Podcast Episode 231: The Eighth State’s Cameron Owens Can’t Afford to Be Average
The eighth estate is small—very small. The three-barrel, open-vat brewhouse sits adjacent to the dining room, with brewing equipment overflowing on days it’s not open. Barrels pack in every inch of unused space, while an assortment of plants help create a cozier vibe in the small downstairs space. It feels crowded but relaxed – in that suggestive way and creative minds are at work – and co-founder/head brewer Cameron Owens is determined to have some serious fun.
This small brewery has earned an outsized reputation for its flavorful beers, from tart fruit beers to ingredient-rich barrel-aged stouts. Despite the limited capacity, Owens is committed to doing things his way — even if that means more tank time and slower turns — to get the exact flavors he wants.
In this episode of the podcast, focusing on tart fruit beers and ingredient-laden stouts, he explains:
- using a solera process with lacto and sach cultures to create the base of fruity beers
- packing tart fruit with live cultures, but including sulfites to prevent refermentation
- achieve “wild” flavors and minimize sulfur expression without Brettanomyces
- make complex beers more accessible to customers
- mixing fruit for contrast and juxtaposition, finding counternotes while creating tension
- get vegan results without lactose
- build multiple layers of flavor into great barrel-aged beers
- adjust multi-day brew schedule for larger beers, to aid fermentation
- using a two-step process for certain ingredient additions, to increase impact
At The Eight State, their goal is to stand out. They want to be exclusive but not unobtainable. More importantly, for a brewery of their size, they aim to keep the excitement going and get people to walk through that door. As Owens says, “I really can’t afford to be just average.”
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