Cascade Lakes Head Brewer Ryan Schmiege on the upcoming release of the new keller pils brewed with Czech-style hops.
New Beers in Process at Cascade Lakes
Ryan Schmiege had been the assistant masterbrewer at Deschutes Brewery for 15 years before coming on board with Cascade Lakes Brewing in 2019. At Deschutes Brewery, he managed brewing operations, the barrel-aging program, whiskey and cider production. In his first interview since taking on the role as head brewer at Cascade Lakes, Ryan tells us his favorite beers, his flops and new beers we can expect soon.
When did you first become interested in brewing?
About 20 years ago when I was attending the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, I began home-brewing and exploring craft and imported beer with my roommates and friends. Anything new or different we found, we would try.
Who were your early mentors?
My sister refused to buy me beer before I was of age unless it included something other than typical domestic beer … so she gets a lot of credit. There are lots of people I could include here. Larry Sidor—Crux Fermentation Project’s brewmaster and founder—had the biggest, early impact on my brewing career development, especially with regard to process improvement and management. Brett Porter, director of innovation and brewing with The High End, helped me greatly with personnel and schedule management, and problem solving in a brewery. Later on, Karl Ockert was a big influence on my perception and use of continuing education and exploration and use of less familiar technologies.
Were there any surprises along the way?
Tons and there continue to be all the time. The rapid consumer adoption of all things craft beer was so fast, I found it astonishing and exciting. Not too long ago, for example, you could barely sell a sour beer, now they’re everywhere. The willingness to adopt new technologies among independent brewers has been impressive. The continuation of collaboration and sharing remains impressive and sometimes surprising. The reaction of suppliers to develop products with autonomous brewers in mind was unforeseen. The influence that craft brewing in the United States has had on other cultures is fascinating.
What do you consider your best brewed beer so far?
Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to be part of teams that have brought some of the world’s best beers to consumers. Of recipes I call mine, in 2011 Bourbon Murder, was honored with a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in the Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Stout category. I’m very proud of a beer called Hugh Hefner’s Jacket, which was a smoked helles. Since joining Cascade Lakes Brewing Company, we’ve brewed a keller pilsner which we’re very excited about. We also have a new offering set to release soon called OG Kush that has all of us salivating.
What was your biggest flop?
I once attempted to make a malt liquor IPA. It was … unsettling.
Do you have a favorite style of beer to drink?
I love drinking pilsners, stouts and smoked beers above all. However, I enjoy exploring anything brewers have to offer including all of the IPAs out there.
What’s on your wish list for new Cascade Lakes beers?
Very soon we’re adding to our lineup a Northwest-style pale with pungent aroma called OG Kush. We’re really jazzed to be getting into barrel aging, which I love and hasn’t been done here previously. We’ve got some great ideas for sour beers to bolster our portfolio, too.
Alex got our first R&D brew going with a beautifully clean Mexican lager. This one will pack a punch with multiple liberty hop additions and the introduction of a new yeast strain, American Ale A07. Yeast is the “soul” of the beer and this one will produce fresh, bright lager showcasing lots of hop flavor and aroma.
This small batch will be featured at our upcoming Cinco de Mayo event. Be sure to swing by our pubs Sunday, May 5th to get a pint of this delicious guy! We are also eager to hear your feedback so please let us know what you think. Feel free to talk to your server, email us at email@example.com, or rate on whichever beer platform you prefer. 25 years and we’re just getting started!
A focus on quality, consistency and community tops the agenda
- New majority ownership
- Hire of key process and quality engineer
- Hire of Deschutes Brewery’s long-time assistant brewmaster
REDMOND—Cascade Lakes Brewing announced today a series of steps to enhance its operations, quality and consistency. The majority ownership of Cascade Lakes Brewing Company was purchased by Andy Rhine and his father, Bruce Rhine. Cascade Lakes Brewing president, Chris Justema, remains in his role and as a shareholder in the company.
Bruce Rhine has strong ties to Central Oregon, as a former resident and as the CEO of Bend-based Accent Optical Technologies, a process control measurement company which was acquired in 2006 by Nanometrics of Milpitas, Calif.
“We are humbled by the Rhine family’s vote of confidence in Cascade Lakes Brewing Company” said Justema. “Under this new structure, we will sharpen our focus on the quality of beer and the consistency of our products across the board. There’s a new energy here to make better beer and build a stronger local presence in Central Oregon. I love this company and am stoked to be a part of this new chapter for Cascade Lakes Brewing.”
As part of its renewed commitment to quality and consistency, Cascade Lakes Brewing announced Andy Rhine, a chemical engineer and process specialist, as Cascade Lakes Brewing Company’s director of brewing operations. Andy Rhine graduated from elite engineering college Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and subsequently took positions as a process engineer and quality manager while home brewing on the side.
“I came on board not only because I love the product but what the product creates,” Andy Rhine said. “Cascade Lakes creates a welcoming, friendly environment unlike other business I have seen. I want to help maintain that familial culture and deliver a product whose quality is second to none.”
Andy Rhine said that his top three reasons for joining the Cascade Lakes Brewing team were getting to learn the business from Chris Justema, moving back to Central Oregon where he spent many years before college and helping to improve the overall quality of the product.
Cascade Lakes, brewer of the regionally iconic Blonde Bombshell and Salted Caramel Porter, also announced Ryan Schmiege as its new head brewmaster. Schmiege had been the assistant brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery for fifteen years. His duties there included managing brewing operations, barrel aging beers, cider and whiskey projects among others.
