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BlackStack brings in a familiar face to head new mixed-culture beer program

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

BlackStack Brewing, which opened in 2017 in Midway, is starting up its own mixed-culture beer program. At the helm: an established sour brewer Mat Waddell, the former head brewer and co-owner of Wild Mind Artisan Ales.

After selling his interest in Wild Mind and announcing his departure from the company at the start of 2019, Waddell felt he needed to step away from brewing for a while. He started a job as a senior application engineer at 3M in January but couldn’t stay away from the foeders for long. In the same Facebook post explaining his decision to leave Wild Mind—which he founded and co-owned—he hinted at plans for future collaborations and soon struck up a partnership with the team at BlackStack after hearing of the brewery’s plans to start a sour program.

“Mat was one of our first friends and supporters in the industry. We’ve always admired his approach and felt [that] we shared a common philosophy of making styles you love without any shortcuts,” says BlackStack’s Cooper Johnson. “We’re a very close-knit bunch at BlackStack. We’ve never been willing to sacrifice the culture here for talent, so Mat being such a good brewer and great friend was a perfect fit.”

Waddell is taking the reins as the head of mixed culture at the brewery, which is investing in five wood foeders. Waddell will oversee the production of mixed-culture beer, the growth of the program, and the development of recipes alongside the rest of BlackStack’s brewing team. With the first set of foeders arriving in May and initial recipes in development, the program is already in motion. Waddell says he’ll be focusing primarily on mixed culture fermentation—which was his specialty at Wild Mind—but this time with more flexibility for experimentation.

Read the full article in The Growler here.


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