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Top 100 Beers of 2018

Top 100 Beers of 2018



by Randy Scorby
Lupulin River
Knee Deep Brewing Co.

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Brewmaster Dean Roberts Talks Lupulin River

Who was responsible for this beer’s recipe?
Our brew team got together and collaborated with a brewery in SoCal. After we completed all sales with the first batch, we made some important changes to the recipe, along with a name change and released it as one of our core beers.

What sets this beer apart from other examples within the style?
When we dry hop this beer, we use many, many pounds of hops per barrel, and the beer is also crystal clear.

What makes this beer truly world class?
For an 8 percent ABV Imperial IPA, this beer is extremely easy to drink and very well balanced. There is a ton of aroma on the nose as well.

What is your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, mouthfeel, etc.)?
Intense flavor and aroma from all the Mosaic and Simcoe hops used.

How popular is this beer among your faithful fans?
Lupulin River continues to fluctuate as one of the top three beers in our portfolio. We continue to win awards with this Double IPA and it is a taproom favorite among many locals.

Where does this beer’s name come from?
This Double IPA has very fruity characteristics, and we picked the name “Lupulin River” because Lupulin is the name of the gland in a hop cone that contains the oils and acids that give off this beer’s powerful fruity flavor.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Lupulin River is liquid gold with a fruity kick.

Judge’s Second Opinion

Admittedly, being from the Pacific Northwest, I’m a typical hophead who is always seeking out the latest and greatest American-style IPA. Not that long ago, I was a bit frustrated in my attempts to find an example that didn’t have mouth-blistering hop bitterness, completely blowing out the hop aroma and flavor, and making you want to reach into your mouth with your entire hand and scrape the back of your tongue. As time moved on, more and more breweries have forsaken the heavy early bittering additions and are relying on more late-stage hop additions to create a far more balanced and smoother hop bitterness. As most quaffers of America IPAs and Double IPAs will attest, this style of beer has come a long way since the days of the traditional English IPA.

Lupulin River delivered from the first sniff, offering what I expect most from any IPA style: fresh, bright hop aroma that pleases the nose and creates an expectation that the flavor will follow. Being a Double IPA makes it a little more challenging in that the hops are offered some competition by a larger malt bill and a usually floral or spicy alcohol character. The hop bitterness is appropriately assertive for this style but certainly not over the top. You still need high-enough hop bitterness to remind you that it is an IPA, but smooth enough to make the beer pintable. Drinkability can be tricky in the Double and Triple IPAs when trying to combine and balance the powerful characteristics. The beauty of this style is that pretty much any variety of hops (or a complex combination) can be used; brewers are not just limited to the big citrus, pine and resin hops that were commonly used for many years. Other hop varieties are being used quite successfully, especially in combination with traditional American hop varieties.

For those of you who have not tried any offerings from Knee Deep Brewing, I strongly encourage you to do so. They’ve been around for a while, and with brews like Lupulin River they will certainly be around for longer still. – Randy Scorby


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