With the hiring of a new brewmaster, Serda Brewing is looking to reinvent its image, starting with the style of beer produced at the downtown facility.
Owner John Serda announced late last week that he had hired Yellowhammer Brewing founder Keith Yager to take over the beermaking at the craft brewery on Government Street.
“One of the reasons we wanted to go with a different brewmaster is because we weren’t happy with sales,” Serda said. “We had some issues with quality and consistency. We decided a new brewmaster was the way to go.”
In addition to a new brewmaster, Serda said the brewery would be changing its focus, from German and Belgian-style beers to more modern brews, like New England India pale ales and sours.
“We’re going to be discontinuing all of our beers currently on the marketplace,” Serda said.
Those beers will be replaced with a hazy IPA, a tropical IPA, the previously released Jubilator dopplebock and a seasonal brew that will rotate about five times per year.
A former state Brewers’ Guild brewmaster of the year, Yager has a clear goal in mind when traveling to the Port City from Huntsville.
“My goal is to bring some awesome craft beer here, and there are some awesome craft breweries already here,” he said. “We want to compete with them.”
Starting as a homebrewer in 1996, Yager, a former graphic designer at The Huntsville Times, said he began Yellowhammer in 2009 as the state loosened the restrictions on craft brewing.
“I was part of the ‘Free the Hops’ movement,” Yager said. “Once (the state) allowed brewing of over 6 percent alcohol, I started Yellowhammer. When the taproom laws changed, everything took off.”
Yager spent Saturday at Serda preparing a yeast starter and getting ready to begin brewing the first batch of new beers later this week.
“Today, what I’m basically doing is trying to prop up some of their yeast and trying to learn their equipment,” he said. “Everything is different. Every brewery has different equipment, every brewery uses different chemicals and stuff, but it all is basically the same. Right now I’m grinding this grain and making a quick yeast starter.”
Once the brewing process begins, Yager said it would take two to four weeks to produce a brew, depending upon what kind of beer was being made.
“Brewing is just about educating yourself,” he said. “It’s about putting out what is in-demand, number 1 and number 2, it’s making sure it’s the best quality beer you could possibly put out.
Yager was very impressed with the brewing apparatus at Serda and said it was nicer than what he had at Yellowhammer, despite the number of barrels being produced.
“At Yellowhammer, we were pumping out about 4,000 to 5,000 barrels a year,” he said. “Apparently here, they’re doing 600 barrels a year. This is a nicer brewery than what I started with.”
Serda is currently open on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. for to-go growler fill ups, Serda said.
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