be available in 12-pack, 12oz cans beginning October 1, 2017.

Cold Spring Pilsner will also be on tap at the Third Street Brewhouse Taproom, which is open on Fridays from 4-8pm and Saturdays from 12-5pm.

Cold Spring Brewing Company and Third Street Brewhouse Releases First Beer in Historic Series, Brewer’s Tears

COLD SPRING, MN – Cold Spring Brewing Company and Third Street Brewhouse are pleased to announce the release of their latest brew and first in their Historic Series, Brewer’s Tears. Brewed from a handwritten recipe found hidden in the brewery’s archives, Brewer’s Tears is a pre-prohibition lager with 4.7% alcohol, perfect for reminiscing and having your own sip of history.

Cold Spring Brewing Company was founded in 1874 by German immigrant Michael Sargl as he began brewing beer outdoors in a kettle. 16 years later in 1890, John Oster became a brewery partner, bringing new machinery to the brewhouse. Sargl and Oster continued brewing beer until the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution was ratified in January 1919 ushering in the era of Prohibition.

All across the country, breweries were forced to pause production and dispose of their alcohol. Federal agents arrived at Cold Spring Brewing Company and ordered all the beer be poured into the creek. The brewery owners stood by stoically watching this tragedy. Brewmaster Hermanutz walked away with a tear in his eye, unable to watch his work be destroyed.

Luckily, Cold Spring Brewing Company was able to shift their focus to producing mineral water and near beer until Prohibition ended and they could return to brewing their full beer production.

“We wanted to bring back some great recipes that we found deep in the archives,” says Brewhouse Manager, Karl Schmitz of the Historic Series. “We wanted to honor the brewers who came before us, which was why the name Brewer’s Tears was a perfect fit for this recipe.”

Cold Spring Brewing Company and Third Street Brewhouse have found Brewer’s Tears to go well with chicken salad, fettuccine in cream-based sauce, fish, white rice, garlic potatoes and buttered rolls.

You can look for Brewer’s Tears at a local retailer near you, starting in June, featured in 12-pack with
12-oz cans.

Third Street’s tap house is open on Fridays from 4-8pm and Saturdays from 12-5pm.

Third Street Brewhouse Releases First Session IPA

COLD SPRING, MN – Third Street Brewhouse (Third Street), is pleased to announce the release of their latest brew, Sanity Break Session IPA. Sanity Break was created with summer time in mind, offering a crisp, clean full hop flavor for easy drinking. With 4.0% alcohol, this session IPA is perfect for a day (or two) of R&R when the daily grind gets old.

“Sometimes you just need your sanity back,” said Sales Manager Jodi Peterson when asked about the inspiration behind the brew. “I think the name is perfect for those days when you need to get away from the day-to-day hustle and bustle. We want people to feel relaxed when they drink this beer and because it’s a session IPA, you can have more than one!”
Third Street brewers have found Sanity Break to go well with roasted or smoked food, including barbeque, burgers and brats, BLT’s and deli sandwiches.

We’ve been wanting to add a session IPA to our year-round line-up for some time,” says Brewhouse Manager, Karl Schmitz. “We wanted to give consumers a brew with a lower alcohol percentage, so they can enjoy more than one while still having the full flavor of an IPA.”

You can look for Sanity Break Session IPA at a local retailer near you, featured in 4-pack, 16-oz cans and in the Third Street summer variety pack.

Third Street’s tap house is open on Fridays from 4-8pm and Saturdays from 12-5pm.

Cold Spring Brewing Co. Recognizes Maintenance Planner Brian Topp for 13 Years of Excellent Service

COLD SPRING, MN – Cold Spring Brewing Company (CSBC), the #1 producer of exclusive beer and craft beer brands for major retailers throughout the world, is pleased to recognize Brian Topp, Maintenance Planner for 13 years of outstanding work in maintenance at CSBC facilities.

Topp began working as a Line Maintenance Technician for CSBC in 2004, after graduating from Alexandria Technical College and working for Douglas Machine in Alexandria. Topp’s background in automation in a production environment has made him a valuable addition to CSBC’s team. As Maintenance Planner, Topp wears many hats. He coordinates work for the maintenance staff, handles quotes for work and equipment and keeps CSBC running as smoothly as possible.

“My goal every day is to eliminate production downtime. I like to keep everything running smoothly,” said Topp. “Our facility runs 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Our operations are highly efficient, and we’re always improving.” Topp has extensive experience working directly with production equipment, and he enjoys teaching, coaching and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the maintenance team. They’re a tight-knit group of hard working craft beer enthusiasts. “We all enjoy taste testing new brews when we’re off the clock! Keeping up with the industry is a fun part of working at CSBC.”

