A 25-gallon weekend and Thoughts on IPAs

With the crazy activities of my birthday weekend behind me, I can finally get settled down for a relaxing weekend - one where I plan to brew 25 gallons of beer. Did I mention this is my way to relax? I should file for the opening of Brewing Therapy, LLC. :)

Atlanta was awesome as usual. My family & friends must think I like beer or something, because that was definitely the recurring theme throughout the weekend! As bad as the southeast US is with regard to craft breweries per capita, I've always believed that Atlanta seems to be setting the trend among the major southeastern cities.  We had the pleasure of visiting Red Hare Brewing Co., which recently celebrated its first official year in operation. They've got an awesome setup - one that is very similar to what I envision for GrassLands upon launching. Their tasting room, tour and brewery were high quality and their beers were very good too. Of note, they're the first brewery in Georgia to can their beers. Kudos!

Another thing I've noticed about Atlanta: Atlantans are on an IPA high right now. No joke, IPAs seemed to be everywhere! My brother the Atlanta bartender has even noticed a push in the style at the upscale restaurant where he works - which traditionally hasn't been pro-craft beer. Subsequently, IPAs have rapidly become the country's new trendy beer and it can sometimes be difficult to weed out the good ones from the mediocre ones. The good ones at the national level are few & far between, but regardless, you definitely know them when you taste them.

When I get a mediocre-to-lower-quality IPA, I immediately think back to the GrassLands guarantee of not sacrificing quality for quantity. More often than not, I notice craft breweries over-relying on the bittering hop addition to make their IPA. What happens is that an unbalanced beer is created and you've got flavors competing with one another to get to the forefront of your palate, rather than working together. This is one of the reasons I love my Imperial IPA recipe (Fiery Plains) so much. With 10-11 ounces of hops, it's easy to get carried away and just have an extremely hoppy/bitter beer. However, with brewing and re-brewing the same style using different varieties of hops/malts, as well as experimenting with amounts per addition, I feel like I've ensured that Fiery Plains won't be perceived as a run-of-the-mill IPA...which is the last thing I want. It may not be Earth-shatteringly unique, but it'll be an enjoyable experience. As I've said before, it helps that I'm a brew-perfectionist. :) Quality over quantity, folks. Every. Single. Batch.

So on to this weekend. I've got a ton of beer to brew. GrassLands' better half, Saralyn, is brewing her DC Honey Blonde extract recipe and I'm totally stoked to ease her into the brewing scene. Afterwards, I'll be brewing 10 gallons of my award-winning Secale Cereale Saison as well as 10 gallons of my First Light Summer ale - to be hopped and dryhopped with Georgia home-grown Cascade hops. Oooh, it's gonna be fun! I'll also be kegging and bottling the current test batches of Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red - which have been dryhopped with 2 oz of Cascade hops each...so watch out, GrassHoppers!

Last but not least, keep an eye out for GrassLands' branding - it's coming sooner than you might think! Coincidentally changes and upgrades also be comin' to the site! Color me stoked!

With that, I'll leave you for now, dear readers. Enjoy your weekend, because you deserve it.