In Rochester, Minnesota, the Forager brewpub that Austin Jevne founded with life and business partner Annie Henderson continues with its mission to provide compelling beer and food to the community. However, Jevne’s Humble Forager brand has set a more far-reaching goal to bring their authentic, grounded approach to flavorful beer to a wider national market.
While Forager brews on a seven-barrel system for local fans, Humble Forager works produces 100-barrel batches at partners such as Octopi in Madison, Wisconsin, or Fair State Collective in Minneapolis. A through-line that spans all their production is a focus on real ingredients and real fruit, used in thoughtful and expressive ways, no matter what the style. Whether it’s fruit beer, hard seltzer, or stout, the approach is the same: no extracts, high-quality ingredients, and a progressive approach to technique to drive the best possible expression from the chosen ingredients.
In this episode of the podcast, Jevne discusses their approach to recipes and process, including:
- creating real fruit hard seltzers that are shelf stable for up to 18 months
- using a three-stage pasteurization process to temper and stabilize fruit in quick-sours and hard seltzer
- layering fruit flavor with other herbal and tea notes to create flavors that evolve through the sip
- searching for the best quality fruits from a variety of sources
- finding the best sources for flavorful vanilla
- working with high-pectin fruits
- accounting for expression of acidity in both fruited hard seltzers and tart beers
- building a library of stout recipes and barrel types to create options when blending
- employing an ingredient-by-ingredient method of concentrated infusion to carefully add flavor to stouts
- deploying blended methods of coffee infusion using both whole bean and ground coffee for different flavor contributions
“A lot of people are assuming that fruited sours have a shelf life similar to hazy IPAs,” Jevne says. “And absolutely they do, from certain breweries. But if you have a process that changes that—we have a shelf life of 18 months with flavor stability in our fruited sours, and people look at our shelf life on the bottom of the cans and get a little worried sometimes. But we’ve done multiple tests about the longevity of where that flavor’s stable, and because of that [multi-step pasteurization] process, our beers are great and can sit in the back of your trunk on a hot Texas summer day, and they’re not going to explode.”
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