Roots Release: Wolf Picker Experimental Pale Ale


Inspired by our small-batch pilot system, the Roots Release series honors our experimental brewing roots and invites Odell Brewing fans to sample some of our favorites. Each Roots Release can be found in our Montage Variety Packs, which change every season. The Winter-Spring Montage Variety Pack will include three each of 90 Shilling, IPA, Runoff Red IPA, and our newest Roots Release – Wolf Picker Experimental Pale Ale.

Wolf Picker is named in honor of our hop growing community and the harvesting rig many use. Each year’s brew is crafted with the same malt base but with new and unique varieties of hops. Members of our brewing team spend time learning about hop varieties and discussing them with hop growers before deciding on their favorites, which they then use in 5-barrel pilot batches prior to approving them for Wolf Picker. This year’s duo came from the Yakima Valley of Washington, where our brewers visit each year to walk the fields in search of unique hops.

Wolf Picker ’15 (our second in the series) features the experimental HBC (Hop Breeding Company) #472 hop, and the recently reintroduced Comet hop. The two offer a complex and layered hop character that combines hints of grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine in the bright aroma, with a refreshing tropical fruit and citrus hop flavor. Brendan McGivney, Odell Brewing’s head of production, is excited that the Comet hop is back in the mix now that craft brewing has become more experimental, and brewer and agronomist Scott Dorsch agrees. “[Comet] could become the next big craft brewers’ hop.”Johnny hops 5

HBC #472 follows a line of Hop Breeding Company experimental hops that have been tested at Odell Brewing, according to Dorsch.  HBC #369 (now commonly known as “Mosaic”) was featured in Woodcut #6 in 2012 and HBC #366 (now known as “Equinox”) was one of two hops used in the 2013 version of Wolf Picker.
In April 2014, Karl Vanevenhoven of  Yakima Chief and Zach Turner of Hopunion pilot brewed a single hop beer with HBC #472 on the pilot system to create a one-time brew.  The pilot was served in the taproom as “Super Union Chief” and commemorated combining the operations of Yakima Chief and Hopunion in 2014. Now, the hop’s unique characteristics shine in the Roots Release brew.

The Winter-Spring Montage Variety Pack, featuring Wolf Picker ’15, will begin shipping to our 11-state distribution area in late December.

Odell Brewing Co. cellar expansion increases fermentation capacity by 3,200 barrels

Tank above

On Dec. 10, the Odell Brewing Co. maintenance team assisted with the installation of eight new fermentation tanks, increasing fermentation capacity to a total of 4,800 barrels. The 400BBL stainless steel tanks will sit alongside the eight tanks that already exist on the west side of the brewery. The project, which also includes electrical work, plumbing, and tank cleaning, is expected to wrap up by Feb. 1, 2015.

Tanks in back 1

Tank on truck

Though the brewery’s fermentation capacity will nearly double once the project is completed, the plan is still to increase brewing capacity by about 15 percent each year. New tanks mean more room to focus on Cellar Series and sour projects with the older, 100BBL fermentors, while the new vessels will be used for classic and seasonal offerings.

Original tanks

This will be one of many expansion projects Odell Brewing has completed since opening in 1989. In 2010, the warehouse was equipped to ferment 3,600 barrels at one time. In 2013, a new brew house was added, and the taproom and patio were remodeled. Now, Odell Brewing is projected to sell 100,000 barrels by year’s end, with room to grow.

Pan out

tank in

Ryan and tanks BW


Bottle cap wreath ornament tutorial

Step 4As one may guess, we have lots of extra bottle caps hanging around the brewery. We’re always looking for ways to upcycle our used materials so they don’t reach the landfill, so we decided to make wreath ornaments with some scraps and caps we found. Perhaps you have enough caps to make one too!


  • 21 red and green bottle caps (you can get them from Isolation Ale, 5 Barrel, and Gramps)
  • 4×4-inch scrap of cardboard (we used the inside of a 4-pack)
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Ribbon
  • String or yarn (we used the handle of an old paper gift bag)





  • Step 1: Cut a 4×4-inch piece of cardboard into a circle and cut a hole in the center to create your wreath base.

Step 1

  • Step 2: Using a hot glue gun, add two layers of bottle caps to the wreath (the red caps go on the bottom). Don’t worry about filling the whole cap with glue; a little on each side goes a long way. Add one final red cap to the bottom center. Pull off any excess glue once it cools.

Step 2

  • Step 3: Use ribbon to tie a bow and glue it to the top of your wreath.
  • Step 3Step 4: Cut a piece of yarn, string, or other material for a loop at the top of your wreath and glue it to the back.

Final Product