IPA, IPA, IPA, IPA
According to the Craft Brewers Association and just about everyone else, IPAs are going to continue to dominate the craft beer segment for the next 324 years. This might not be true. Or maybe it’s completely true. I don’t know, only time will tell. Regardless, I love IPAs and 30% of the craft beer consumer does too.
(note: if you want to skip all of this, just scroll down to the section called Beer Wolf IPA)
There is something about the combination of robust aroma and hop bitterness that makes my olfactories tingle with delight. Yes, tingle, with delight.
So what’s your point, you might not be asking?
We have a new year round IPA; It’s replacing our old Iron Horse IPA.
But first a little backstory. I loved IHB IPA. It was a highly drinkable, hoppy but balanced india pale ale that didn’t destroy my tongue. It was my go-to since moving on from Brass Ass Brown.
Personal anecdotes aside, we decided to perform a little research on IPAs in the market and compare it to our own. (From time to time we like to pretend to be adults and do adult things like examine trends, survey humans and dive deep into data.) This research was focused on top performing IPAs in Washington and Oregon, using IRI data for grocery store sales performance and Beer Advocate for consumer opinion. Amazingly, but not surprisingly, the overlap in a venn diagram of these two sources was remarkably small.
Once we identified the top performing IPAs, we looked for common characteristics that, by data alone, seemed to contribute to the beer’s success. ABV & IBU were two of them.
A top selling IPA (top = in the top 10) fell between 6.5% to 7.3% abv and 55-65 IBU.
Iron Horse IPA is 6.0% and 52 IBU. From a data perspective, we weren’t meeting the needs of the consumer at large. My needs were being met. A lot of our enthusiastic and loyal pub customers’ needs were being met; but outside our awesome little bubble, we had to improve.
We took this, along with handful of other consumer feedback – Beer Advocate, surveys, retailer feedback etc. and passed it on to our head brewer Tyson. The fictitious, but rooted in truth conversation, probably went something like this:
Greg: Tyson, we have this data about IPA. We should try to make a new, delicious IPA that meets more needs of customers, but won’t leave loyal IHB IPA fans high and dry. The IPA should help spread the indie beer love.
Ross: Hi guys.
Greg: What are you doing here Ross?
Ross: I wanted to tell you about my new flip flops I got, they are great and comfortable.
Tyson: You drove all the way over for that?
Ross: Umm. Yeah.
Greg: Anyhow, Tyson, what do you think?
Tyson: Let me get to work. I love challenges and trying new things after I have had enough time to think through all of the scenarios. When do you want to try have this by?
Greg: Two weeks.
Tyson: (coughs) Asshole (coughs)
Greg: Love you, Tybro.
Ross: ….I love…. my SANDALS!
After this conversation and two pilot batches later, Tyson and the production crew crafted some pretty delicious liquid. Now we had to name it. I’ll keep it brief, because this post is getting a little long winded.
Greg and I were sitting around one day talking about how I should snowboard more and also about beer branding. We had a few different ideas on names for this new IPA but we ended up landing on one that seemed right.
So, you most likely have heard it by now, but I’d like to formally introduce you to…
Beer Wolf IPA. 6.8% ABV, 55 IBU
A hoppy, crisp, resinous IPA that you’ll want to attack; and it attacks you back.
Comet hops give this beer a grassy and grapefruity aroma and taste; a little crystal malt to balance things out so you can still taste your salisbury steak and steaming cherry crumble.
So, what is a beer wolf?
Beer Wolf: when you have an insatiable desire for a tasty ale; when you literally want to chew the top off a bottle of beer to get to the contents; that’s a beer wolf. You animal.
There might be some lingering Iron Horse IPA bottles out there, but Beer Wolf is out now and will be in full force over the next couple of weeks. Look for it. Try it. Review it. Let us know what you think.
We’re also throwing a couple of parties in Tacoma and Seattle if you want to join us.
Side note: For those who played with pogo balls and watched the first music video on MTV; the beer wolf name “might” be a throwback to a wonderful helicopter based TV series in the ’80s. For everyone else, focus on the wolf.
Lastly, what is the correct onomatopoeia for a helicopter sound? I think it’s something like:
Drinking a 22 right now and I have to say–you guys hit it out of the park with Beer Wolf! Now I need to go buy some new flip flops.