Take a guess how many new beers are released every week. Did you guess 500 million? Well, you undershot it. Think bigger next time. And we would know because we comb through every single one each week to cull the list down to five that standout for only reasons us and our god (Swamp Thing) understand, thinking there might be inspiration for one of your next creations. This week, you will find some noteworthy collaborations, some subtly new pale ales, something that hasn’t happened since 2011 and maybe the oldest brewed beer ever to be release.
Ninkasi Brewing gets in touch with its lighter side in CraftLife category
Some lighter fare is on the way from Eugene, Ore.’s Ninkasi Brewing — Prismatic Juicy IPA and Yours Truly Easy-Drinking Ale — joining Pacific Rain year-round in its new “CraftLife” category. The lighter, flavorful beers represent a shift for the 11-year-old brewery. Long known for its bold, hoppy beers, such as its flagship Total Domination IPA, Ninkasi set out to meet the evolving tastes of craft beer lovers.
Prismatic, Yours Truly, and Pacific Rain are all lower in alcohol and IBUs than many of Ninkasi’s core brands, pairing perfectly with whatever adventures lie ahead. In addition, all three beers will hit store shelves in gorgeous new cans—a first for Ninkasi—to better accompany craft beer lovers on the move.
Prismatic Juicy IPA – 5.9% ABV, 36 IBU. This beer is all about playing up the juicy hop notes. To do so, Ninkasi brewers added Mosaic and Simcoe CRYO HOPS, creating an IPA that is citrusy, tropical and bright with notes of pineapple, passionfruit and guava. The can design depicts a playful color palette that speaks to the tropical flavors and aroma of the beer.
Yours Truly Easy-Drinking Ale – 4.3% ABV, 20 IBU. Yours Truly is crisp and refreshingly effervescent. Its delicate hop bouquet offers a lightly floral, herbal and fruity flavor profile. With a smooth finish, Yours Truly leaves one ready for the next sip.
Sierra Nevada teams with world’s oldest brewery on epic collab
Reminding us of when Hulk Hogan faced the Rock at Wrestlemania XVIII, Weihenstephan, one of the world’s oldest breweries, has embarked on a dream-team partnership with Sierra Nevada to create “Braupakt,” aneagerly-anticipated Hefeweissbier. Weihenstephaner Braupakt will be available nationwide in April 2018.
Brewmasters from the two breweries spent the better part of 2017 on recipe development, ultimately creating the fruity-hoppy Braupakt, brewed with the Hallertauer Tradition hop and refined with American West Coast Amarillo and Chinook hops. Both Weihenstephan and Sierra Nevada are widely recognized for establishing brewing standards for their respective styles, and are renowned for their contributions to contemporary brewing techniques. Braupakt (literally translated; Brewery Pact) merges “old world” purity standards and brewing methodologies with “new world” innovation and hop flavors. The name plays on America’s “bro pact” vernacular for fraternal allegiances and the label features the imperial Bavarian bear sporting a “hang loose” gesture.
“We are extremely excited to share our Braupakt collaboration with the beer community. When we look to create these partnerships, rarely do you get to work with breweries of [Weihenstephan’s] stature and we were blown away by the process,” noted Scott Jennings, brewmaster of Sierra Nevada. “Not only are we blown away by the finished beer… we learned a lot on this journey as well from one of the original visionaries in our industry.”
Taste description: The amber, naturally cloudy Hefeweissbier adorns a creamy head and smells of peach, apricot and citrus fruits with a fine banana yeast note as well as a refreshing grapefruit note from the Chinook hops. The fruity peach and apricot taste of the Amarillo hops is complemented by the mild sweetness of the used caramel malt. The fine, fresh body of Hefeweissbier develops a harmonious mouthfeel on the finish.
Original wort 14.5%
Alcohol content ~ 6.0%
Malt: wheat malt, light and dark barley malt, caramel malt
Bitter value: ~ 35 IBU
Surly Brewing reduces the gluten in latest year-round IPA
Surly Brewing‘s new IPA, Hopshifter, changed constantly over the last year as the brewery kept trying out new, experimental hops. The latest formulation is now available in select markets.
