Sometimes success comes quickly, and sometimes it’s the result of years and years of working, training, and improving. In the case of Roaring Table, founded by husband-and-wife team Beth May and Lane Fearin northwest of Chicago, it’s a bit of both.
Their recent string of successes—including a Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine beer of the year and a World Beer Cup medal—may seem sudden, but Fearing started laying the groundwork back in 2007 when he attended the Siebel Institute. He worked for another Chicago-area brewery for nearly a decade before he and May felt they were ready to tackle the brewery challenge on their own. Today, he approaches their beers with an earnest energy, enthusiasm, and humility that’s refreshing to see in someone who has worked a brew deck for so long.
In this episode, May and Fearing discuss their approach to brewing and business, including:
- building a specific water profile for hazy IPA that optimizes mouthfeel
- dialing back non-barley grains for ease of brewing without sacrificing haze
- cooler fermentation in hazy IPA to reduce esters and improve hop expression
- considering the difference between final gravity and perceived sweetness
- patient fermentation with longer lag times
- using modern hop products like Incognito and Lupomax pellets at various stages of brewing
- employing IPA whirlpool-hopping techniques for lagers
- taking a pragmatic approach to lager brewing without sacrificing quality
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