Max Oswald on the Death Cast


“It is one of the coolest things I have ever been involved with” - Max Oswald, brewmaster Olde Saratoga Brewing Company





There are two topics discussed in Science on this episode and the first has to do with Google AI getting smarter and faster. The second is even more surprising as organic material has been found on Ceres, a minor planet in the asteroid belt, raising questions of extra-terrestrial life. On What Fuels You Dustin and Jeff discuss having passion for creating something and how that can fuel you to continue to open new paths in life. Finally some really interesting merchandise is coming to the World's Strongest Coffee.


Max Oswald learned how to brew beer the right way and now helps create some amazing things with Olde Saratoga Brewery. The podcast goes on location to talk with Max about what really goes into brewing beer and how Olde Saratoga operates. Also he talks about the collaboration between Olde Saratoga Brewery and Death Wish Coffee to produce beer and the brand new Nitro Cold Brew coffee.


Dustin: People who are connected with the company, we always open up with how they got connected with the company.

Jeff: Yeah. How did Old Saratoga Brewing and Death Wish Coffee kind-of ... How did that compilation happen?

Max: It's a pretty ... It's a nice freakin' network story, right?

Jeff: All right.

Max: So, as a guy, City Tavern, Chris Mack is the GM down there. Maybe the best bear taste buds of anybody I know.

Dustin: Yep.

Max: And, we were looking to do collaboration beer for Beer Week a couple years ago. He's like, "Why don't you do a coffee IPA?" And back ... It's so hard, in beer, to go back a couple years, 'cause you know, now you see it. You see coffee IPAs, coffee this and that. But back then, there weren't any. Maybe one or two around. And I was really skeptical, 'cause how do hops, big hops, and the worlds strongest coffee come together, or any coffee?

Dustin: Right.

Jeff: Any coffee.

Max: At the time it was any coffee.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: But, I trust this guy. So I'm like, "Yeah, yeah." So, I was gonna go probably hook up with the guys on Broadway. And, somebody said to me, "Well, they already did a beer with another brewery, Browns." And I was like, "Well, that's weird. Browns in Troy. Why would they be dealing with the Saratoga Company?"
So, I'm literally Christmas shopping, and my wife loves these puzzles from G Willikers, and I was like, "You know what? I'm gonna walk into coffee traders. I'm gonna grow a set, see if they're interested." So I walk in. I'm like, "Hey. I'm Max. I work down at the brewery. You guys got any interest, maybe, in doing a coffee beer with us?" Somebody at the counter says, "Hold on," and brings up the manager. The manager comes up. "Hey, I work at the brewery, man. You interested in maybe in doing a coffee beer with us?" "Hold on." Dials a phone, and I'm on with John down at Death Wish.

Dustin: Yeah. Yeah.

Max: And, literally the rest just unfolds after that.

Dustin: Nice. So, the moral of the story is, grow a pair.

Max: Grow a pair.

Jeff: All right. I like that.

Max: Walk in with your bag of kids toys [crosstalk 00:01:56].

Dustin: I feel like there's a lot of instances in life where I'm just like, "Man. I'm really worked up and kind-of wound up to pull the trigger on this." Or, sending an email that's super important and super maybe controversial, and I would just kind-of wince and send, and it's ... But, it always works out.

Jeff: Grow that pair.

Dustin: I don't know. I guess that's what it is.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: You gotta grow that pair.
So, you started talking to John. And, what was the first creation that came out of it? How did that go down? How do you mix coffee with beer? How do you make this product? How do you make magic, Max?

Max: Well, that's really the hard part. A lot of guys will just take coffee and put it in beer ... be brewed coffee, cold brew, extract, whatever. But, even ... And, again, you go back a few years, this is before Death Wish blew up. They were still a brand, successful and well known, but they weren't anything like we are now. So, we've gotta kind of meld these two companies together. And, very different ... companies. We're kind of a typical ... We're a little bit old school. We got a little Victorian stuff.

Jeff: Yeah. You guys are a little bit more traditional, we're a little bit more like new, trendy.

Max: Yeah. You guys live on the internet, cyber, and sell without barriers, right?

