In mid-October, we began brewing our employee holiday beer at Briess. This is always a fun event because we get to experiment with different methods of brewing and then bottle it up for all our employees to try – which is rapidly increasing with the growth of our company and the success of the craft beer industry. In December 2014, we had about 175 employees and this December we will be celebrating the holidays with 219 employees!

For this year’s employee brew, we played with a cold steep method, which is a concept to extract the desired flavors from, in this case, our caramel and Munich malts, while leaving behind the sometimes harsh characteristics of a darker brew and the cloying effects of a high gravity brew. We used a variety of malts including pale ale, aromatic, and caramel malts, which gave this holiday beer a well-rounded malt flavor. The cold steep allowed us to retain the crisp amber-red color from the caramel malts in an IPA-style beer. This method also allowed the hops to give a little harder kick, which landed its name “Santa’s Big Red Sack of Hops,” creatively named by Dan Bies and our Technical Service Team.

Several members of our technical staff aided in the brewing, bottling, waxing, and labeling process – even our President and Chief Operating Officer, Gordon Lane, involved himself in various steps of the employee holiday beer. It becomes a team effort that every employee across the organization gets to enjoy drinking during the holiday season. So let’s toast to good friends, good family, and good beer – Cheers!

Technical Service Associate, Cassie Liscomb, pouring Briess malt into the 2015 Employee Holiday Beer.
Technical Service Associate, Jordon Geurts, filling bottles.
Happy Holidays beer bottles
Having fun in the pilot brewery.
A touch of handcrafted class with wax-dipped bottle tops.
Adding hops to give this brew a hoppy kick and its signature name “Santa’s Big Red Sack of Hops”
President and Chief Operating Officer, Gordon Lane, and Technical Service Staff Dan Bies and Jordon Geurts bottling the employee holiday beer.
Gordon Lane boxing beer for the employee holiday gift.
Cassie adding the final touches by hand-dipping the employee holiday beer in wax.
Cassie stirring the cold steep mash.
Cheers beer bottles