Three years ago, homebrewer and professional chemist John Rowley and his partner (chef Jeffrey Kaplan) launched Rowley Farmhouse Ales as a brewpub with a particular focus on sour beer. This past October, they brought home three medals (gold, silver, and bronze) in different sour beer categories at the Great American Beer Festival, and that medal count locked up Small Brewpub of the Year honors for the young brewpub. In this episode, Rowley details their signature brewing process, from live Lactobacillus souring (no boil) to their unexpected Saccharomyces selection, water treatment and composition, building an maintaining a house sour culture, understanding pH and titratable acidity, and more. The methods they use are sometimes unconventional, such as pre-acidifying the mash of their gold medal-winning Gose “Meier” with cut up lemons, but Rowley isn’t afraid to tackle labor-intensive processes if they yield better-tasting beer. From the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Rowley continues to produce small batches of thoughtfully constructed, and this episode dives into those elements that make their beers stand apart.
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