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Max: And, we're bricks and mortar, and everything we sell has to go through a whole set of systems with ... TTB and distributors and everything. And, that was probably the hardest part. 'cause, you could say, you can come up with a product and sell it in China, Japan, wherever you want. And, John couldn't understand why I couldn't sell this beer in Syracuse. And it's like, "'cause I have to develop a whole relationship with the distributor. And it's sort of a death-do-you-part kind of thing. I can't just end that relationship." So, it had a whole level of complexity.
And so, it's kind of neat how we grew together, right? As he learned ... It's great when you work with guys working in a business without barriers. They're just like, "Why can't we do that?" And it was like working with a little kid. "Why can't," "Why can't," "Why can't?" And I was like, "Well, 'cause of the TTB. Because of distributors. 'cause of state alcohol laws." But, it pushed my brain open and stuff. And, through the whole thing was understanding how Death Wish worked and making sure that our coffee beers were the best. The best ever. 'cause it wasn't just in a [inaudible 00:04:17]. It wasn't coffee. It was a partnership and a relationship with two companies.
So, how do you make it work? We brought our breweries together. So, the day we did it, it was all the guys from Death Wish, all the guys from Adirondack Brewing, and all the guys from us. And, we had brewed a base beer, and then we just fooled around with different tastes using coffee or cold brew. But, we decided that those flavors were too strong, so we actually ended up working with the whole beans and letting it percolate.

Dustin: Yeah. Oh, nice.

Max: I think that's where you find a real difference in our beers.

Dustin: Make a little beer coffee soup.

Max: Yeah. So the flavors just kind-of meld as opposed to being added.

Dustin: How long ... I'm so curious how ... So, you're sitting there, you're mixing stuff, you're trying it. How long does that take to mix it up and then ... There must be some time in between trying to make it and then trying it.

Max: So, the brewing process for us is about 14 days. Then the coffee process was getting the flavors ... the flavor concept right. And then we decided to go with that whole bean. Then it was like the nail-biting. How long do you leave the beans in, right?

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: Especially because the first beer was an IPA. It wasn't like we were doing a stout or a porter where there's sort-of a lot to maybe cover up where it fits in. But, with an IPA, it had to lay in there just right. So, we literally were tasting this beer every 12 hours.

Dustin: Oh, weird.

Max: The coolest part: We were producing for another brewery. We were kegging their beer. And, we tasted the Nightmare IPA for the first time, me and the brewers. And we're like, "It's ready." We stopped the other guy's production, kegged the bear. 'cause, we didn't want it to sit there any longer.

Dustin: Right.

Jeff: Yeah.

Max: And, we finished the guy's production the following day.

Dustin: Oh, wow.

Max: 'cause, we hit that spot.

Dustin: Weird. So what-

Jeff: Is there a moment, like that, is it really touch and go? If you hit that spot and you let it sit, will it spoil? Will you miss that window then?

Dustin: Will it steep too much?

Jeff: Yeah, kind of thing.

Max: I think it'll steep too much.

Jeff: Yeah. Okay.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: So, right, coffee, Death Wish coffee, especially, is so powerful, so strong. And, now you're in an IPA and you're working delicate flavors. So, if you let it sit there too long, the coffee would just overpower it and it would just ... it would've been ... It still would've been okay, but it wouldn't have been what we want.

Jeff: But it wouldn't hit that sweet spot. Wow.

Dustin: Interesting. So, I find ... So, just to throw the viewers, or the listeners, off a little bit. The Kolsch. So, it's a coffee Kolsch. Kolsch is a type of beer, right?

Jeff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Max: Yeah.

Dustin: And, you must have just very lightly let that steep, 'cause it's very ... It's nice. It's not overpowering at all. I think if you didn't tell anybody it was a coffee beer, you wouldn't be able to tell.

Max: So, that one ... As we wanted to build this relationship over time, the ... We did the IPA. That was great. It was really good. And then we did the Dream Pie, which was an Old Mill Stout. It was really, really good.

Dustin: Dream Pie killed it. Yeah. I feel like Dream Pie makes Guinness suck. Like straight up.

Jeff: Yep.

Max: So, looking ahead, how do we go into the summer? How do we go into the lighter beers and maintain this partnership? So, our summer beer is a Kolsch, which is, by its nature, light and fruity and really dependent on the yeast and the process. So, it's a real delicate beer. And, we tried blending regular Death Wish into it, and it was ... just didn't work. The coffee was too strong.
So, I called John up, which is ... This is where the relationship is so key. "John, I wanna do a summer beer." "Yes, I want you to do a summer beer." "But, Death Wish is too strong." So, I don't know if he's gonna say, "Well, then we're not doing a summer beer." He goes, "Well, what do you want?" "I want a coffee that's light, fruity, and maybe is picking up of peach and pear flavors." He's like, "Uh, give me a week." Come on down and, sure enough, he sourced a single origin bean from somewhere.
That's why I hate this dog.

Dustin: Yeah. How do you make a beer out of dog? I want to do flavored beer.

