Talus HBC 692 c.v. ft. Columbus Brewing, Tony Corder

Join Micah Cawley, HAAS® Midwest Sales Manager, as he chats with Tony Corder, Operations Manager at Columbus Brewing in Columbus, Ohio.

Tony talks about why visiting Yakima at harvest time is critical for Columbus Brewing, particularly as they scout for new flavor from the Hop Breeding Company (HBC) Experimental Hop Fields at the HAAS Yakima Golding Farm.

They discuss how Talus™ HBC 692 c.v., one of HBC’s newest hops, stood out to Columbus for its unique aroma characteristics, which allowed them to layer rose petal floral and ruby red grapefruit flavors, of varying strength, across their IPA recipes. Tony talks about how Talus offers them a great deal of recipe versatility along with new flavors for customers.

Thank you to Tony Corder and Micah Cawley for joining us on this episode.



Micah: It’s the HAAS HopCast. On this week’s episode we talk about TALUS, the neo-Mexican variety, recently commercialized through HBC. Columbus Brewing Company offers insights into how they discovered the hop, what they like about the variety and how they’re using it in their Flagship IPA. Let’s take a listen. Hey it’s Micah Cawley with John I. Haas, welcome to the Haas HopCast we have a very Special Harvest edition, talking Talus today with our friends from Columbus Brewing, and joining us is Tony Corder, who is the Innovation Manager at Columbus. But you’ve been with the company a long time, Tony, and done a lot of things to help get this brewery from, you know, the beginning to where you are today. So welcome to the show.

Tony: Thanks, man. Thanks. It’s great to see you. Look forward to seeing you in person here in a few weeks.

Micah: Oh, man, can’t wait how long you’ve been with Columbus Brewing now, do you remember?

Tony: Yeah, coming up on 12 years. Started with them in December of 2009. Started with them after spending a few years out on the west coast to work for Pete Support in San Diego and came back home, so to speak, and have been with Eric Bean and Eric and Beth Bean and Columbus Burns Company since then.

Micah: Eric and Beth are awesome and it’s been fun to kind of see you guys grow and really establish yourself as a pretty dominant player. And not just Ohio but in the region as far as craft, beer, and IPA and, and what’s happening lately in the industry?

Tony: Yeah, yeah. I mean, obviously, you know, it’s grown quite a bit and it’s been really interesting to watch, especially in this part of the country. We’ve been able to grow, along with Craft Beer in Ohio. The brewery had done just a couple of 1,000 barrels the year before I started, and obviously, we’re going back 12 years now, but, you know, we’ll be about 30,000 barrels here this year. And so, yeah, things have changed exponentially, and a lot of investment into equipment and facilities and everything that comes with that growth. But it’s been really, really fun to be a part of.

Micah: So what size brewhouse are you guys operating and kind of give us a little overview of your system?

Tony: Sure, yeah. We have currently, in this facility, we have a 30-barrel four-vessel, Brewhouse, that runs our production. We also have, and they’re plumbed together, which is really nice, we have a ten hectoliter and pilot system as well. That’s a three-vessel system, sweet.

Micah: And then pilot trials on the small system?

Tony: Yeah, the ten hectoliters or we can just, you know, we’ll knock out about ten barrels on it as often as possible. But, yeah, we’ll use that system. We’ve got some ten barrel lined up in a part of the portion of the seller and we use that for a lot of new product development trials, a little bit of R & D, and then sometimes just flat out, just fun batches, stuff that we-you know, we know it’s not going to necessarily turn a new production beer, but maybe we want to do something small-batch and find his way for draft only in a taproom or, or whatnot. So, yeah, it gives us a lot, a lot of flexibility, but also to be able to mimic that quality that we’re getting off the production brewhouse as well.

Micah: In Columbus, IPA are kind of co-flagships I mean, that’s kind of not rare, but it’s interesting that you haven’t had one take overtake the other. They’re both doing some large volumes and-yeah yeah.

