Adam Frantz headed home earlier this week to graduate.
The new Sound to Summit head brewer traveled to Vermont for a week of brewing courses to finish a brewing science program with the American Brewers Guild. Before graduation, Frantz, who grew up in the Green Mountain State, will go through sensory training, tour a number of breweries and learn hands-on brewing and quality-control techniques from experts.
It’s a culmination of a journey Frantz when he received the Glen Hay Falconer Scholarship last year. The Glen Hay Falconer Foundation awards scholarships to brewers so they can attend U.S. brewing academies. Falconer, who died in 2002, was an avid home and professional brewer in Oregon.
“The courses have really helped me look at certain elements of the brewing process differently,” said Frantz, a professional brewer with seven years of experience. “It’s not so much recipe development as ways to fine tune what you’re doing and take your brewing to the next level.”
Already Frantz says he’s making better beer at Sound to Summit. He replaced all of the ball valves on the brewing equipment with butterfly valves for better sanitation and installed new faucets and gaskets on the brewery’s pour system to keep the foam down.
Frantz cut his teeth on huge systems at Mac & Jack’s and American Brewing, before designing a four-barrel brewery system at his last job as head brewer at Belltown Brewing in Seattle.
“I really feel like I know what makes a good (brewing) system now,” Frantz said.
Frantz landed at Sound to Summit after making a connection with one of the owners. He was ready to get out of the city, and said the collaborative feel of the Snohomish beer scene appealed to him. The new owners of Sound to Summit say they are excited to have Frantz on board.
“Adam brings energy, expertise and ideas that already benefit both Sound to Summit and Lost Canoe,” owner Will Hezlep said. “We’re all really enjoying his new beers and only look forward to the future. Adam is a rock star, and we couldn’t be happier.”
Having taken over Sound to Summit’s brewing operations last month, Frantz is enjoying brewing on the brewery’s seven-barrel system. He’s already giving it a workout: He’s in the middle of releasing four different IPAs in four weeks, having introduced the third one, Cascade Hazy, Jan. 29 and the final IPA, Ryesing Tide, a rye IPA with a heavy Simcoe dry hop on July 6.
“I like the creativity possible on a smaller system,” Frantz said. “It’s nice to have the flexibility to brew smaller, experimental batches. You can’t do that in a 30-barrel brewhouse.”
After coming on board, Frantz looked around and realized none of the breweries in town are considered IPA strongholds. So he started looking for ways to bolster Sound to Summit’s IPA lineup, which includes its flagship IPA, Six Gill. After the four IPAs in four weeks series, Frantz plans to release a collaboration series of seven double IPAs with crosstown brewery Haywire Brewing called Seven Summits Series.
Frantz noted that he’s not planning any changes to the flagship lineup. Some beers may go based on popularity, but he’s not changing any of former Sound to Summit brewer Grady Warnock’s recipes.
Also on this week’s taster tray:
Purple Rain, Scrappy Punk Brewing/Illuminati Brewing: Bellingham’s Illuminati Brewing asked Snohomish’s Scrappy Punk Brewing to be its “date” for its ’80s Beer Prom, and the two came up with quite a beer. The two breweries used butterfly pea flower, food-grade glitter and yogurt to make a kettle sour purple glitter gose. The event is 5:30 p.m. June 30 at The Leopold Ballroom, 1224 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, and tickets are $20. Available on tap at the ’80s Beer Prom.
Shindig Lemon Shandy, Timber Monster Brewing: A perfect summer beer that mixes a light blonde ale and the taste of lemonade. Available on tap at the brewery and the Sultan Shindig Festival July 13-14.
Hazy Boy 2.0, Lazy Boy Brewing: Hazy IPA brewed with Azacca, Lemondrop and Orbit hops. Available on tap at the brewery.
Fruity McBruty, Middleton Brewing: The latest in Middleton’s Cereal Killer Series is a brut IPA brewed with Fruity Pebbles and coffee. Available on tap at the brewery and Toggle’s Bottleshop.
Cucumber Gin, Spada Farmhouse Brewery: Aged four months in Skip Rock gin barrels, this Belgian single fermented with Abbey Ale yeast is also aged on cucumbers and lime zest. Available on tap at the brewery.
Nature’s Son, Decibel Brewing: A light and refreshing pilsner malt-based saison with ginger, pineapple and strawberry. Available on tap at the brewery.
Tommy Talon Goes to Space, Skookum Brewery: Brewed for The Beer Junction’s eighth anniversary celebration, this IPA is made of red wheat and spelt and hopped with Galaxy, Citra, El Dorado and Denali hops. Available on tap at the brewery and at The Beer Junction.
Cascade Haze IPA
Sound to Summit Brewing, Snohomish
Style: Hazy IPA
Stats: 6.5 percent ABV, 60 IBU
Available: On tap at the brewery
From the brewery: Sound to Summit head brewer Adam Frantz’s newest IPA creation has a light malt profile and big hop presence, giving it notes of tropical fruit, melon, guava and passion fruit.