Jeff: Yikes. Simpson's did it.

Dustin: Really?

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: Weird.

Jeff: It was called Red Tick Ale.

Dustin: Oh, yeah. I remember that one. Weird. Weird. Okay.

Jeff: But, anyway.

Dustin: So, you wanted this fruity beer or light fruity type beer. Death Wish is not gonna cut it 'cause it's too intruding.

Max: Exactly.

Dustin: So, what did you do?

Max: So, John goes, "Oh, give me a week and let me source some stuff." And, sure enough, we grab Chris Mack from City Tavern again. We go down to Death Wish and-

Dustin: So, he's like the golden tongue? Is that his role?

Max: I think so. Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: Interesting.

Max: He ... If ever I'm lost, I go and I just suck off of him, 'cause his brain is steps ahead. It's great, 'cause he works in one of the biggest beer bars in town. So, he's really involved with what's going on in future trends, where I'm kind-of living my own reality. And, it sometimes gets a little hard to move out there. So, you go and you just hang out with that guy and let it drip off of him on to me. And you're like, "Okay, I can do that."
But, his taste buds are so good. And, he'll say like, "This'll sell," which is also the other part. Anyone can make great beer, but if it doesn't sell, it doesn't do any of us any good. "Oh, great. I partnered with Death Wish, I put out a beer, and it flopped."

Dustin: Yeah.

Jeff: No.

Max: Nah, that's not part of the scenario. It's gotta be good, and it's gotta work. It's gotta sell.
So, it was cool. We were down, and [Taya 00:09:55] had all the [inaudible 00:09:56] out. And, she's teaching us about blooming, right, and all this stuff that we don't know.

Jeff: Yeah, the blooming. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Max: And it's like, "Yeah. We're into it." And, we sampled all these different coffees. And, I'd bought some European Kolsch in a bottle so that we had a base. And, we just did some blending until we knew ... It's like anything that you do. You don't get the exact thing, but you know that it's working.

Jeff: Of course. Right.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: You know that you got the seed of how it can happen.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: And, between us all ... probably between John and Chris, the figured the right ... coffee for it. And then John roasted it a certain way. And, it was so cool 'cause you got this light colored beer in the summer, but still distinctively coffee but not in your face.

Dustin: It's refreshing, man. It's nice.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: I love the Kolsch. It's straight up awesome.

Max: One of my favorites. [crosstalk 00:10:46]. 'cause, nobody's doing that stuff, you know?

Dustin: Yeah. I think that's what I like about it is, you're not gonna get a light beer with coffee flavor. Who the hell does that? Nobody's done that. And, you succeeded in it. Definitely. It's awesome.

Jeff: And, yeah. It's really cool to just hear about how you're willing to try all these new ways of brewing beer, basically. For the layman, brewing beer is just, "Oh, I'm gonna just take some hops and I'm gonna brew some stuff and make the beer."

Max: Yeah.

Jeff: But, Old Saratoga is a company that wants to just constantly push that envelope and try that. Try new things, which is really interesting.
Can we talk a little bit about Old Saratoga Brewing itself? We're actually recording this right in the tasting room. Yeah, it's a beautiful bar.

Dustin: Yeah. If you can't hear all the yammering and the awesome bar sounds behind us, it's ... We're on site people. This is awesome.

Jeff: We couldn't be at a better place.

Dustin: Yeah.

Jeff: But, what's a little of the history of Old Saratoga Brewing? How long has this brewery even been around?

Max: It's been around for quite a while. It's been around since '99.

Jeff: Okay.

Max: We've gone through a bunch of changes like you'd expect. And, it kind of goes with the ebb and flow of the business. It got really popular, it kind of had a little pullback. Then it got popular again, and then now we're in an unprecedented crazy time-

Dustin: Awesome.

Max: ... where brands are just popping up. Breweries are popping up. You can't even keep track of it. I've been around beer business for quite a bit, and I remember back in the day where you knew everybody.

Jeff: Yeah.

Max: Go to a brew fest and it was like, "Bud, bud, bud." You knew everybody.

Dustin: Yeah. Yeah.

Max: And, it was cool. And, you were really tight. And now, it's just expanded so much, which is great. It's this whole partnership that we've all done to grow this industry, and we work really well together. 'cause our vision forever has been not really competing against each other, it's just growing the category. Bring more people into craft brewing and well all succeed.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Dustin: I feel like most breweries nowadays ... I mean, being at the tap festival with Death Wish, and you guys were there too, it felt like everybody ... The name of the game was, save up, retire, start your own brewery. That was the thing. How did Old Saratoga get started? How did it come to be?

