Aug 19, 2021
As much as craft beer places value on authenticity and artistry, it’s not always an industry that likes looking backwards. Instead, the search for innovation—innovation in beer styles, in brewing techniques, and in the raw materials of beer—is what propels it forward. That means many older ways of doing things have been left by the wayside. On the malt side, with technological and agricultural advancements continuously improving crop yield and efficiency, are old-school brewing methods like decoction mashing even necessary anymore?
Anthony Gladman thinks so. And he’s not alone. In his piece for Good Beer Hunting titled “Pillars of Tradition — How a New Generation of Brewers Returned to Decoction Mashing,” which was published on July 20, 2021 as part of our Age of Rediscovery series made in partnership with Menabrea, Gladman dives into the deeply historical Lager brewing tradition, and what it means to the current roster of brewers around the world. He admits there aren’t a ton of people devoted to decoction mashing today. But those who are often find themselves with beer that transcends the day-to-day and approaches true greatness.
In this podcast conversation, Gladman and I discuss the elusive definition of “drinkability” and what it means to him. We talk about the difference between “craft beer” and “crafted beer”—and there is a difference. We also unpack the perception of preciousness in brewing, and how it’s not the same as honoring time-tested traditions honed over generations. He reveals what led him to explore this largely under-discussed (but very appreciated) brewing technique, and the regret that he felt when COVID prevented him from sampling the work of modern-day decoction masters on their own turf. It’s a little bit of wanderlust, a dash of technical brewing talk, and a lot of fun.