Karl Hartdegen, a home brewer, chemist and graduate of the University of New Orleans Hospitality & Tourism Management master's degree program, is Crescent City Brewhouse's newest brewer. After completing a marketing project in the UNO program, Hartdegen approached brewhouse founder, owner and brewmaster Wolfram Koehler seeking an internship.
Hartdegen began his apprenticeship under Koehler in summer 2015 while he finished his master's program. Hartdegen became a full-time brewer in January. Hartdegen also has a degree in biology from LSU, where he focused on plants and microbiology.
Crescent City Brewhouse is unique in the New Orleans area for its adherence to the German beer purity law called Reinheitsgebot, which limits brewers to four ingredients: water, barley (wheat is permitted as well), yeast and hops. Brewhouse primarily brews German-style lagers and ales, including its flagship pilsner and Red Stallion, a traditional Vienna lager. In recent months, it bowed to customer demand and added an IPA to the permanent rotation.
"I feel that in some ways I am carrying an heirloom of traditional brewing that has been passed down through generations," Hartdegen says. "The old ways are becoming increasingly rare in this exciting renaissance of craft beer, but I am fortunate to have great mentors within the organization to train me in the modern adaption of traditional brewing techniques."
"I'm excited every day to go into work," he adds. "I get to brew for the flagship [beer] destination of our city."