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Brewer Q & A (Issue 22)

96 Rating – Upland Brewing Co. – Malefactor

Responses from Upland's Director of Sour Operations Caleb Staton.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
I did. Malefactor is a take on the Flanders Red style.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
Malefactor has this great cherry ester profile, which melds well with the mild char character from long aging periods in neutral bourbon barrels. It is also the strongest beer we make company-wide, typically clocking in above 12 percent ABV.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
Malefactor means someone who commits a crime, or a general ne'er-do-well. Malefactor's (the beer's) name reflects long fermentation periods with souring microorganisms, a nearly criminal activity for both accountants and brewers alike. It also refers to a little break from traditional Flanders Red-style brewing, with the aging in bourbon barrels and higher alcohol content.  

Is this your "desert island beer?"
I would definitely drink this beer on a desert island, and it would certanly keep for a little while if I was in it for the long haul, Castaway-style. If I had to choose, though, I’d rather drink a cold Session IPA out of a coconut. 

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Cherry notes and warming dark barrel char meld wonderfully. 

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Dantalion and Malefactor are two of the three base beers we brew currently in our Sour Ale Program. A blend of the two beers with Michigan Montmorency cherries is scheduled for release in early 2016. We call that beer Cauldron, reflecting the fun of blending sour beers together with unique ingredients to develop completely new beers and flavor profiles.


 

95 Rating – SanTan Brewing Co. – MoonJuice IPA

Responses from SanTan founder and brewmaster Anthony Canecchia.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Gabe Wilson, SanTan Head Brewer.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The extremely rare Galaxy hop varietal from Victoria, Australia.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
From the aforementioned Galaxy Hop. MoonJuice is a "Galactic IPA."

Is this your "desert island beer?"
I would drink it on an island or a mountaintop!

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
An out-of-this-world IPA that transcends all Earthly pleasures!

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
SanTan was one of the first U.S. Craft breweries to use the rare Galaxy Hop, and for years we could only make it available on draft. The farms it is grown on have been increasing acreage for the past two years so we finally can finally purchase enough to begin packaging in cans as well as draft.


 


95 Rating – Short's Brewing Co. – Devil's Lettuce

Responses from Short's head brewer Tony Hansen.

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

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
I really love the way the fresh hop flavor and aroma shines through the clean lager malt and yeast profile.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
I love it very much, but no.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
India Pale Lager with intensely fresh hop aromatics and flavor. 

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
When I think about this beer, I always remember the experience of picking the hops up from the hop farm on the brew day. The hops were still warm from being picked just minutes before, and I put them in the backseat of my car. As I drove away from the farm, I remember smiling after realizing just how intense the aroma of the hops were in the confined space of my car. My car smelled great for days afterwards.


 

95 Rating – AleSmith Brewing Co. – Lil' Devil

Responses from AleSmith brewmaster Peter Zien.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The complexity achieved from the combination of malt, hops, spices and fermentation characteristics. The aroma and flavor are tantalizing with hints of citrus fruit, coriander and subdued tartness.

Where does this beer’s name come from?
We brew a higher-alcohol version of this beer known as AleSmith Horny Devil, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Lil’ Devil seemed like a natural choice for this lower-alcohol version.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
I always have trouble with this question as I would need more than a single style on my desert island! I could certainly enjoy my days with only this beer though.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
A crisp, complex Belgian ale with hints of citrus fruit.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer? 
This beer was initially designed to propagate yeast for AleSmith Horny Devil. We would take 50 gallons of wort from a light-colored ale and ferment it with the Belgian yeast strain. We would then discard the fermented wort and harvest the yeast for brewing Horny Devil. After a while, we decided to accomplish two tasks in one: propagate yeast and design a world-class beer rather than discard the fermented wort. In 2002, we did just that, and Lil’ Devil was born.


 

95 Rating – Summit Brewing Co. – Sticke Alt

Responses from Summit brewer Mike Lundell.

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

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I think the finish is my favorite. The aroma and flavor are great, but the clean, crisp finish really makes me smile!

Where does this beer’s name come from?
Dusseldorf, Germany! It’s a ‘seasonal’ Altbier, released in secret (Sticke) as a special offering to the public.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
I’m not sure if it's my first choice, but I sure wouldn’t be upset if it was the only thing I could drink!

