Q: Who are you/what do you do?
A: Bret Kollmann Baker, owner/brewer for Urban Artifact. Handle recipe development, production management, and everything required to take beer and fruit from raw ingredients to a tasty fermented beverage.
Q: What was the inspiration for starting the brewery?
A: Sour Beer! When we started the business in 2014 sour beer was funky, expensive, and a supremely niche product. I have loved sour beer ever since first learning about it during college, but it was never something that was affordable or approachable for most. We saw an opportunity there, to create clean tasting, fruit forward sour beers that you can have more than a couple in a sitting and still want more. Sour beers were at one time the most popular style of beer in the world, and we aim to bring that back!
Q: Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 years’ time?
A: A sustainable business that continues to treat our employees well and is world renown for our fruited sour beers.
Q: Are there any other breweries which have influenced your brewery?
A: Plenty! Lindemans was the first sour beer I had, and it was a total mind f**k. Sour, fruity, sweet. I didn’t know beer could taste like that! My palate has changed since those days, and I like my beer far more dry, but Lindemans opened my eyes to sour beer.
Q: The craft beer movement seems to be going from strength to strength. Why do you think brewing been such a great success in recent years?
A: Well, in the USA growth is actually slowing down. This has spurred the fastest development and innovation cycle that craft beer has ever seen stateside, but it is a sign that things are heating up and becoming increasingly competitive. Ultimately though, people like to drink good tasting products, and craft beer is just that. Good.
Q: What do you see as the latest beer styles to look out for in 2020/2021?
A: F**king Hard Seltzer. It is going to blow up on a global scale and change the landscape forever. My hot take: Light lagers are going to slowly fall out of vogue as the go-to cheap “beer” and hard seltzers will rule the world.
Craft beer styles to look out for will be more sour beer! I have a strong, and obviously biased, opinion that sour beer will be the #1 style of beer in less than a decade, beating out IPAs.
Q: Many breweries are experimenting with adding unusual flavours to their beers. Are there any you think work well together and are there any you would like to try?
A: Too many! There are a lot of breweries just throwing all sorts of shit into beers and expecting it to taste good. Weird flavours and ingredients require intent. We’ve made beers with garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. But our most popular “weird” beer is definitely our Pickle beer. People go f**king ape shit for that beer. People that love pickles f**king love pickles.
Q: Looking ahead, what new stuff can we expect from you?
A: Fruited Sours for days. We are also starting to make more sours with wine grapes, which is a truly perfect blend of flavours for a sour beer. And we have a line of Epicurean beers, all designed to taste like certain foods and dishes. It is our most out-there line of beers, but something that is fun and creative for our brew team.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Beer! Duh.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it?
A : Jack Daniels whiskey. At a bonfire. In highschool. I threw up.
Q: If you have to pick (we know, tough choice!) which would be your top three beers in the whole world?
A: Are we counting our beers? If so, the The Gadget, Cantillon Gueze, & Pilsner Urquel. If you had to take away our beers, it would be Cantillon Gueze, Pilsner Urquel, and Old Speckled Hen
Q: You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you?
A: We talking survival situation here? If so, probably an oversized tarpaulin sheet, Taro root bulbs, and big ol’ flint & steel fire starter. If you’re talking more philosophically, probably a lifetime supply of rum or brown spirit, unlimited supply of pen & paper, and a pair of sunglasses, assuming my food/water/shelter are already taken care of.
Many thanks Bret! The Urban Artifact Range is available here from Beers of Europe.