A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Davidson Brothers Brewing Company in Glen Falls, NY. It was my first time in that part of New York and I couldn’t have been more impressed. The beautiful weather, a kaleidoscope of autumn colors, and great beer – life could definitely be worse. Co-owner Rick Davidson and Master Brewer Jason Kissinger were nice enough to let me hang out and help at the brewery while they and their team brewed up their signature Brown Ale.
One distinct aspect of Davidson Brothers Brewing is their fairly unique British, brick kettle, Peter Austin Brewing System. I don’t know if this is some kind of confirmation bias coming into play or not, but when I tried Davidson Brothers’ beers after our brew session, it felt like I could “taste” the brick kettle in the flavor and mouthfeel of the beer. There’s also a characteristic “British” smell, taste, and mouthfeel to their ales. This is in large part due to the Ringwood yeast strain employed by Davidson Brothers and other traditional British breweries. If you’ve ever tried a beer by Samuel Smith Brewery, you’ll have a good sense of what I’m talking about. It’s exactly what you’d expect a true British style ale should taste like. Anyway, I could rave about Davidson Brothers all day. Without further ado, let’s get to our interview with Master Brewer Jason Kissinger.
How did you originally get into brewing?
Like many people in the industry, I first started by homebrewing. Although, I did not pursue it to the extent that many people do today and never thought that it would lead to a career. After college (with a degree in a completely different field), I was fortunate to find that Davidson Brothers Brewing Company. was looking for a new brewer. I took the job just to pay the bills, expecting to ultimately find something else in my chosen field. However, it turned out that I enjoyed being a brewer. That was six and a half years ago.
What attracted you to Davidson Brothers Brewing Company?
The beer, definitely the beer. Davidson Brothers specializes in traditional English ales and I was always impressed with the type of beer they produced. It was the kind of beer that I enjoyed drinking. No matter the style, it was always balanced and complex. What solidified it for me was the day that I discovered one of my favorite beers, a house ale from a local restaurant called the Algonquin Amber, was actually produced by Davidson Brothers.
Tell me about Davidson Brothers’ Peter Austin Brewing System – what are some of the advantages and disadvantages?
How do you come up with new and experimental beers?
When we write a new recipe, we always start with a lot of research. We try to write recipes that match specific styles first, addressing all of the technical aspects before putting our own twist on it. I think this helps us to create balanced beers. We don’t have a pilot system, so our test batches are 217 gallons. We have to get it right the first time.
How has homebrewing influenced you as a professional brewer?
Are there any upcoming new releases or upgrades to the brewery?
We will be getting new enclosed fermenters shortly so that we can release a few styles that feature different yeast strains. The core of our products will still be with our house strain, but having a few specialty ales or lagers will be nice. Cans are also on the horizon.