Where We’re At – 10 weeks in
We’ve officially been open to the public for 10 weeks now (time flies when you’re having fun), and it has been a wild ride so far: We were just exhibited at a local Beerfest in Point Pleasant (Beer on the Boards) as well as the second largest beerfest in the country (Atlantic City Beerfest), we’re constantly brewing, constantly adding new bars we’re on tap at, and consistently opening people up to new styles of beer they might not have ever thought of before (Looking at you Sunwalker Smoked Pils, Sour Cherry Black Mass, Melt Mango Habanero Pale). Our most recent Brewday wasn’t some long lost style found at the bottom of a 600 year old Aztec Ship from when they decided to invade Spain, but instead one of the newest styles out there: North East IPA. North East IPAs might just be the weirdest thing I’ve ever brewed, every tip and trick they taught in school needs to be thrown out the window for this style as clarity and “clean” flavors are thrown right out the window in favor of haze and juiciness.
Brewday: So far Still an IPA
The Brewday started like any other brewday. Grain bill was assembled (2 Row, Golden Promise, Flaked Oats, Malted Oats, Cara Pils, Acidulated Malt), already starting to get odd. Oats are a standard for me in a lot of beers (Malted oats in Panic Pale Ale) but normally at a small enough percentage that it exists just for mouth-feel, we’re already talking almost 20% total oats, but I do love oatmeal so what could go wrong. Normally when I’m brewing an IPA I make sure to start with a nice large hop charge up front to get the base bitterness, a combination of First Wort Hopping for a soft hop flavor as well as the standard 60 minute, well not today. This brew started with a minuscule First Wort Hop as the total bitterness of the batch is only calculated at 39 IBU (Which is high compared to some NEIPAs on the market). Where the hops really came into play is toward the end of the batch with massive charges at flame-out as well as whirlpool which still constribute bitterness but far less with flavor and aroma beginning to come into play.
Things are starting to get weird, think its still an IPA
Fermentation is where things begin to get real weird. Good thing I’m a sucker for trying new things because I tried them all with this batch. First of all I decided to test out Lupulin Powder (Cryo Hops). Lupulin Powder is a new form of Hops offered by our supplier. The hops are processed at a colder temperature without their stems leaving a highly condensed and efficient powder that is around twice as potent as standard pellet hops. Typically we would add these hops after fermentation finished and the beer was soft cold crashed so that the yeast could be saved and clarity could be achieved, but this is a NEIPA and all standard conventions needed to be broken here. We began dry-hopping as Fermentation was still active and finished dry-hopping after Fermentation finished so hops and fermentation could become one, binding as much hop to the beer as possible at the expense of clarity.
Knowing that the Lupulin Powder we were adding would be twice as potent, we decided to hop as much if not more than any other IPA we have brewed previously because #yolo. In went 20 Pounds of a combination of Cryo Hops (Mosaic, Citra) and standard T90 pellets (Columbus).
Whats next, things that might not just be an IPA
The release for our (Still unnamed) NEIPA will be tied in next week with the opening of the Lakewood Blueclaws Season (4/13). But knowing our love for keeping it weird we have plenty of other beers on the horizon. One of the next Brews we’re working on is our German Weizenbock which is a perfect marriage of estery alcohol flavors, slight spice, and heavy malt/dark fruit characters (think a Hefeweizen but 100x bigger and better). The next is our Belgian Blonde, a light colored but medium bodied beer with a hint of spice and a fruity ester that makes it an easy drinking warm weather beer. The final one from this batch is our Russian Imperial Stout, I promise you this is not a summer beer but instead one we plan on aging in every barrel we can get our hands on for down the road.