Head of Sour Production Rich Kilcullen Departing Wicked Weed For BrewDog

10 January 2017

imageFrom Wicked Weed:

It is with heavy hearts that we must say goodbye to our Head of Sour Production, Rich Kilcullen. Rich (right) has been hugely instrumental in creating our sour program from its infancy. He's now off to do it again for Brewdog and their new sour program in Scotland.

Rich's departure now leads to a re-structuring of our program. Head wood cellar man, Andrew Zinn (left) will now be assuming day-to-day operations as our Head of Sour Production. Andrew has been a part of our sour program from day one, filling barrels with Walt in the lot behind the Brewpub. His in-depth knowledge, and experience in our program makes this move an exciting one for us.

This happens in addition to us promoting Wicked Weed employee number one, Eric Leypoldt (center), to Head of Brewing Operations.

Although it's always hard to see someone in the family go, the effect Rich has had on our program will forever be seen and felt here at Wicked Weed. Thank you for all you've done, Rich. We will miss you. Cheers.

And this from BrewDog:

The tinsel is barely back in the cupboard, but we are already looking ahead to the amazing things 2017 has in store at BrewDog. One of the projects we are most excited about – and have been for a while – is the development of our standalone sour beer facility, for which construction is set to begin on January 16th. The BrewDog Overworks will exist to explore the wonders of sour beer, so we knew we needed someone at the helm from the cutting edge, with incredible experience of brewing and creating sours in a world-leading brewery.

And we have found just that person to be our BrewDog Overworks Brewmaster.

We are hugely excited to announce that we have taken on board Richard Kilcullen, former head of Sour Production at one of America’s foremost craft breweries – Wicked Weed.

Richard combines over a decade’s worth of brewing experience with a lifetime obsession with homebrewing old-world styles and wild ales, picking up imported sour beers and propagating the yeast for his own experiments. A day 1 appointee at Wicked Weed, he moved up from assistant brewer to overseeing the multi award-winning barrel programme in only three years. Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit the Funkatorium in person, or try Wicked Weed’s bottled beers in the UK, knows the astonishing skill and talent displayed in the brewhouse on a weekly basis.

“These beers take months to create and you can taste that time and layered development,” he says, pondering why sours have struck a chord with today’s craft beer drinkers. “To me, these ‘cultured’ ales create a sense of place and terroir that you can never get from conventional beer. You get the natural barnyard notes of wild yeasts, the vinous notes of aged hops, the bright acidity of fruit fermentations and the minerality of the local water, all playing together in a layered beer that begs you to take your time and think while you enjoy it.”

With Richard leaving North Carolina for Ellon our new sour facility simply could not be in better hands. Speaking of which, are we going to see Richard in the surrounding landscape trying to harness the wild flora of Aberdeenshire?

“One of my greatest passions as a brewer is incorporating the local flavors and flora into my beers. I look forward to finding native yeasts and microbes everywhere from the heather-strewn fields, the oldest of orchards, and maybe some of the icy peaks in the Highlands as well. The Scots are no strangers to wild yeast and barrel aging and I hope to tap into that tradition to give BrewDog beers an identity all their own.”

When we set out to bring someone into the BrewDog crew to lead our new forays into the world of wild and sour beer, farmhouse ales and mixed fermentations we really couldn’t have imagined we would end up with someone with the skill, experience and knowledge Richard brings to the Overworks. He is the perfect person to bring this exciting new facet for BrewDog to life. For confirmation of that, look no further than his overall philosophy about craft beer.

“I love seeing the rise of region-specific styles and trends and the fierce pride beer drinkers have for them and I hope that continues,” he says. “The craft beer industry is one of the most supportive and symbiotic industries out there; if we pay attention to what people want, and produce it with integrity and care, we have nowhere to go but up.”

Join us in welcoming Richard to the BrewDog team by letting him know in the comments what kind of sour and wild ales you’d like to see him unleash from the Overworks!

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