Guest Blog Post: Seth Wile, Head Brewer
Earlier this month, we sat down with Head Brewer Seth Wile to talk beer trends. With two new types of aging vessels about to be put into action – the city’s only coolship and a dozen oaken wooden foeders – Seth and his team are looking forward to exploring new ways to ferment and experimenting with unique flavors. Here, Seth shares his thoughts on hazy, juicy IPAs, spontaneous fermentation, pastry stouts, and more.
Q: What type of beer do you think will be trending this year?
A: “The hazy, juicy trend hasn’t gone away and isn’t going away. That flavor profile is still at the forefront of what a lot of breweries are doing. Now, however, they’re putting their own spin on it by adding fruits or making it more bitter-forward.”
Q: We’ve heard of chocolate beer, coffee beer, and even Lucky Charms beer. What do you think will be the next big infusion trend?
A: “The basics – such as fruit, vegetables, spices, and wood – will always be on the table. However, brewers are now doing stranger things like brewing pastry stout: a thick, viscous stout meant to have the texture and taste of biting into a pastry. People are becoming more and more comfortable with adding more and more – for lack of a better word – shit – to a beer. It used to be looked down upon by purists, but now all of the popular breweries are adding everything but the kitchen sink to their beers. As far as what we’re willing to do, the creativity is there, but we know when to rein it in.”
Q: What are you most excited about at Magnolia in the coming months?
A: “I’m looking forward to working with our new coolship. Back in the day, before refrigeration, coolships were the only option brewers had to cool down the wort (a.k.a. unfermented beer). Now, they are predominantly used for spontaneous fermentation. The coolship enables you to spread the wort out across a large surface area to cool, while also exposing it to wild yeasts and bacteria from your specific environment. This creates an entirely unique, funky flavor. There are only a few U.S. breweries with coolships; most are located in Belgium, where lambic beers originated.”
Q: Are you seeing any trends in packaging?
A: “Mostly differences in volume rather than any new types of packaging, like you may see with wine. 750 ml bottles are getting downsized to 550 ml and more beers are going into 19.2 oz, 22 oz aluminum cans. The most impactful part of the packaging, however, is the branding. So many people these days make their buying decisions based on the label, despite what’s inside.”
Come by to explore a tasting at either our Dogpatch or Haight Street locations. We’re about to get even more creative with our new coolship and foeders out on the floor!