Editorial Dept.'s picture

Brewer Q & A – Spring 2016 (Issue 23)

For beers that receive a score of "Excellent" or above (91+), we've asked the brewer a few questions regarding that beer's origins.

 


93 Rating – DESTIHL Brewery – Barrel-Aged Dosvidanya

Responses from DESTIHL's founder and brewmaster Matt Potts.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
I did.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?  
My favorite aspect of this beer is its balance of chocolate & roasted malt character in perfect harmony with the barrel character while also being so full-bodied, smooth and not ‘hot' despite the 12.5% ABV… it just hits all the senses so wonderfully. It’s everything we want in a barrel-aged RIS. 

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
Dosvidanya was first brewed in 2008 in our brewpub in Normal, and I wanted to brew a special beer for a great employee who was moving & leaving the brewery. So, I came up with the name Dosvidanya to say ‘goodbye’ in Russian, since it was brewed as a Russian Imperial Stout. 

Is this your "desert island beer?"
If Dosvidanya was my desert island beer, I would be a happy camper, and I might lose all motivation to try to find my way off the island. 

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Rich, robust, chocolatey, roasty… oh screw it  just simply awesome. 


93 Rating – DESTIHL Brewery – Wild Sour Series: Here Gose Nothin'

Responses from DESTIHL's founder and brewmaster Matt Potts.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
I did.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
When we started canning this beer in the fall of 2014, it was one of only a few canned versions of this style. That bold move certainly matches the bold, lime-like sourness of this unique beer and offered people an affordable option to quench their thirst for sour beers.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
The name Here Gose Nothin' was derived from the all-too-common saying of 'here goes nothing' in our brewery when we are about to embark on a Darwinism-challenging/life-threatening task or experimental activity that could easily break bad. 

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Our Wild Sour beers could also make great desert island beers since we would not need a microflora culture shipped by lab to brew the beers on the island and could just use what was naturally on the island to ferment our beers. 

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Lime-like sourness + sea salt = perfect tequila-chaser beer.

Photo Credit: Illinois Craft Brewers Guild



93 Rating
 – Upland Brewing Co. – Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA

Responses from Upland's lead brewer Patrick Lynch.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Caleb Staton came up with this recipe before he shifted the majority of his attention to Upland's sour program.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The touch of lavender we add to the end of the boil really makes Komodo unique for a Black IPA. It has the hop presence and roasted malt character you would expect, but the subtle floral notes are truly unique.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
At a basic level, it references our flagship Dragonfly IPA. Digging deeper, a Komodo Dragon is a large species of monitor lizard. Going further, a Komodo Dragonfly is an exotic animal that is entirely made up, yet close enough to reality to invoke a connection with the drinker. In a similar way, the beer is recognizable but does not fit neatly into a written style category.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
A true “desert island beer” can’t be one-note or you would get tired of it pretty quickly. Slightly roasty, hop-forward, and with a floral touch, Komodo Dragonfly has something to suit any mood I’m in.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Unique combination of dark malts, flavorful hops, and lavender.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
For this year’s batch, we were able to source locally-grown Lavender from right here in Monroe County, Indiana. A server at our restaurant put us in touch with a local grower, and that direct connection to the source allowed us to pinpoint a specific culinary variety of Lavender that really shines in the beer.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Schoch


93 Rating – Motorworks Brewing – Rollcage Red

Responses from Motorworks Brewing's head brewer Bob Haa.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
I did.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The balance between the sweet caramel malts and the American hops used for bittering and flavor. This is more of a West Coast-style Amber/Red, which I prefer.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Although I really love Rollcage Red, I would most likely choose a farmhouse style for my “DIB."

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Red Ale with sweet caramel malt and piney American hops.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
I started designing American Red Ale recipes at home 26 years ago and then commercially for Hops Restaurants starting in 2000. With Motorworks, I have changed the hop additions to better and more readily available types grown in America.

Photo Credit: Motorworks Brewing


93 Rating – Barley Forge Brewing Co. – The Patsy

Responses from Barley Forge's operations manager Sean O' Shea.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Our head brewer Kevin Buckley said he had something up his sleeve when he mentioned to us that he had a recipe for a rye stout with coconut. He absolutely was not kidding around – The Patsy is our #1-selling brand.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
I would say the coconut aroma is my favorite aspect of the beer. Second to that would be the dry spiciness of the rye malt that is used in the mash.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
If you have ever seen Monty Python & The Holy Grail, you may remember Patsy. He is the character (played by Terry Gilliam) that made the horse hoof sounds using two coconut halves. Thus you have The Patsy – a Coconut Rye Stout! 

Is this your "desert island beer?"
It would be fitting that this beer would be a desert island beer with the amount of island coconut that goes into the brite tank prior to packaging! It certainly reminds me of sitting on a beach somewhere every time I take a sip.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
It's like drinking a Mounds candy bar. No joke!

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
When we attend beer festivals, it is a must that we bring The Patsy with us. I made the mistake once of bringing different beers instead, and that was a huge mistake. Festival goers come far and wide to sip on The Patsy and it is not wise to disappoint the crowd!

Photo Credit: Barley Forge Brewing Co.


93 Rating – Bronx Brewery – Bronx Belgian Pale Ale

Responses from Bronx Brewery's head brewer Damian Brown.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
I developed the recipe in early 2013, and we released the beer to the NYC market as our spring seasonal that March or April. It was the brewery’s fourth beer.    

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The yeast plays the starring role in this beer, and I absolutely love the diversity and volatility it offers aromatically. Bubblegum turns to tangerines and eventually to a subtle smokiness on the nose as it warms. It’s a great beer for a slow pace. 

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
From the fact that we’re apparently not very creative.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
It comes in at 6.7% ABV so I’d probably opt for something a bit lower in strength like our Session IPA, which is super refreshing and has great tropical hop notes. If you’re alone on an island, you gotta make sure you have a beer you can drink a lot of! 

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
A South Bronx take on a classic Belgian style. 

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
It has surprised the shit out of me that this has been the best-selling beer in our tasting room – thanks in large part to the guys at the FedEx Hub a few streets away.  

Photo Credit: Alan Gastelum


93 Rating – Smuttynose Brewing Co. – Big A Double IPA

Responses from Smuttynose's head brewer Dan Schubert.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Big A is a collaborative effort from our brewing team. It’s evolved a fair bit since its debut in the Big Beer Series. We deliberately upped the hop levels each year from the 2003 debut release until the 2008 hop shortage hit, which forced us to be a bit more reactive to the hopping based on availability. Even though availability continues to be an ongoing issue in this era of chasing the newest hop varietal, we’ve got the recipe locked in and enough hops sourced out that we now have a set recipe. 

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
It’s sneaky drinkability. It’s deceptively drinkable for 8.2 percent ABV! Don’t get me wrong, I love the juicy hops, but Big A just goes down so smooth. 

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
The original name was Big Ass IPA, but we couldn’t get label approval for that in 2002. A lot has changed since then, so it wouldn’t be a problem now.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
I’d be pretty F*&$%ed up on a desert island if this was the only beer I had to drink, so no.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Dank, juicy drinkability.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
I’ve been brewing here for 13 years, so I’ve had a hand in virtually all the Big A we’ve ever brewed. Winning the Michael Jackson Award for the Best American Beer at the Great British Beer Festival for Big A IPA in 2010 was an incredible feeling of pride, excitement and surprise. It’s the biggest prize Big A has won and this was our third win at the contest.

Photo Credit: Robert Lussier

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