Tony: I mean, you know, Columbus IPA has been a flagship for the brewery for quite a while, and the brewery’s portfolio is very hop-heavy, and IPA heavy Boaty is a double IPA, very drinkable, but just north of eight percent alcohol. And, you know, it was draft only for a while, kind of developed a bit of a cult following, so to speak, around here on draft and then we were able to start packaging at 2016, but moving it to cans last just north of here, just right before Covid hit really gave that thing a shot in the arm and we saw those sales elevate. It really is fights, neck, and neck, with Columbus IPA as our flagship brews.

Micah: Yeah. Well, let’s talk Talus. Obviously a great time with a lot of hops that have come out. I know you’re a fan of Sabro yourself. It can be a polarizing variety. Tell us as a daughter of Sabro, this neo-Mexican, but this pink, great fruit. Perfect for the flavor space in IPAs today. But let’s talk about some of the origins. I guess you guys have been on this Friday since it was HBC 692. And how did you get introduced to Talus and what did you like about it? It kind of sets you on this path to really help us establish it as a commercial, commercial variety that’s now for sale and doing very well in the market.

Tony: Yeah, well, it’s a long story, certainly, but for us it really starts with just having a passion for hops and really-and that sounds kind of cliché to say, but it really is just being really motivated and inspired and excited about new varieties, and wanting to learn more and more. And we started doing that as early as we could by going out to, to Yakima for harvest. We started really small with just a couple of selections and it’s grown as we’ve grown to where it’s become a significant portion of our signature event in our year.

But part of that is being able to develop relationships with farmers, being able to further our relationships with our brokers, and being able to, you know, meet, meet people and have conversations and to learn about what’s, what’s on the horizon, what’s being worked on and, and what can we learn while we’re out there And yeah, for us it started, I believe, I think I bounce this off you a little earlier, I think it was Harvest of 2015. We were visiting and Gene Pervasco was still transitioning out from Haas and Michael Ferguson taking over and being able to visit with those guys walking the experimental fields and just being able to rub some hops and talk and then, you know, we express some interest in a couple of varieties.

Um, after that harvest, over that winter, Michael had sent us some really small samples, just a couple ounces, because there weren’t much of these varieties at that time. But, uh, we had taken those varieties and did some bench hop, benchtop trials, if you will. And I’m being very loose with that, that label, but it’s basically just me pulling, you know, pre-dry hop samples off the fermenter and doing warm and cold, dry hopping samples in mason jars, you know, between my office and the cooler and just trying to see like, you know, do it, some sensory analysis off of some cold, cold, dry hopping temp, warmer, dry hopping temp, just’ cause you only have a few ounces of pellets to play with. So that’s where it started.

And then from there, we’re obviously able to kind of earmark a couple of varieties and further that interest and it turned into us developing a sponsorship relationship with HBC and sponsoring a couple of acres of a few varieties that we had an interest in. And 692 Aka TALUS happened to be one of those.

Micah: So what did you find in those initial trials? You’re kind of laughing a little bit because it is like, you know, just trying to get those initial-is this a hop we want to go with, or what did you find in those?

Tony: I’m laughing, I guess, in the sense that it’s certainly not a-you know, it wasn’t done in a lab environment, even though we were in the process of building our lab. And it’s grown exponentially since those early days. We’re, uh, light years beyond, uh, now where we were then. But to just be put in beer and Mason jar, Mason jars and, and dry up and with pellets. It kind of makes me laugh now, but we did find some really interesting things and it happened with a couple of those varieties where they exhibited some different aromatics at cooler temperatures versus a more ambient room temperature. And I mean that’s something I’m sure brewers find when they’re dry-hopping their own beers, trying to find that, that sweet spot for dry hopping based on what they want to get out of it.

With, with TALUS, I found that the cooler temperature, we got a little more of a floral aromatic that really specific like fresh rose pedal aromatic and then the more ambient temperature it kind of showed a little more like Ruby Red Grapefruit and that’s what I remember and that’s what my notes say from back then. But it was really interesting to me and what stood out was the fact that it wasn’t like all the other hops that were becoming hot at that time, the real tropical fruit-driven hops. I liked the fact that it kind of veered the other direction and gave us more of that floral grapefruit, traditional aromatics, but a modern take on it and it was really nice to see something new in that vein.

[…Listen to the full interview on Soundcloud ] 

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