Max: Well, not as romantic a story as we'd love to say. Literally, we're actually owned by Mendocino Brewing in California.

Jeff: Yep.

Dustin: Okay.

Max: Which is fine. It's a little ... it's different. You see a lot of people-

Dustin: How does that work?

Max: Works well for us. But-

Dustin: Nice.

Jeff: Nice. Good answer. That's what I wanna hear.

Max: Basically your boss is in California and never comes and-

Dustin: Yeah, right? It's like having your landlord in another state. You just don't have to worry about shit.

Max: You're seeing more and more guys doing this now. This was one of the first guys to do it, is to have a brewery on the East Coast and West Coast, 'cause that shipping is really annoying and very expensive.

Dustin: Totally. Totally.

Max: And kinda anti-fresh and local. So, what it allows us to do is ... we produce a lot of beers here for ourselves. We produce all the Mendocino and the Saratoga's, but then we contract brew. So, we're a house that, if you guys wanted ... throw in a and come up with your own beer, but don't wanna invest $5-, $10-, $20 million into a brewery, you can come to me with your recipe, and I'll brew it for you.

Jeff: Fueled by Death Cast beer will be in on the shelves in-

Dustin: The Fueled by Death Cast Kolsch.

Jeff: Yeah, there you go.

Dustin: Coming this summer.

Jeff: How many beers does Old Saratoga produce? Is it a constantly growing number, or ...

Max: It's ... yeah. Ridiculous. So, if you look behind us on ... your podcast, right?

Jeff: Yeah. The tap is ... huge. Yeah.

Max: 21 beers currently. And, those are all our beers. There's are just Saratoga and a couple of Mendocino's and a couple of Death Wish, which is our ... it's considered our brand, really.

Jeff: Yep. Oh, totally.

Max: But then we contract brew for another eight or 10 breweries-

Jeff: Wow.

Max: ... another three or four SKUs for each one. And, we also make King Fisher, the Indian beer, for the whole country and Canada.

Dustin: Okay.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: Wow.

Max: So, we ... If you see the GoPro, you see those big tanks, I mean, that's ... that's pretty big sized stuff.

Dustin: Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah. You got a ton of [inaudible 00:15:20].

Max: For a little guy.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: If you look at a big guy there, we're tiny.

Jeff: Right. We're not talking the Budweiser of the world here. I mean, that's really ... I'm always fascinated by a small company that's not small, you know what I mean? And that's what Old Saratoga, to me, really has been. 'cause, I remember '99 when the company kind-of started up and was like, "Oh, well, what's this? What's this new brewery that's in town?" kind of thing. And now it's like ... Just to hear that amount of beer that is produced on a regular basis is ... it's awesome. It's awe-inspiring.

Max: [crosstalk 00:15:57].

Dustin: Yeah. How many Death Wish beers are being ... How many Death Wish lines are out right now?

Max: Well, we got Paralysis, we got Nightmare, we got Nightmare Nitro, we get Dream Pie, and now we have, to be released next week, Jucifer.

Jeff: Jucifer, which will be [crosstalk 00:16:15].

Dustin: But then there's the Kolsch.

Max: The Kolsch, which we're out of right now. So, that will come back in the new summer.

Dustin: But, how many have been made in total?

Max: So, is that-

Dustin: Let's go chronologically. We started out with IPA.

Max: We started with IPA.

Dustin: Then we went to the Dream Pie.

Max: Then we went to Dream Pie. Then we went Kolsch, Pumpkin ...

Dustin: The Black October Fest.

Jeff: October.

Max: Black October Fest.

Dustin: You can't say that with a straight face.

Max: And now we're at Jucifer. So, is that six?

Jeff: I think seven.

Max: Seven?

Jeff: 'cause, there was another one in there, I think.

Dustin: Well, we were saying the one version nitro, right?

Jeff: The Kolsch? Right.

Max: [crosstalk 00:16:50] Nitro [crosstalk 00:16:51]. We've done a lot of them [crosstalk 00:16:52]-

Dustin: But I've had the Kolsch through nitro. That was really good too.

Jeff: So, that's awesome. So, just that partnership has spawned seven brand new beers into the world. That's awesome.

Max: Yeah. It's so cool.

Dustin: Seven coffee beers.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: How many brands, or how many companies ... How many beer companies have done that many lines of coffee beers?

Jeff: None. This one. That's it.

Dustin: This one?

Jeff: That's it.

Dustin: Man.