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Malty and bready with a dry, earthy finish. Yummy!

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?                        
Summit produced an Altbier as a fall seasonal up until about 2001 or so, and I really enjoyed it. Knowing I was up for an Unchained Series release, I decided to make an Altbbier, but not our old recipe. Sticke Alts are beer the brewer customizes, usually maltier and hoppier than the standard Alt beer, and that really appealed to me.


 

Photo Credit: Chad Kirkland

94 Rating – Moab Brewery – Johnny's American IPA

Responses from Moab head brewer Jeff Van Horn.

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

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The great mixture of hops throughout.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
Johnny Borkoski is our owner.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
No, that would be our Dead Horse Amber ale, which is named after Dead Horse Point in Moab, Utah

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Strong hop characteristics with a distinctive, aggressive hop finish.


 

94 Rating – Wasatch Brewery – Polygamy Nitro Porter

Responses from Wasatch brewmaster Jon Lee.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
We’ve had Polygamy Porter in our lineup for quite a number of years, and I can’t really give credit to one particular person for its creation. However, for the push to get a nitrogenated version, I’ve got to give credit to Wasatch founder Greg Schirf. The original Polygamy Porter was released in the winter of 2001 and quickly became a hit. We’d always thought that it would be great with the creamy head of a Nitro beer so we invested quite a lot of effort into the release of this 6.0 percent ABV nitrogenated version of the Polygamy Porter. 

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
This is really a “full package” type of beer. I love the creamy mouthfeel of the nitro beer and the malt flavors that are present due to the low carbonation. There is also a nice fruity hop character that plays well in the background from the Willamette hops we use for aromatics.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
This was a tongue-in-cheek name that was thrown out at a weekly planning meeting back in 2001 with obvious ties to some of the early history of Utah. It’s a funny name that resonated so we stuck with it and made it our own!

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Yes, absolutely!

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Super creamy nitro, scrumptious roasted malt, subtle fruity hops. Delicious! 

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
While nitro beers have been a staple on draft for a number of years now, getting them into a package is quite a bit different. We’re one of the very few breweries nationally that has been able to do this successfully and we are quite proud of what we have accomplished. Figuring out how to do it was one of the most difficult projects that many of us had worked on in quite some time.


 

94 Rating – Hinterland Brewery – Grand Cru

Responses from Hinterland brewer Scott Kissman.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Myself and Joe Karls developed this recipe 4 years ago when I joined Hinterland.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
 My favorite aspect of this beer is the complex finish of spice, mild sweetness, Belgian yeast character and heat from the high alcohol coupled with its balanced, bitter finish.

Where does this beer’s name come from?   
Grand Cru is usually used for wine and means the most superior grade. We use it to showcase one of our biggest and boldest beers.

Is this your "desert island beer?"   
For sure! It has all of the flavor, character and body to keep me happy for the rest of my days. The beer will age well, pairs well with seafood and is high enough in alcohol that it would sterilize all wounds while giving you a great sense of euphoria. 

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less? 
I can do it one: "BOO-YAH!"

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
When I started brewing 15 years ago at the now defunct Michigan Brewing Company, I had the pleasure of brewing Celis Belgian beers under the guidance of Pierre Celis. At MBC we brewed the Celis White, Raspberry and Grand Cru. In brewing the Grand Cru, I found my love of yeast and its ability to create many flavors and aromas. At that point I knew if ever given the chance I would develop my own Grand Cru. Four years ago Joe Karls and Bill Tressler gave me that opportunity to showcase Hinterland's craftsmanship. Our ability was validated by Hinterland Grand Cru being awarded The Isthmus Best Beer of Wisconsin Award in 2014.


 

94 Rating – Tallgrass Brewing Co. – Ethos IPA

Responses from Tallgrass founder and CEO Jeff Gill.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Myself and our Brewmaster at the time, Andrew Hood.  

Where does this beer’s name come from?   
When we developed this beer we had one goal in mind: to make the best IPA that we could. Striving to do our very best is what we do on a daily basis, and it has developed into the ethos of our entire company. This beer is that ethos in IPA form.     

Is this your "desert island beer?"  
I love this beer, and yes, it is my desert island beer.  

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?  
Delightful, bright aromatics meet well-rounded malt bliss with light bitterness.   

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?  
Our ethos of an intense pursuit of improvement, which is so central to our character, was the inspiration for this brand.


