Good Beer Hunting

EP-144 Michael Tonsmeire and Scott Janish of Sapwood Cellars

EP-144 Michael Tonsmeire and Scott Janish of Sapwood Cellars

Today is a special kind of geekery, so pull out your lab coats, pocket protectors and hydrometers, because things are about to get nerdy. Especially when it comes to New England IPAs.

One of the amazing things I’ve found covering the beer industry is the number of brilliant people who fill up the ranks of bartenders, brewers, biologists and more. It makes perfect sense within a profession that blends aspects of science and art, and when I find myself in the midst of a particularly engaging conversation that goes well beyond talking beer styles, ratings or trends du jour, it’s something I really value. Lucky for me, this podcast provides the opportunity to make such occurrences happen. 

While I was recently passing through Washington DC, I met up with Michael Tonsmeire and Scott Janish, two highly-accomplished homebrewers who will soon go pro together with the launch of Sapwood Cellars. From my perspective, these are two of the smartest guys in the business, not just because they’ve made great homebrew, or in Michael’s case help launch barrel programs for commercial breweries, but because I know it - they’re two of the most public brewers who share recipes, research and in-depth insight through Michael’s Mad Fermentationist blog and at, where Scott puts in heavy lifting sorting through white papers and academic analysis related to beer. They’ve also literally written the book on their areas of expertise, with Michael behind the book, American Sour Beers, and Scott just recently announcing he’s writing one about the modern IPA.

Whether you love or hate New England IPAs, I think the first half of our conversation will help you think about them differently, as Michael, Scott and I do a deep dive into recipes, chemistry and psychology of the trendy style. We’ll also hit on the challenges of opening a brewery in today’s market and what the DC and Maryland area can expect when Sapwood eventually opens.

Grab a notebook or simply sit back and let the mentions of polyphenols wash over you.