Jeff: Yeah. And, you brought up, now we're starting to see some of the beers be the nitro version of them as well. Old Saratoga has the huge hand in the nitro brew as well.

Dustin: Yeah. No ... let's highlight that.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: So, the Death Wish Nitro Cold Brew is made here.

Jeff: Right.

Dustin: It's canned here. It's ... This is the home base.

Jeff: It would not exist without Old Saratoga brewery.

Dustin: Yeah. You're our hero for bringing that out. It's been one of our biggest products, and it's going to make Death Wish like ... you can go to a gas station and just grab it off a shelf and drink it immediately. No brewing necessary.

Jeff: So how was that process? Coming up with something ... Going from, where, you're a brewery-

Dustin: 'cause I know it's a pain in the ass. It's-

Jeff: Oh, yeah. And that's kind-of how I wanna get into it. But, you're a brewery who's churning out beer, after beer, after beer, and then you have this little upstart coffee company being like, "We want you to make a nitro cold brew coffee for us." How did that work for you guys?

Max: It's maybe the coolest ... one of the coolest things I've ever really been involved with. Because, right ... you take ... A cold brew is a time-consuming process, and coffee's a horrible substance to work with.

Dustin: No, totally.

Max: It gets everywhere.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: I don't even know ... it's like sawdust.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: You look at it and it just goes.

Dustin: Yep.

Jeff: I sneeze coffee boogers. That's just how that works.

Max: And, you guys walked through, you see, we have to maintain a sanitary facility.

Dustin: Oh, totally.

Max: So, coffee not only has oils, it has freakin' caffeine and really strong flavors. You really don't wanna bring that into your brewery. But -

Dustin: Thanks.

Max: Of course, when you get this thing going, you gotta make it work. So, we literally started on a one barrel system perfecting the cold brew. And, the cool part is I wanna work on a system that works on our big system. But, yet, makes Death Wish happy.
The concept of a 16-hour soak does not work in our environment. So, I wanna replicate that process, that taste, by utilizing our machinery, our technology stuff. And so, we started on a very small scale and have worked it through. And it's been the most painful process I've been through. 18 hour days. One 38 hour day. [crosstalk 00:19:54]-

Dustin: Yeah. I've seen John come back with his eyes rolling back and talking in a different language.

Max: Yeah. Yeah. 'cause you think it through, you bring the best ... everything you can together to make it work. Yet, that coffee doesn't act like malt. It doesn't act like anything we've ever seen. It comes up, and there's this stuff called fines. No matter how hard you-

Dustin: Yep. Gets caught up in the filters.

Max: It gets caught up in everything.

Jeff: Man. I've heard John talk about it for ours.

Max: I mean, you really think about, if you go to the beach, let's say you went to a nude beach.

Jeff: Okay.

Dustin: Awesome. Okay.

Max: Sand. You'll find it. Or, your Christmas tree. You find those needles for weeks, months years-

Jeff: Ever.

Max: ... afterward. It's the same with coffee. It gets it everywhere, and these fine, they're horrible little things. But, they're the gold, right? That's where the flavor is.

Jeff: That's what you want. Yeah.

Dustin: Right.

Max: And so, it's truly a love-hate, you know?

Dustin: Yeah. Well, we were talking about the last episode, sometimes the things that are the most glorious to achieve are the hardest ones to achieve. Sometimes when you go through this pile of work, the end result is that much more gratifying because you went through this pile of work.

Max: Yeah.

Jeff: That's cool.

Max: And then there's a time-

Jeff: [crosstalk 00:21:00].

Max: ... where you look someone in the eye and say, "I will never do this again."

Dustin: That ... wait ... Did that happen?

Max: Yeah. Well, I'll never do the 36-hour job again.

Dustin: Right. Yeah. Right.

Max: I will ... I [crosstalk 00:21:12] how to be smarter, [crosstalk 00:21:13].

Jeff: You gotta work smart, not hard, right?

Max: But you can't ... We did everything right. We built it from two barrels to six barrels, to 30 barrels, and every step of the way created a new ... complication.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: And ... that's been the fuddling part. We talk about the beers we do, and we kinda know what we're doing. We know how to act with it. We know if we do this, [crosstalk 00:21:41] happen.

Dustin: It's a whole new beast.

Max: This was a whole new beast.

Dustin: Yeah, man.

