The secret weapon of any brewery worth its salt is a quality control person with a sensitive palate and a genuine understanding of how flavor is made in beer. Ryan Myhre, Talking Cedar’s quality control technician, has both of those traits on lock down. He also happens to be from Wisconsin, arguably the country’s original beating heart of beer culture.
Ryan earned a master’s degree in biochemical engineering from the University of Minnesota and has spent over nine years working in the brewing industry professionally. He was in the midst of putting together a new brewery in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. New travel restrictions meant he wasn’t going to be able to see his four children, who live in Aberdeen, so when he found the opportunity to join the team at Talking Cedar in Rochester, he jumped on it.
“Right now, I’m spending a lot of time with yeast,” Ryan says when asked what his day looks like. “We’re dialing in standard operating procedures and formulating mass recipes so that when we translate from the Annex to the big system, everything tastes exactly the same.” Ryan also writes the descriptions of all the beers they brew.
Ryan is excited about the level of creativity that’s being encouraged at Talking Cedar. While part of his work has been helping to perfect a roster of solid, easy-drinking beer with mass market appeal, the team of brewers he belongs to values experimentation and pushing boundaries. “Once we get our lab set up, I want to go out to places like Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula to try and isolate native microbes and use them to make a hyper-local saison or a farmhouse beer,” Ryan explains.
His favorite Talking Cedar offering at the moment is our new American Wheat. According to his description, it’s “brewed with sweet and bitter orange peel and dry hopped with Citra and Azacca hops,” and has a “bright citrus flavor” with “orange juice notes and a subtle doughy character.” His favorite food to pair with a cold beer is what they call a “relish tray” back in Wisconsin. In these parts we usually hear it called a charcuterie or a cheese board, but “relish tray” does have a nice ring to it.
“Brewing is very science heavy, but generally a black box, artsy kind of craft,” Ryan says when asked why he loves to brew. “I appreciate that it’s a little bit of both of those.”