The role of Maintenance Planner for a large-scale production facility is never dull. Between scheduled downtime for preventative maintenance and unexpected events, Topp’s team keeps busy. Quick power outages can wreak havoc on processing equipment, and with the extremely windy conditions experienced by most of Minnesota in March, it was a busy month for Topp. “My top priority is to keep our equipment running without ever having unscheduled breakdowns,” said Topp.

Last year, CSBC produced over 26 million cases of product, and is positioned to increase output in 2017. With a 300,000-square-foot expansion in the works, a maintenance planner’s job never ends. “The expansion will certainly increase our workload, which is exciting. We’ll install state-of-the-art equipment to maximize efficiency in the new facility,” continued Topp. “There are a lot of opportunities to increase automation. We’re looking forward to producing more than ever before.”

CSBC is a state-of-the-art brewery and beverage product developer and producer that includes Third Street Brewhouse and Monarch Custom Beverages.

Third Street Brewhouse’s tap house is open on Fridays from 4-8pm and Saturdays from 12-5pm.

Cold Spring Brewing Co. Announces Amanda Trovall as Receptionist

COLD SPRING, MN – Cold Spring Brewing Company (CSBC), the #1 producer of exclusive beer and craft beer brands for major retailers throughout the world is pleased to announce Amanda Trovall as Receptionist.

Trovall brings a fun energy to the front of the house at the Third Street Brewhouse facility, providing a knowledgeable, friendly face to greet all guests. She joined the CSBC team as a receptionist in 2016 after having worked in both the fashion and real estate industries. Trovall has experience running boutique clothing stores and in property management with Granite City Real Estate, which translates well to administrative duties for CSBC.

“I was ready to make a career change so I jumped at the opportunity with Cold Spring,” said Trovall, a Clearwater, MN native. “I’d heard great things about the company and I knew my experience and skills are well suited for administration. It’s a great fit. I love my job.”

Trovall is the first stop and security check-in point for customers, vendors, contractors and employees alike. She has her finger on the pulse of the facility, knowing who’s coming, who’s going and any events scheduled anywhere on the CSBC campus. Trovall greatly enjoys the ever-changing aspect a reception job provides. Every day is different so her duties, responsibilities and priorities adjust as necessary. “You never know who (or what!) is going to come through that door; it’s really fun and it keeps me on my toes,” continued Trovall.

She also assists in the taproom, which is conveniently located right behind her desk. She helps with samplings and walk-in tours of the brewhouse, brewing facility and (for summer tours) the packaging facility. “I’ve expanded my taste for craft beer, too. There are so many great beers out there, but you can’t go wrong with a Hop Lift IPA!”

Learning more about the craft brewing industry comes with the territory for CSBC employees. “The entire brewing process is fascinating,” said Trovall. “Having never worked in the production and manufacturing industry, I’ve already learned so much. Everyone here has so much knowledge to share and the company supports employees seeking opportunities to grow.”

CSBC is a state-of-the-art brewery and beverage product developer and producer that includes Third Street Brewhouse and Monarch Custom Beverages.

Third Street Brewhouse’s tap house is open on Fridays from 4-8pm and Saturdays from 12-5pm. Visit Third Street’s website at www.thirdstreetbrewhouse.com for additional information, locations and a full list of beers.

Cold Spring Brewing Co. Announces Randy Topp as Maintenance Planner

COLD SPRING, MN – Cold Spring Brewing Company (CSBC), the #1 producer of exclusive beer and craft beer brands for major retailers throughout the world is pleased to announce the promotion of Randy Topp to Maintenance Planner.

After working as a union laborer for over 13 years in the Twin Cities, Topp was looking further his career closer to his home in Eden Valley. He spent over a year with the process control team at CSBC before transitioning to Maintenance Planner in December 2016.

“Cold Spring’s leadership team recognizes and rewards hard work,” said Topp. “They value staff at all levels. If you put forth the effort, you will succeed in this company. They’ve given me a chance at a great opportunity.”

As Maintenance Planner, Topp enjoys day-to-day interactions with maintenance staff and vendors, and oversees building and grounds maintenance for the entire CSBC campus including Third Street Brewhouse and CSBC shipping and receiving warehouses. Topp also coordinates process control and utility maintenance. “I wake up every day excited to come to work. Truly!” said Topp. “No two days are the same. There are always new challenges and that I’m constantly learning.”

CSBC experienced incredible growth in 2016, and announced plans to expand the company’s shipping facility by 300,000 square feet. Topp and his team are well positioned to support the additional infrastructure. “It is fun and exciting to be part of a company with so much opportunity to grow – there’s always more to do and learn,” continued Topp.

CSBC is a state-of-the-art brewery and beverage product developer and producer that includes Third Street Brewhouse and Monarch Custom Beverages.