Max: And it's just been ... But, I was a part of it when we did the last run of cold brew. It was me, the three brewers, and John. And, we were there ... It was a 38 hour day. And, nobody ever gave up. It was like, "We will win." And, it was pretty cool. John tells stories all the time. We don't ... Death Wish is high energy and fun and hip guys and stuff. And, we're like this brewery and ... we don't talk a lot. It's kind of funny. We'll look at each other, and we'll look at the machine, we'll look at this concept, and think. And, it's generally a hand signal or a shrug of the shoulders and, "Let's try this." 'cause, we don't talk. 'cause, if you use those words, it creates a ... it shows you what you were up again. So, very few words were spoken.

Dustin: You can't even look the beast in the eyes. You just gotta get through it.

Max: There was a point I thought we weren't gonna make it, and ... somehow, we did. I don't know. And it came out. And, the process is just gonna get better and smoother.

Dustin: So, what's the next move?
So, just to catch everybody up, we were able to make a cold brew satisfactory enough to release it to the masses, and we hope [crosstalk 00:23:00].

Jeff: Be happy with it.

Dustin: And it's done really, really well. But, I know we have some processes to go through to make this a grade A, stellar product. Actually, yesterday, the team and John ... John brought in probably 10 different types of cold brew from other companies, and we tasted them alongside the cold brew, the last line that we just made. And it was like, "How do we make it better?" And, John had a lot in mind. He talked a lot about polishing, which, I don't really know what the hell that means. But, I wanna hear from you what it's gonna take to make this cold brew line better from here.

Max: We're basically, collectively, with two companies are making a pretty big investment into things to modify a couple of our tanks to make this thing work.

Jeff: Whoa.

Max: So, basically we're working in ... Before, what we were doing was kind-of working ... pushing the thing up ... pushing the boulder uphill. Trying to make coffee work into the malt system. And, now that we really understand how nasty coffee is, we're actually gonna build the system to address those needs. So, it's kind of neat. We're fabricating this cone of filtration, basically, that's gonna go into one of our vessels. And, it's basically gonna keep ... The hardest part is separating the liquid from the solid. That's the beast.

Dustin: Yeah. Yeah.

Max: 'cause of those fines. Fucking fines [crosstalk 00:24:28], they just get in the way of everything. So, what we're gonna do is build this cone that's gonna sit in the machine, sit in one of our vessels, that's gonna end up becoming a pre-filter. And, the end result ... We've had the taste all the way. The issue, and I actually had a can today, and it tastes great. But, it's got a little ... it's just got a little haze to it.

Dustin: Yeah. It's almost just like a little bit muddy. And, I think that's what the polish means. We saw it ... Not to name off any other coffee companies, but Stumptown makes a really solid nitrogenated cold brew. And, it was very similar to what we have going on, but at the end of the pour, it starts to ... you can actually see the vicious ... Is that the right word, Jeff?

Jeff: Sure. Sure. Yeah. That works.

Dustin: [crosstalk 00:25:15]. Of the coffee. You could see the head separate and the cascade of the nitrogenation separate from the coffee-

Jeff: Interesting.

Dustin: ... and you got a nice clean coffee. And, I think that's what we're looking for.

Jeff: Wow.

Max: And, we're gonna get it.

Jeff: That's ... incredible that we're making leaps and bounds on something ... as a ... And, again, it's all about the collaboration between the two companies.

Max: Yeah.

Jeff: It's just exciting. Speaking of that, you kind of touched on this earlier. Coming up in, actually, the week that this is going to air, you're releasing the brand new beer, which we're drinking right now, Jucifer.

Max: Yeah.

Jeff: And, that is part of-

Dustin: Drinking profusely. It's delicious.

Jeff: Yes. It is super delicious.

Max: I'm trying to get Meg's attention to get myself another one.

Jeff: That's part of the ... Where we are at in Saratoga, that's part of brew fest, brew week, brew ...

Dustin: It's brew week.

Max: Saratoga Beer Week.

Jeff: Beer week. Yes. Yes.

Dustin: You messed me up, Jeff.

Jeff: One of those.

Dustin: So, what we wanna talk about is Saturday. And, I'll be there Saturday morning. And we have, actually, Jeff and I have a show to finish off the night from beer week at the -

Jeff: The unofficial [inaudible 00:26:21] ... after-party extravaganza.

Max: Oh, really?

Dustin: Yeah. So-

Jeff: Get drunk and rock out with us.

Dustin: ... for the listeners, Jeff and I, and Cane-

Max: Excuse, Meg. Could I have a Jucifer?

Jeff: There it is.

Dustin: So, Cane and Jeff and I, all from Death Wish, we have a band together called Angels on the Fourth.

Jeff: Go look us up.

Max: Love it.

Dustin: So, after the whole beer week is done, we're playing at The Putnam Den to finish off the night.

