Settling in on an IPA

If memory serves me correctly, I believe GrassLands has communicated that we expect to launch with 10 taps in the Taproom - 5 of our year-round offerings, 2-3 experimentals/sours, and 1-2 visiting guest taps. Of course, the idea is to offer the locals & Tallahassee visitors a wide range of innovative beers that they might not otherwise get to try. Today, we get to talk about one of those first five beers - our IPA!

It's no joke - the IPA (India Pale Ale) style is the most popular style of beer in the country - and it's not even close. It's now becoming the gateway beer for many craft newbies...and a beer one turns to as a "go-to" in times of need. I know that's certainly the case for us. With our long-time beer-blogger buddy Brian (@BeerApostle) (that's a lotta B's) having reviewed two of our recent pilot batches of our IPA recipe back-to-back (and please check out his awesome reviews here & here), it's time to give everyone a heads-up on what we expect from the finished product of our IPA recipe.

When it comes to IPAs, we like two things: Flavor & Aggression. IPAs, in my humble brewing opinion, don't necessarily need to be "balanced," but at a minimum, the amount of flavor & aggression need to complement each other. WTH am I talking about? Really, I'm talking about complexity. Some IPAs (we won't name names) have wayyy too little flavor and wayyy too much aggression (or bitterness). Some aren't aggressive enough. Since there are a zillion IPAs on the market today, more than anything: I want GrassLands' IPA to be a memorable experience in a glass.

Here are the absolute requirements for our IPA:

  1. Memorable (#TopPriority)
  2. Complementing attributes of malt/hop flavor & aggression
  3. A big citrus & floral hop aromas (grapefruit, pineapple, lemon, orange, etc.)
  4. Balance between hop bitterness and hop flavor
  5. Residual caramel malt flavor/sweetness

Is that too much to ask? Absolutely not. In fact, if you read Brian's review for IPA Pilot Batch #4, I believe we're nearly there already! Essentially, I agreed in principle to almost everything Brian noted as far as his impressions of that IPA. However, for those of you who've been lucky enough to taste it (while it lasted), the aggression was a bit over the top for me. However, as far as every other requirement listed above, we hit it dead on.

Now what? Brew it again, obviously! We've settled in on a house yeast strain (one we're really excited about) and the malt characteristics are just about all the way dialed in. We know the hop variety and now have a much better idea going forward on their respective additions to this brew. Just a few tweaks here & there and we're going to be ready to roll out this IPA behemoth come Summer 2014! It's an honor that not just one, but two of our pilot batches have been compared on numerous occasions to the major players in the FL IPA market (i.e. Cigar City's Jai Alai, Funky Buddha's Hop Gun, etc.) - really, that's so amazing to me. We're psyched about the opportunity to provide something memorable to Tallahassee's residents and visitors - as well as (eventually) to the entire state of FL!

So the cat's out of the bag box now - you basically know what the IPA is going to be like and the proverbial ball is in our court. Time to make this fantasy a reality, eh? Let's get to it! No really, we're gettin' to it. We expect a full range of fun announcements over the next month or two! Stay tuned, GrassHoppers!

With that, we'll leave you to it for the weekend. Know what we've got going on? If you don't, you need to get on our weekly Fermentation Friday newsletter! Big things happening this weekend involving our awesome friends at Fermentation Lounge! We're brewin' a full barrel of our Rye Saison recipe with head brewer Robert C....ultimately to be served onsite at the Lounge! #AWESOMESAUCE!!! Stay tuned for all the media from the brew day as well as information on a release party in November!

Enjoy your weekend, my dear readers, because you freakin' deserve it!