Third Street Brewhouse’s tap house is open on Fridays from 4-8pm and Saturdays from 12-5pm.

Cold Spring Brewing Co. Announces Andy Juelich as Process Improvement Manager

COLD SPRING, MN – Cold Spring Brewing Company (CSBC), the #1 producer of exclusive beer and craft beer brands for major retailers throughout the world, announced Andy Juelich as Process Improvement Manager.

Juelich is no stranger to the beverage industry with nearly a decade of experience. Prior to joining CSBC in 2009, Juelich had the opportunity to work and intern at Leinenkugels Brewing Co., as a Quality Control Technician, where his passion for the beer industry grew and he began developing his skills in process management. In addition to his experience in the field, Juelich attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, WI, where he gained a Bachelor of Science in Food Chemistry.

In his role as Process Improvement Manager, Juelich acts as an advisor, combining logistics with management to develop effective, organized work systems that produce quality products in an efficient manner. “My job is sort of being like a life coach,” said Juelich. “It’s my job to get out and talk to staff about prioritizing issues and investigating problems to determine the best practices for our operations.”

Juelich’s position will also be important for the upcoming expansion of the company’s shipping facility, where Juelich will be working closely with the team to determine equipment, layout, and effective procedures for the new expansion. “We will work to decide what the new facility should have, what we want and what we really need,” says Juelich. “I love that CSBC is always changing and striving to be the best for our future endeavors.”

Cold Spring Brewing Co. Announces Dan Luethmers as PLC Technician

COLD SPRING, MN – Cold Spring Brewing Company (CSBC), the #1 producer of exclusive beer and craft beer brands for major retailers throughout the world, announced Dan Luethmers as Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Technician.

Luethmers brings over a decade of PLC experience to the CSBC team. Prior to joining CSBC in 2011, Luethmers held PLC related positions at Douglas Machine in Alexandria, MN and Park Industries in St. Cloud, MN. In addition to his work experience, Luethmers also holds a degree in Programmable Logic Controls from Alexandria Technical and Community College.

PLC technicians work with digital computers programmed for the process control of manufacturing processes, such as Production lines. In his current role, Luethmers maintains controls throughout the facility, ensuring that all systems are running properly. He also works with the maintenance and production teams to determine more efficient practices, as well as consulting and troubleshooting equipment for packaging beverage products. Along with programming, Luethmers also creates 3D drawings from multiple applications at CSBC which include line layout, facility updates, parts.
“No day is the same here and I love that,” said Luethmers.“I might be out on the floor one minute and be in the office working on a program to update the systems the next.”

Luethmers’ position will also be important for the upcoming expansion of the company’s shipping facility, where Luethmers will be helping out the maintenance team to determine the new layout of the production line. “I’m excited to see what the new expansion has in store and to see a full functioning production line,” says Luethmers. “I can’t wait!”

Third Street Brewhouse’s Free Speech Red Ale to be Released in 4-packs

COLD SPRING, MN – Third Street Brewhouse (Third Street), is pleased to announce the release of their latest year-round brew, Free Speech Red Ale – available to purchase in 4-pack, 16-oz cans, starting mid-March. With 5.5% alcohol, nutty roasted malts, moderate hop character and a caramel fringe, Free Speech Red Ale is a powerful blend of flavors. Just like the good old U.S. of A.

“Everyone I have spoken to is excited to see it return! There seems to be a huge demand for it,” said Brewhouse Manager, Karl Schmitz, when asked about the Red Ale’s expansion into cans. “A lot of people were looking for more when we did the keg release, so we decided to move the brew into full production and cans.”

Free Speech Red Ale was launched last July under a partnership between Third Street Brewhouse and Rockin’ 101’s “Steel Toe Morning Show.” The station prides itself on being a platform for free speech and encourages listeners and beer fans to raise a glass of the red ale to the First Amendment and individual liberty.
Along with their specialty and seasonal ales, Third Street has four popular signature brews on tap and in cans: Minnesota Gold Lager, Minnesota Gold Light, Hop Lift IPA, Three Way Pale Ale and Lost Trout Brown Ale.

“I love that it’s a red ale, which is something we don’t have a lot of in this market,” says Sales Manager, Jodi Peterson. “When we released Free Speech in kegs to the market it was so positive, it just confirmed our decision that expanding Free Speech to cans would be a great addition to our portfolio.”

Third Street brewers have found Free Speech to go well with barbeque, roasted vegetables and strong cheeses like sharp cheddars or feta.

So no matter where you stand on the political spectrum, we can all agree on this: freedom of speech is as American as apple pie and the fourth of July. So relax. Do your own thing. Crack open a cold one and raise it to your individual liberty.

Third Street’s tap house is open on Fridays from 4-8pm and Saturdays from 12-5pm.