Max: Oh, sweet.

Dustin: But, that's on Saturday. And, earlier throughout the day on Saturday ... And, I worked this last year. I think it might have been my first even with the company. There's ... it's the last day of beer week, right?

Max: Yeah.

Dustin: So, it's a whole week of all these companies coming together to debut what they have going on.

Jeff: And Saturday's a culmination at the city center, right?

Dustin: And Saturday seems like a beer convention. Like, if you've been to a New York comic con, or if you've been to a tattoo convention, this is a beer convention. You walk around and try all the different ... It gets wild by the end of the night. There are bands and just people walking around with these necklaces with a little drink-

Jeff: There's a glass on it?

Dustin: Yeah, a little glass on it. And, they just drink everything throughout the night.

Jeff: So, what is Old Saratoga gonna be doing at beer week on Saturday, then?

Max: So, we put on a pretty good show. We'll be teamed up with Death Wish. We'll have booths side by side. We will have introduced Jucifer, which we are drinking profusely right now, on Tuesday at the kick-off event. So, the whole event starts Tuesday here at the brewery. There'll be 20 breweries and 10 different restaurants. It's a really cool, chill, sort-of hang out. All the booths are manned by brewery people, and it's great.
Then there'll be a bunch of events throughout the week. We're doing all kinds of Death Wish events, our own events, combo events, and multiple brands all over the town. Then Saturday is the beer summit. I don't know ... 100 breweries or something. But, we'll be there with ... Saratoga will be there with ... We'll have at least nine, maybe 10 beers.

Dustin: Oh, awesome.

Max: And, we'll have a bunch of staff. And, we'll be right next to Death Wish, and we'll be banging this stuff out. We have tattoos-

Dustin: Yeah. I was about to say, are you going to be applying tattoos with your mustache again this year?

Max: That generally is my primary job. And-

Jeff: Oh my goodness. I can't wait.

Dustin: It's a thing, man. It goes on all day.

Jeff: I can't wait.

Dustin: Ah, man. It's some real game.

Jeff: I can't wait.

Max: So, it's great. You get to have some coffee, you get to see the schwag, then you get to try the different beers. Well definitely have Jucifer. I'm sure we'll have Dream Pie, Death Wish Dream Pie. Nightmare too, because that's great.

Jeff: You have to Nightmare. Yeah.

Dustin: Oh, yeah.

Max: And then we'll just be talking. We'll be talking to me all day. That's what we do. We just bang out the beers and talk. "What do you like? What do you wanna see? What's the next thing?"

Dustin: That's awesome. Yeah.

Jeff: That's awesome. That's really cool. Earlier you said you've been in this game for a while as a brewer, not just with Old Saratoga but with other companies as well. We ask everybody on this podcast, what fuels you? What keeps your passion going in this industry? Like you said, it's definitely an ebb and a flow. Especially with a company like Old Saratoga, it's been good times and bad. And, now you guys are producing a ton of beer for multiple different companies, including your own. What keeps you going? What keep-

Dustin: I wanna build off this a little bit too.

Jeff: Okay.

Dustin: So, you're in your 36th hour of trying to brew something. And, everybody's quiet. Nobody's talking to each other, 'cause if anybody names the devil, the rooms gonna fuckin' blow-up.

Jeff: Right.

Dustin: What is? What is it that keeps you-

Jeff: Yeah. Where's that passion come from?

Dustin: What keeps you tide to the rock?

Max: I don't know. I don't know. It's the brand. It's the concept. You work for different brands, but ... over a course of a career, right? But, every brand, you're just ... it's in your blood. This relationship ... It's so much fun dealing with the Death Wish guys, 'cause we weren't front-runners. Our partnership, our relationship, our friendship, which is probably as much as it is a business thing. We hang out. We do stuff together. Started well before things blew up. And, that gives a bedrock. That's what this industry is really. And, I'm sitting here with a beer in front of me, and this thing has got to be something I'm proud of. But, there are six, seven guys here tonight, right? And I want them to love this beer.

Jeff: Right.

Max: So, I don't know. I think some of it's personal.

Dustin: Is it the satisfaction of other people, with the satisfaction that you made this, you created this? You're kind of like a god for beer?

Max: Well, we would never ever think that. That's ... I just don't. You've gotta have a product that people like. But, a lot of it has to do with us, the team ... Every brewery I've ever worked at, it's a tight-knit crew. It's everybody working together. It's a mess of an operation. Things break down. I don't care if you're a new facility, an old facility, you're up against the wall all the time.

Jeff: Yeah. Right. Right.