“I look forward to working with a talented crew at Cascade Lakes and bringing my experience to stabilize the quality of our existing portfolio and to create new beers that go to the heart of quality and drinkabililty,” said Schmiege. “We have the potential to create a stronger bond with consumers through our beers, and we intend to do that one beer at a time.”
ABOUT CASCADE LAKES BREWING COMPANY
Founded in 1994, Cascade Lakes Brewing started in a 1994 with a 10-barrel system in Redmond, Oregon. Twenty-five years later, the long nights and drive for great beer plays out on a larger scale. Today Cascade Lakes Brewing includes a state-of-the-art, 25-barrel brew house system, two brewpubs (7th Street Brew House in Redmond and Cascade Lakes Lodge in Bend. Cascade Lakes beer is distributed and sold in six states including Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Idaho and Montana. Cascade Lakes brews six beers year-round: Blonde Bombshell, 20” Brown, Pineapple Kush, Hopsmack IPA, Cyclops IPA and Salted Caramel Porter. Regular seasonals and specialties include: Slippery Slope, Elk Camp IPA, Cherry Blonde, Drop the MIC Pale Ale, Paulina Lake Pilsner, Silverback Imperial Stout, Angus MacDougal Amber, Rooster Tail Ale and others.
Cascade Lakes Brewing Company Contact: TJ Pressey firstname.lastname@example.org | 541.388.4998
Not to toot our own horns or anything, but we have to say our Mardi Gras event was pretty killer! Kevin, Austin, Jill, Jorge, Lindsey, and Camille teamed up to make the delicious dishes above and drink specials to keep you warm during that snow storm.
Speaking of drinks, the Brewery did their part with coming out with their first ever Cascadian Dark Ale, Zero Visibility. This beautiful concoction of malt and hops blend together to create the PNW in a glass. A mild roast and chocolate character combine with hop bitterness seamlessly, leading to a resinous finish and a clean citrus exhale. Sure went down smooth with the Jambalaya!
Be on the lookout for something special for St Paddy’s Day!
We got some shiny new toys in the Brewery we’d like to share with you! First is our new, stainless steel catwalk which will allow our brewers to do their “thang” safer than ever before.
We also put in a brand new Hot Liquor Tank to give the brewers a more efficient source of hot water in a safer environment. It’s the brewers, Alex and Blaine, who make our high quality beer and it’s about time we made their lives a little easier. 25 years and we’re just getting started!
The Bend Resilience Beer Fest last weekend was a huge success with 18 breweries from the Central Oregon area coming together to raise funds for the Camp Fire Relief Fund. For those that don’t know, Resilience IPA was created by Sierra Nevada Brewing of Chico, CA to help those suffering from losses at the hands of California’s Camp Fire. Over 1,500 breweries across the nation have come together to brew Resilience IPA and donate 100 percent of sales to the Relief Fund.
One fun highlight of the event was an auction of three 3L magnum bottles of Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada’s fresh-hopped IPA. Our fearless leader, Chris Justema, was joined by Gary Fish of Deschutes and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada to auction them off. Each bottle went for over $1,500, with the last going for $2,100!! The fest was a resounding success, and we thank the amazing people of Central Oregon for making this happen!
Here at Cascade Lakes we have a variety of beers to warm you up for the winter, but we’re really excited about our new India Red Ale, Crimson Dawn. Packed with Warrior, Centennial, and Amarillo hops, this balanced winter warmer is best enjoyed by the fireplace or with a friend at the bar. Deceptively sleighable at 7.6% ABV and 53 IBU’s, please remember to plan accordingly when going out to enjoy.
Who came up with this beautiful concoction of malty, caramel base flavor with a floral, citrus aroma? None other than our crimson-bearded brew stud, Blaine. Blaine has been with us since starting his brewing journey and the taste of Crimson Dawn shows how far he’s come as a brewer. We love Crimson Dawn almost as much as we love Blaine, which says quite a bit about this beer.
We are very proud to say we will be joining Sierra Nevada and hundreds of other breweries across the country to brew Resilience IPA and donating all proceeds to the Camp Fire relief fund! We are honored to take part of this special movement and be a part of such an amazing community.
Resilience will be brewed Tuesday, November 27th and hitting our pubs in late December. We’d also like to thank Cascade West Ale House and Tumalo Tavern for putting the beer on as well.
Winter is here and we at Cascade Lakes could not be more excited. Last night’s Pass Party was a real hit – thanks to everyone for joining us and congratulations to the lucky winner! According to the lucky lady it was the first time she had ever won anything. We’re happy to be a part of her first big W and hope the string of luck continues. Hope you enjoyed the night and will join us next year. Keep snow dancing!
Where to Go Apres Ski
You don’t have to spend much time at the Lodge to know when we’re not at work, we’re at the mountain. It’s truly a special sight in the winter with snow pants, boots, and ski jackets galore. With lots of delicious beers to choose from and burgers to chow on, we think it’s a perfect place to end your day on the slopes.
We’ve been capping off our fun in the snow at the Lodge for years, and the Bend Bulletin has been kind enough to recognize us for it. Use the link below to vote for us as “Best Place to Go Apres Ski), we’d really appreciate it!
www.bendbulletin.com/wheretogo –> Food –> where to GO! apres ski