When Josh Riggs discovered craft brewing he was hooked. He began to seek out breweries and taprooms that had unique offerings. He honed his craft starting in a brewery in Northern California where he did basic grunt work such as cleaning kegs and working in the tasting room. He worked his way up to assistant brewer while learning all the nuances of the craft, cellaring and packaging, then eventually becoming the head brewer. Riggs eventually ended up at Pyramid Brewing Co. where they provided him the opportunity to take the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) Short Course Study for Brewing and Malting.
Riggs worked for Pyramid Brewing’s Portland production facility for four years before becoming the Innovation Brewer at the Seattle brewery. With this new position he gets to experiment with new styles and create his own versions of tried and true styles. He recently helped the company launch its newest beer, Yeah Baby!, that utilizes the latest in beer technology with Cryo Hops.
1) Your latest beer uses Cryo Hops. What is a Cryo Hop and how does it contribute to the beer?
Cryo Hops are an innovative new product from Yakima Chief Hops. It removes vegetal material using extremely cold temperatures, which leaves a concentrated powder comprised mostly of the lupulin glands of the hop which contains resins and aromatic oils. We are using Cryo Hops to bring juicy aromatics and flavors to our newest IPA, Yeah Baby!.
2) Where do you source your other ingredients from? What are you looking for in a good quality hop, malt, etc.?
We source our ingredients from the Pacific Northwest and some barley from the Midwest. We look for malteries and hop companies that have good relations with the farmers they rely on and produce the finest quality product for us to utilize. We yearly go to the Yakima Valley and do hop selection, which is talking with our hop supplier and choosing which plots of hops we would like to use, we look at quality of the hop via appearance, aromatics and oil contents. Once chosen those acres are pelletized and used to make our great beers.
3) The Pyramid website has an “adventure and beer” pairing guide. What is your favorite adventure and beer pairing?
Personally, I am an avid disc golfer and cyclist. I love a good hike as well and there is nothing like a tasty beverage to reward a disc round well played, bike ride long enough for some deserving fatigue or beautiful scenery on the way to a peak summited.
4) What are your favorite tunes to listen to while brewing? Is there any particular genre or artist that inspires your creativity?
I’m all over the board on this one; I enjoy things from Death Cab for Cutie, Phish, LCD Soundsystem and Radiohead to Norah Jones, Charlie Hunter and the Gotan Project. I also like hip hop artists like Swollen Members, Atmosphere, Kendrick Lamar and Brother Ali. Some days it is also just a podcast, RadioLabis my favorite, or some good old NPR.