Max: Yep-

Dustin: Sometimes the trouble's fun. Sometimes when I'm like ... when shit starts to go wrong, it's like, "Oh, this is ... where I get to play my cards. This is what I'm good at. I'm good at dealing with shit going wrong." When shit hits the fan, that's when you dial Dustin, I guess.

Jeff: Okay. All right.

Dustin: And [crosstalk 00:32:19] Max. So ... you love problem-solving. Do you think that's it?

Max: Probably. Probably. I don't know. The cool part about this business is you're in a cool industry. I don't know. One of the cool beer guys was like, "It's basically an ass-hole free industry." And, for the most part, it is. We're competitive, but we're not in competition, you know?

Dustin: Right?

Jeff: Right.

Max: We just ... So, I want you to like my beer better than the other guy. But, as long as you're drinking his beer, that's cool too.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: You know, rather than an export or whatever.

Dustin: You can't have the crabs in a bucket mentality.

Jeff: Right.

Dustin: You can't have dudes just pulling down other dudes just 'cause ... There's room for everybody to succeed. I think that's ... the name of the game. I have no problem with any other coffee companies. We can all ... There are enough people around in the world to buy their brand of coffee company and we'll do just fine. And that-

Jeff: I think we do better because we support the people around us.

Max: Exactly. Yes.

Jeff: Like you said earlier, Max, it's all about ... It's not about a competition. It's about just, let's bolster the industry.

Max: Yeah.

Jeff: Let's all make a great product. Let's all make something awesome and, therefore, the entirety of that industry is better for it. And, that's awesome. That's why this collaboration works so well, I think, too.

Max: Yes.

Dustin: So, what's next for Old Saratoga brewery? What's the next step? Besides refining the cold brew process for us, what do you have in mind as far as brews coming up?

Jeff: Anything crazy on the docket?

Max: The two ... Jucifer has got a lot of potential. We didn't know, and maybe that's the most exciting thing.

Dustin: It's got a lot of colors to it.

Max: So, this is ... I don't ... how much we talked about this. This is a New England sort-of juicy IPA. It's a big, hoppy beer. I'm not gonna call it a hop bomb because it's not overpoweringly hoppy-

Jeff: Yeah. Not at all.

Max: But, there's a boatload of hops in there. There's hops in the boil, [inaudible 00:34:38] centennial. Then there's a double dry hop. We literally dry hop it for three days, and then dry hop it for three more days, and then introduce the coffee to it.

Jeff: What?

Max: So, it's this really precise process that we don't know how it's gonna work. And we still don't know, 'cause we haven't released it yet.

Dustin: Yeah.

Max: My assumption is that people are gonna love it. And the graphics ... Thomas is a freakin' genius.

Jeff: Yeah.

Dustin: Yeah, we talk about Thomas a lot. Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah, I love that graphic.

Max: The best graphics guy to work with ever.

Dustin: Yeah.

Jeff: Yeah. He's a hard worker, too, [crosstalk 00:35:11].

Max: So, we've got tremendous graphics. We've got a really great beer. So, for me, I'm not thinking about the next one. I'm thinking about how to make this one a little more accessible. Not mass, 'cause, by its nature, it has to be small.

Jeff: Right. Distributing and ... Yeah.

Max: But, if it does what we want, we might throw it in a can for the summer.

Jeff: Oh, wow.

Dustin: Awesome.

Jeff: That's awesome.

Max: We might throw it in a can for the summer.

Dustin: I think John had mentioned something about that.

Jeff: That's really, really cool.

Max: Yeah, well John like snaps his ... "Max put it on the can." "No problem, man."

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. Of course. Of course.

Dustin: He finds a way ... That man, if he wants something done, he finds a way.

Jeff: Yeah, he does.

Dustin: He really does. And, I'm sure we'll get him on the podcast eventually to tell you how to get your way.

Jeff: Yes. No, how to get his way.

Dustin: How to get ... When he wants to be on the podcast, he'll end up on the podcast.

Jeff: But ... Speaking of ... Thank you so much for being on this podcast. We love getting the chance to talk with people, and companies, that work hand-in-hand with Death Wish coffee. And, Old Saratoga is right there on the front lines. Like you said, it's this symbiotic relationship that happened before Death Wish ever had any of the accolades that it has right now. And, it's just ... It really is amazing to hear right from your mouth what has been happening. It's really cool.

Dustin: Yeah. This is fun man. And, yeah, we're happy to have you. Thank you so much, man.

Max: Absolutely. Thank you guys.

Dustin: Awesome.