The first time Sam, Bryn and I visited Door County, Wisconsin was in January 2019. At Half Acre’s Far And Away Festival the previous autumn I was introduced to Hacienda Beer Co, only to discover I’d in fact known most of them from their time studying at Siebel Institute and mine serving them on their many visits to Local Option. Their beers stood out among many greats at that event, clean: patiently aged mixed fermentation beers and balanced hazy IPA’s, all possessing an underlying dry profile that invited many many sips.
Fast forward to the road trip. The three cocks – the designation to which Sam, Bryn and I defer when traveling as a group on account of our multiple matching rooster tattoos – were en route to taste through barrels of mixed fermentation beer and discuss another outrageous project with Matt Sampson and his team at Hacienda Beer Co. Enduring a massive winter snowstorm the entire way up from Chicago, we encountered sub zero temperatures and trollish highway drivers all the while crawling up I-43 at 25 miles per hour. After almost six hours we finally made it up to Baileys Harbor, indulged in all the whiskey we brought, and bundled up for our midnight odyssey. We climbed trees, tumbled down powder-covered roads, made snow pentagrams, and most likely woke up the entire town. At that moment we didn’t care: we were creating our Door County memory.
Alright…on with the interview. Matt Sampson is the Director of Brewing Operations, Branding & Marketing at Hacienda Beer Co and Door County Brewing in Baileys Harbor, WI. While Matt holds a PHD in Chemistry, it was his interest in photography and storytelling that brought him into the craft beer industry professionally. We discuss the construction of Hacienda’s award winning mixed fermentation offerings, the importance of locally sourced and produced ingredients, native bacteria, and why package conditioning and patience are crucial in building signature aroma and flavor profiles. Matt discusses the challenges in keeping the Hacienda and Door County Brewing Company brands separate in their Bailey’s Harbor Taproom and in a market where customers of traditional American craft and contemporary styles of beer are becoming the same person.
Episode Art and HH Logo By: Bryn Gleason
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