Let’s address the last point first. Hopshifter started in our Beer Hall as a way for our brewers to tinker with experimental hop varieties. They’re often so new that they don’t have sweet names like Amarillo or Mosaic yet, just an alphanumeric code. They’d fill a tank, put it on draft, and keep drilling down. It was a Surly-wide learning process, from our brew team to the hop-hunting IPA lovers who visit our Beer Hall. We made a dozen versions of Hopshifter over the last year, dialing in what worked and eliminating what didn’t. We’re now confident enough to send the new variations out into the world.
While the end result is now being distributed, the philosophy is the same: When it’s gone, it is gone. This distributed version will include Bru-1 hop, along with Citra and Chinook. You won’t have to look hard to find that info either, as the hop names will be laser etched onto the cans.
Surly uses an enzyme called Brewer’s Clarex to eliminate haze, which consists of the proteins that trigger gluten sensitivities. Without it, you’re left with an approachable, gluten-reduced IPA that tastes like an actual IPA.
Odell Brewing packages barrel-aged stout for first time since 2011
Odell Brewing has released the latest entry in its Cellar Series, Bull Proof, a 12% Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, and for the first time in seven years, you can buy it in a bottle. This bourbon barrel stout is, by design, an exercise in collaboration and this beer has become a neighborhood affair. Odell Brewing partnered with local Fort Collins based Old Elk Distillery, to source bourbon barrels for aging their beer. This thing is releasing tomorrow.
“When Old Elk opened their distillery less than a mile from the brewery, we did the neighborly thing and paid them a visit,” explains Marni Wahlquist, Barrel and Pilot System Manager. “After sharing a few pints and pours, we got to talking and the idea behind Bull Proof was born.”
“We’ve actually been working together for a couple of years,” explains Kate Douglas, head Distiller of Old Elk. “When we first got started, Odell made a few barrels of beer available to us so we could test recipes on our pilot system. We’ve been friends ever since.”
Old Elk recently brought their bourbon to market in late 2017, now available across six states. Old Elk Distillery practices “slow cut” blending, adding water slowly over longer periods of time. This process requires extra time and patience but produces a much more complex, smooth bourbon.
“Because Old Elk was ramping up production, they had an abundance of barrels. Fortunately we were able to put them to good use,” explains Wahlquist. “Working with super fresh barrels allows the beer to take on stronger, more complex flavors.”
This Bourbon Barrel Stout has hints of sweet vanilla, soft oak, and deep molasses that complement the full body of rich roasted malts. Coming in at 12%, Bull Proof will be available in very limited quantities as a single 12oz bottle across Odell’s 16-state distribution footprint.
Jester King release Elements of Composition blend, originally bottled two years ago
There is an elaborate story behind this new Jester King release, which was originally held up because of a perceived three-tier violation by state regulators over the logos from the collaborating parties on its label. It’s needlessly complex to explain in this quick, fun post, but short story is Jester King just moved on and made the cool, mysterious label you see above and is finally pushing this thing out there tomorrow.
But all of the hold ups in its release (this thing was blended back in February 2016!) actually make this beer even more interesting. Here’s how the Jester King team explains in its e-newsletter:
Even before blending, it was quite old. We took three year old, 100% spontaneously fermented beer from De Garde and blended it with two year old, 100% spontaneously fermented beer from Jester King, and mature, foudre aged saison from Sante Adairius. Here’s another way to look at how old the beer is at this point — its oldest component was brewed in 2013.
Why does the age of the blend matter? The coolest thing in our opinion about EoC is combining microorganisms from De Garde, Sante Adairius and Jester King, then seeing how they slowly transform the beer. Fermentation is remarkable process to say the least. Seven years in, we’re continually surprised by what wild yeast and bacteria can do to a beer as it matures. Despite being around beer 24/7, year-in and year-out, we don’t get bored with fermentation flavors and aromas. They’re ever changing. When we met in Tillamook in early 2016 to blend EoC, we knew we were just creating a rough manuscript for the beer. We knew the yeast and bacteria would take what we blended and transform it over time into a finished composition (pun intended). At this point, the microbes have now had two full years to slowly take the blend in the direction they’ve figuratively chosen, and we’re excited to share what has transpired.
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