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Brewer Q & A – Summer 2016 (Issue 25)

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

 


91 Rating – AleSmith Brewing Co. – AleSmith Double IPA

Responses from AleSmith brewmaster and owner Peter Zien.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
My favorite aspect of AleSmith Double IPA is the intensity of the hop flavor and aroma without any overpowering bitterness.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Scaling the wall of hops against a solid malt backdrop.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
In 2005, a happy accident occurred when we set out to brew our winter seasonal, YuleSmith, for a one-off summer release. Apparently, some malt bags had been mislabeled and the expected reddish-hued beer was instead a light copper color. Upon tasting this now lighter-colored hop monster, our Double IPA was born!

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Carnitas and carne asada come to mind, but you might be surprised to try this as the base liquid for steamed mussels as well. It’s crazy-versatile as a food-pairing beer!


91 Rating – FATE Brewing Co. – Uror

Responses from FATE head brewer Jeff Griffith.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
I've been making Gose since there were only four reviews online, two of which were from Germany.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
The surprise on people's faces once they've tasted it. They love the balance and how refreshing this beer is. Many haven't tried a style like this before and are very intrigued after their first sip.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
Yes. So much so that we like to call it "Brewer's Gatorade."

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Tart, crisp, salty, bready, sour, flavorful, refreshing and surprising.

Photo Credit: Dave Engle Photography


91 Rating – Green Man Brewery – Wayfarer

Responses from Green Man head brewer John Stuart.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
Wayfarer started out as a Session IPA in the tasting room called StormTrooper. I made some adjustsment to it after spending some time at Dechutes Brewery in Bend, OR. Their ChainBreaker IPA was my inspiration.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I like Wayfarer's crisp hop snap and easy drinkability.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
Dennis, Green Man's owner, has a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses that he's quite fond of, and he thought it would make a cool name.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Thai food. Particularly Green Curry. 


91 Rating – Rogue Ales & Spirits – Brutal IPA

Responses from Rogue founder and brewmaster John Maier..

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
I did.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
The peachy flavor from the Alluvial hops grown on our farm. 

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
When I first made this beer, it was on a different brew system, using all bagged malt and loads of hops. We had to shovel out of the hop-back by hand and the whole process was "brutal," hence the name. 

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Fruity and hopilicious. 

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Grilled oysters with garlic butter


91 Rating – Great Divide Brewing Co. – Whitewater

Responses from Great Divide founder Brian Dunn.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
Whitewater wheat was the name of an American Wheat Ale that Great Divide stopped packaging long ago, yet would occasionally brew for special occasions and celebrations. The R&D team discussed some proposed changes to be made to the original recipe and the Brewing Team ran a pilot batch that hit the specs and everyone was thrilled with the results. 

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
Lower ABV and more flavor was the goal of the reworked recipe. The beer doesn’t feel thin and it isn’t too bitter, but rather remains hoppy and refreshing

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
Named after the frothing rapids of Colorado's rivers.

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Light, refreshing, hoppy, bright, fragrant, clean, summery, unfiltered... and yummy.


91 Rating – Southbound Brewing Co. – Transilience

Responses from Southbound brewer Chris Geerlings.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
The flavor is refreshing and thirst-quenching. Mango and pomegranate notes provide some fruitiness in the sip, and it finishes nice and tart.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
Transilience means leaping forward from one thing to the next, which applies to musical improvisation but also to progress in general. Transilience was the beer that we launched into the Atlanta market last year for the first time -- a significant step for the brewery.

BC: Is this your “desert island beer?”
Sure. This beer is our summertime seasonal, and it's an absolutely perfect beach beer. Light, tart, flavorful and totally refreshing.

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Transilience drinks light, sour and fruity, and it also carries a touch more carbonation than our other beers. I think this tart effervescence makes it a great brunch beer. It's also great with fresh seafood and mild soft cheeses like Brie.


91 Rating – Tröegs Independent Brewing – Nimble Giant

Responses from Tröegs brewmaster and co-owner John Trogner.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
We set out on the path to Nimble Giant more than a year ago, but we didn’t know it then. It started with our Scratch Series team doing a small-batch beer with Mosaic hops, which we had never brewed with before. We didn’t set out to release another double IPA, but when we tasted this hop combination, we latched on and couldn’t let go. After seven different recipes, it became Nimble Giant.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
We love how it builds; the layers of Mosaic, Azacca and Simcoe take over your senses. Mango, tropical fruit and creamsicle notes give the beer a silky, juicy underbelly that builds to a punch in the face of grapefruit rind, honeysuckle and pineapple. 

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
About 3 or 4 recipes in, we knew we were onto something and wanted to work toward a final recipe. Right around then, my brother Chris saw the word “giant” on a roadside sign. This beer is definitely a giant, but it’s also agile and lively, so we started calling it Nimble Giant. The name stuck. 

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
It’s Pavlovian. Smell it and you’re a drooling mess.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
The journey to Nimble Giant took more than a year, with a lot of tweaks, speedbumps and ‘a-ha’ moments. At that point, it becomes very personal. After about four small batches, we were starting to dial in the recipe. Not a whole lot of people get to taste our Scratch Series beers since they’re almost exclusively available in our Tasting Room in Hershey, PA. When we released that fourth batch, I started hearing great feedback from all walks of life, not just beer geeks. One of our dishwashers, a guy at the butcher shop, a turkey hunter at the local sporting goods store… they all came up to me and said: “Your new double IPA is awesome!"

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
We do food pairings a little differently. I get together with our chef and we come up with flavors, rather than dishes, that might contrast and/or complement each beer we make. That way, someone can take our advice and come up with their own pairings, rather than make what we tell them to. We call them Food Notes. For Nimble Giant, complementary flavors include coconut, caramelized onions, lemongrass, peaches, melons and prawns. Contrasting flavors include cured ham, barbecue chicken, roasted chicken and taleggio cheese. For adverse flavors, we’d stay away from milk chocolate, tomatoes, sauerkraut, garlic and cinnamon. 


All photos courtesy of their respective breweries, except where noted.

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