 

94 Rating – Bear Republic Brewing Co. – Racer X

 Responses from Bear Republic brewmaster Richard Norgrove.

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

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
Racer 5 doubled is Racer 10, or Racer X (in Roman numerals).

Is this your "desert island beer?"
No, that would be Red Rocket, our American Amber Ale.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Old-school, epically balanced, disciplined, and full of C hops.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Racer X is the bigger, badder brother to Racer 5 and has been the inspiration for many additional Racer brews from the Bear Republic family of beers.


 

93 Rating – Boulevard Brewing Co. & Cigar City Brewing – Collaboration No. 5

Responses from Boulevard brewer Jeremy Danner.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Boulevard Brewmaster Steven Pauwels and the Boulevard brewing and quality team worked with Cigar City Brewmaster Wayne Wambles and his crew to create the recipe for Collaboration No. 5 – Tropical Pale Ale.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
We’ve brewed a few beers that incorporated fruit, but none have necessarily been hop forward. It was fascinating to explore the way grapefruit and passionfruit interacted with hoppy flavors and aromas. We wanted to showcase the fruit, while keeping the hops very much at the fore. It was also interesting to see how the bitterness played with the fruit character. The beer needed to be just bitter enough to balance the malt sweetness and fruit character without seeming overbitter in contrast to the passionfruit.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
We had a group email exchange where we went back and forth on how to identify the “style.” At Boulevard, we don’t necessarily brew to style. We think about the flavor of the final beer when crafting the recipe and wait until we’ve tasted the finished beer to determine how we’d like to communicate our intentions to beer drinkers. We ultimately went with Tropical Pale Ale because while we felt the beer had a high enough ABV to fall into the IPA category, but the bitterness was closer to a pale ale.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
You know, it’s up there. My desert island beer is (and always will be) Saison-Brett because of how complex yet drinkable it is, but I drank quite a bit of Tropical Pale Ale when it was around. The way the fruit flavor and aroma interacted with the hops made it super interesting for me. I feel like a desert island beer needs to be very drinkable and refreshing, but interesting.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Crisp, refreshing interplay of tropical fruit and bright, citrusy hops

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
During a new market rollout in Florida, Cigar City Brewing was kind enough to open their tasting room to us to host a Boulevard tap takeover to celebrate our entrance into the state. Not only did they put our beers on tap in their brewery, but they went above and beyond by showing Game 7 of the World Series on their tasting room televisions which had never displayed anything but their beer list and a live video feed of their brewhouse and fermentation cellars. We were so taken by the hospitality and kindness displayed and the amazing quality of their beers, that we just knew we wanted to brew our next collaboration beer with them. Over plates of BBQ, a few rounds of beers and a couple of conference calls, it was decided that Boulevard Brewing Company and Cigar City Brewing would team up to brew Collaboration No. 5. 


 

93 Rating – Upslope Brewing Co. – Imperial IPA

Responses from Upslope head brewer Sam Scruby.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
This beer was based on a homebrew recipe from our previous head brewer, Alex Violette. I don't know the entire lore surrounding the creation of the recipe, but we brewed numerous batches for the tap room – trying out different late kettle hop additions – before finally having the "eureka" moment. 

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
I love that our Imperial IPA is aggressive but still well-balanced. It has great initial bitterness but finishes with a touch of sweetness to accentuate the juicier hop notes.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
Well, we use our brewery name and the beer style for this beer's name. It isn't always sexy, but we don't ever deal with "cease and desist" letters so we can focus on brewing more delicious beer!

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Well, I would definitely be having too much fun on my desert island with this 10 percent ABV beauty. I love this beer on certain occasions, but with such a high ABV, it definitely isn't my first go-to. Maybe a nightcap after a Broncos win?

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
The dankest, most juiced-up hop liquor ever created. 

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?  
I was brewing a pilot batch of our Double IPA with our former head brewer Alex, and we decided to have a game of H.O.R.S.E while brewing the beer. We were using the kettle as the basket and hop pellets for the ball, and we continuously hopped the wort with our increasingly complex trick shots. Cleanup was less than ideal after the brew was done, but we joked that we had added at least 1 IBU to the beer, and people would truly appreciate the increased hop complexity. I guess it worked out, right? 


(All brewer photos courtesy of their respective breweries)


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